We agreed to meet our friend at 3 p.m. to go for a walk and take some photos. I got down to the lobby at 2.55 according to my watch, handed my key to Reception, and noted that the clock on the lobby wall said about 2.50.
friend was waiting. She asked where Ms. Lee was, and I said it was still a few
minutes before 3, according to my watch, and maybe even 8 or 10 minutes before 3,
according to the clock in the lobby.
looked at me. "You measure time in minutes?"
was one of the most interesting questions I have heard in a while. Certainly
she knows that Vietnamese have "rubber time" and that Americans do
not. Whether she was exposed to this time-in-minutes concept as a student or
she came up with the idea herself doesn't matter.
when I asked how Vietnamese measure time, she laughed.
we measure time in minutes. Tick tock. Sands in the hourglass. Fashion today,
obsolete tomorrow. New friends become old friends; experience fades into
memory. Memory fades -- or becomes more selective. Here today, gone tomorrow. You
can't step in the same river -- the Mekong! -- twice. Time and space. Time zones.
The wheel goes round and around. The odometer clicks over.
time, in time, out of time.
so it will shortly be time to go home -- to check out, pay the cab driver for the
one-way ride to the airport, check in at least 2 hours before the international
flight, go through security and more security, and then fly east across at
least 10 time zones to almost exactly the other side of the earth (although
significantly more northerly). The flight will last over 24 hours but I will
land on the same date that I took off from the other side of the
flies and has flown again.