Excuse Me, Do You Have the Time?

mickey mouse clockI woke up to the 6:00 am alarm with a grunt and laid there for a few moments, contemplating the day. I had an appointment at 10:00 am. I made a mental note: four hours until appointment — check! As I got dressed I outlined in my mind what I needed to do to prepare for the meeting, and also, guesstimated the time it would take to get to the appointed place. Better leave around 9:30 to make the twenty minute drive just to be on the safe side. You never know, you may run into traffic, even though it’s an “opposite commute”. You just never know. Gotta be safe. I arrived at the meeting place with ten minutes to spare. I sat in the car and waited exactly eight minutes, giving myself two minutes to make it inside the building and up the elevator to the office suite. I knocked on the door at EXACTLY 10:00 am, letting out a little sigh of approval. In this country, we call it “Clock Time”. I have lived by clock time all my life. I like clock time. Clock time is my middle name!

In Cambodia, (as in many other countries) people run on what is called “Event-Time.” People run their days by an internal clock; they are focused on one task at a time and the present.

In clock-time cultures, showing up five to ten minutes after the set time is considered permissibly late, 15 to 20 minutes after is late, and 30 minutes after the set time is considered insultingly late. But in event cultures it is considered permissibly late if someone arrives thirty to 45 minutes after the set time. One to two hours after the set time is considered late, and two to three hours after the set time is considered insultingly late.

I’ve got a lot to learn! Hope I have enough time!

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About susansplace

Widowed in 2012, I am a mother and grandmother. Born in San Francisco, I now live in the town I grew up in: Mill Valley, California. I love nature photography. Just an amateur but that's OK! My goal: world peace. Got any ideas?
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4 Responses to Excuse Me, Do You Have the Time?

  1. bodyworkspt says:

    OMG, 30 – 45 minutes late? Never! Not sure I will ever unlearn my clock time habit. Wonder who I got that from…

  2. susansplace says:

    I know! I’m so sorry! LOL! In Cambodia, it is not unusual to have one person served dinner at the table and then the other waits for fifteen minutes, or longer, while their meal is prepared! It’s a whole new ball game!! It is so important that we understand these issues so that we can fully understand the children we are working with!

  3. Anita j says:

    Oh, now I understand. I had a couple come to our party last week that were totally on events time.arrived more than 2 hours late!

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