Insights from the Pavement: Assessing time

Time means many different things, depending on where one might find themselves around the world.


There’s no denying that many of us have felt the impact of that very statement while lazing away in a hammock as waves crash down on the nearby beach.  Time, in that way, is only measured in terms of the piña coladas that separate the day into more of a detached sequence of sonatas playing out a in a grander symphony of relaxation.

On the other hand, those of us who’ve missed our bus to get to our downtown jobs know the very essence of even a single minute that passes through time.  Each minute, in this case, is more akin to a measure of frustration that shapes our realization that tardiness may cost us much more than the sip of a tropical drink.

These two extremes mark the very fringes of our expectation of time.  And most of us reside somewhere in the middle.  But when we visit a new place, we should be sure to pay close attention to what time might mean in the current location.

In the west, being punctual shows others that we are professional, dedicated and that others’ time is important to us.  In the east, however, being late might actually work in your favor, as it can also be seen to mean that a person knows his level of importance and therefore his lateness is the expression of that concept.

More times than not, our expectation of time while traveling abroad simply relates to the ability to catch a bus or that a train will arrive on the scheduled time.  But it is important to be mindful that this may not be a frivolous matter when dealing interpersonally with those who expect certain things of us.

Being invited to ceremonial events such as weddings, family feasts or annual celebrations hold a completely different prospect for those who did the inviting.  When in doubt of how to handle these occasions, it’s always best to show up early.  Having this in mind will keep us from looking as though we are either too humble and self-conscious, or too egotistical and feel that others should wait on us.

Developing this pattern while abroad may well be the catalyst for continuing this beneficial trend at home as well.

Follow me on twitter: @cyleodonnell

Like the photo from this journal?  Click HERE to visit the album of photography from the Samchoek, South Korea market where I took it.


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