Saturday, March 13, 2010

Telling Time

I learned how to tell time long, long ago. I have no memory of the process, it's just one of those things you learn early and never forget. But, I learned to tell time in a part of the world that uses AM and PM to differentiate between the time before lunch, and the time after. Then I moved to Denmark, and ... my ability to tell time has been blown to bits.

Why? Well, you see, over here they use a 24 hr clock. Where I come from, we call that 'military time' but here, they just call it time. Whether there are armies of soldiers involved or not, it confuses the hell outta me. Oh sure, on paper, it's all rather simple - there are 24 hours in a day and if you just use all 24 when telling time, rather than only 12, it simplifies things and gets rid of that pesky little 'am' and 'pm'. I fully understand the concept and I do agree that it does make a bit of sense, but my brain cannot compute the times on short notice. It's not that I don't know that 17 means 5pm, it's just that when the world is moving quickly, and I'm not paying attention, 17 is meaningless. And this... this gets me into trouble now and then.

Exhibit A: A couple of weeks ago, we had the dogs at the swimming hall on a Saturday. There's an appointment book there where you choose your next swimming time and write in your name to reserve the time. We were on our way out and decided to book a time for Wednesday evening. I ran to the book, scrolled quickly through the available times, and jotted our names down for 6:30 pm. As we were loading the dogs into the car, something in my brain was triggering me that some bit of something, somewhere, wasn't quite right. So, because of that little nagging voice, I ran back inside to double-check the time I'd chosen. Yep, okay, 6:30 it is. All set. Or so I thought.

When we arrived Wednesday evening, right on time, the owner started to tell Ole that we had missed our time, but that we were lucky, as no one was scheduled so we would still be able to swim. I'm thinking.. huh? How did we miss our time? Let's go to the videotape (or in this case, the appointment book). What time had I chosen? 16:30... um, oops. Yep, I had chosen 4:30 pm, not 6:30 pm, and despite my brain's best attempt to warn me of my error, another part of my brain just couldn't see that pesky little "1" standing in front of the 6:30.

Exhibit B: And just the other day, while on the phone, we were discussing an upcoming event and whether or not we'd be attending. I had received an email with the details of the event and I had read said email earlier in the day. When Ole mentioned that it may start too early for us, I quickly replied that I thought we'd be fine as it didn't start until 7 or 7:30.

I went back later to sign us up only to discover that we will be late in arriving. I'm guessing by now, you can probably figure out why.

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