Does the culture you live within run slightly late, early, or precisely on time? Last week when I wrote about how to set your watch to South American time I mentioned that the perception of time is culturally variable. I thought many of you would have some stories or anecdotes about this sort of ‘secondary’ time zone change we all go through.
How late or on time do the people from your culture tend to be?
I can tell you from my experience that Turks tend to run about 30-45 minutes late but the Swedes are generally 5 minutes early or right on time. I often find if difficult to speed my personal clock up in countries like Germany and Switzerland where things tend to happen on time.
I’d like to hear how you’ve coped with the changing pace of life during your travels and am looking forward to your comments.
[photo by: deeleea]
Last year I went to the Dominican Republic for a week of surfing. Every morning I was up at 6am to get a lift along to the break in the hope that I would see the sunrise. The guy arrived between 30 to 45 minutes later than expected every morning without fail, so I kept on missing the sunrise. Despite this, I still turned up on time every morning just in case, as I’m used to things being on time. On the final day I decided to get a mototaxi instead and just as I arrived the sun was beginng to appear.
I think some things you just *have* to be on time with, like sunrises. But in many places if people are habitually late they will be late no matter what. I’m glad you went ahead otherwise you probably would have missed it.
I found it very comfortable to adjust to time in India, Israel and Canada – the places where I worked. But I admit, I am ‘naturally’ 5-10 minutes late. 🙂
I wish I were just 5-10 minutes back!
Well, in India generally people are late (not me !). It can be anything between 15 minutes to several hours depending on the person. People generally think that if they are on time, they lose their importance. Funny ! eh ?
Kind of like being fashionably late 🙂 You have to make an entrance so everyone notices you come in.
In Morocco, people (and events) tend to run about 30-45 minutes late, which is not unlike Turkey! It’s actually kind of nice just going with the flow and not having to stress out about being on time. I know being late annoys many people, but when in Rome…I think it’s a lifestyle worth getting used to!
I like it too, it’s not so stressful when everyone is as late as you as. It’s harder to adjust when you’ve got to speed up or really slow down. It’s hard both ways but I like the attitude, what’s the rush!
Articles about time perception in different countries:
Thanks for the articles, very interesting – especially about the point of clock-accuracy and the level of development being associated with the pace of life.
Oh, I am somewhat of a non-conformist when it comes to the cultural clock thing. Filipinos are known for being chronically tardy. If a party is said to begin at 6:00 PM, people won’t show up until an hour later. However, I lived in Japan between the ages of 13-18, when these social skills were becoming more and more important (what do you care if you’re on time or not, when all you do is tag along your parents as a little kid?). So I tend to be early, and honor the mentioned time as much as I can. I suppose, having a very reliable transportation system in Japan also helped too: which now makes me annoyed whenever the buses here in North America run late.
Interesting – the articles about (that Dark Christian posted) mention that the Japanese are very high up on the list for being face-paced and on time.
I do try to be on time but no matter what my internal clock slows me down somehow so that I’m always a bit late. The “bit” part varying quite a bit 🙂