Friday, September 10, 2010

Blank Time

Time for a rant, friends. 

Right now it is 12:03 (it will probably be later by the time this gets posted, but at this exact moment, it is still 12:03).  There is a department seminar today at noon.  3 minutes ago.  But everyone knows that it doesn't start till 12:15.  It is the noon seminar that starts 15 minutes after noon.  And then since nobody shows up till 12:15, it doesn't actually get going till 12:20 or 12:30.

Folks around here call this "Michigan Time."  One of my classes starts at "10:00 AM," which of course means 10:15.  It is just understood that things are supposed to start late, and if you actually want things to start on time you have to make a huge deal about it.  Like last week when we were taking a bus out to a departmental retreat.  The bus was leaving at 10:00, which was not on Michigan Time (the departmental email actually said that). 

This has made me think lately.  I am (spoiler ahead!) a Mormon.  We, as a people, have the bad habit of being late to things.  So much so that some of us use the term "Mormon Standard Time" to mean 15-20 minutes late.  When I worked at JCVI, formerly TIGR (said "Tiger"), everyone talked about "TIGR time" meaning 20-30 minutes late.  When I was a missionary to the Spanish-speakers in Orange County, people talked about "Latin Time."

It seems to me that this is a ubiquitous problem that every group of people wants to claim as their own.  We all want to say "I'm late because I'm at UM" or "I'm late because I'm Mormon" and never "I'm late because I'm bad at managing my time."

So, have any of you seen this?  Do any of you belong to some group that is late because of Group Name Time?


Bradwich said...

Dude, I'm a Mormon, too! I've totally heard that same thing. :)

More seriously, though, it was a huge problem in Bolivia. It's a hard thing to try and change. How do you overcome the inertia of an entire population?

the House of Payne said...

You know who's not late all the time? Koreans. And Japanese. People I have met from those two countries are hella punctual, yo.

Sam said...

Everyone says this. Because everyone is looking for a funny excuse for being habitually late.

I'm always early/ontime because i am sitting at my desk saying "I don't have any other way to use the next 4 minutes"

Also, I care. I respect the validity of time, the earth's rotation, etc.

I'm a Mormon.