Excuse me, what time do you have?

In years gone by, many people, in my part of the world, didn’t have access to a portable timepiece. This meant that, from time to time, one passer-by would ask another, most politely, “Excuse me, what time do you have?” ( As if time were like a bird in a cage that you could hold and tame :).) Usually, the response was polite, too, but, occasionally, it would be a gruff, “Get your own watch!” or “Can’t you read the clock over there in the park?” Which was very rude because, perhaps, the person couldn’t read or tell the time.

But, back to the question; “What time do you have?” As I write it is 11.22am on Saturday, 14 September, 2013, here in Christchurch, New Zealand.  In Los Angeles, it is 4.22pm on Friday 13 September, 2013. In Addis Ababa, it is 2.22 am on 14 September, 2013 or, in local terms, it is 8.22 on the 4th day of the first month of 2006 . In Kathmandu, it is the 29th of Bhadra 2070.  In Israel, the New Year of 5774 has begun.  Come November, it will be 1435 AH in Egypt, yet the Coptic Church in Egypt celebrated their New Year on 11 September, 2013. Confused. We should be, because, in the time it has taken me to write that passage, the times have changed and changed again. It’s hard to keep up.

What time do you have?

What time do you have?

A few weeks back, I finished reading “A Fugue in Time” by Rumer Godden.  Check here  In the US, its title is Take Three Tenses, which it does.  It is the story of a house, a place, and the people who are gathered to the house over  generations. The past, the present and the future are tightly woven through the narrative, in much the same confusing way that we, in our daily lives, will, in one moment, be thinking of what we are eating and, in the next,  be remembering a special Christmas meal 50 years ago. And, at the same time, planning for tonight’s supper or this coming Christmas Day.  Rumer Godden plays with time; how it floats in and out and around us and constantly changes our reality.

One day, this past August, I was confined to my house and realised that, on my dressing table, I had inadvertently created a timepiece, unique to my place and my day.  In a small space, I had a brief hold on the present, the past and the future. And, with the help of my camera, I could rearrange and play with them to my heart’s content.

Spring or summer time?

Spring or summer time?

So, excuse me, what time do you have?

For me, it is lunch time 🙂

© silkannthreades

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48 thoughts on “Excuse me, what time do you have?

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    ha! this past week someone asked me the time, and i immediately looked down at the shadows and then up to the sky/sun and gave my best educated guess. i was about ten minutes off.

    that system works well for me in the tropics, especially in ecuador, but it’s a horrible system when the skies are cloudy or it’s night time!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I love that you can tell time like that! Clouds do present problems but, I expect if you were a ‘night owl’, you would eventually be able to tell time by the night skies too. You have great observational skills 😉 .

      Reply
        1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

          no! it is stunning in costa rica, but here there is almost always a band of clouds that shrouds the equator… last night the stars smiled down for a brief moment to welcome me hoe, then bashfully darted beneath the veil of cover!

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  3. silvana1989

    Reporting from the equator 10:46 pm September 15, 2013, I know I have not been online lately, I have many post already cooking in the oven and in my mind, but I’m managing my family´s restaurant now, I do not for how long and work routines are so long that I forget to see the watch. Near the restaurant We have a church with a bell, when is it 8 am bell rings 8 times, 1 pm when the bell rings 1 time. So while I’m at work I do not need to ask What time is it? or watch at the clock, I’ve really enjoyed the work that you have done with those photos. I hope you’re good. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      What a lot you have to do. You have no time to check the time! I think it must be lovely to hear the church bell ring in the hours. We don’t have many church bells in the city. And I hardly ever hear them. All the best with the restaurant. Keep smiling 🙂

      Reply
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  5. utesmile

    I am reading this late, and I have now already 15th September noon, and I am having breakfast…..yes late night so late up. Well I already have changed the bedlinnen and oiled the kitchenworktop, before I sat on the computer….So not too bad!
    We have about 15 degrees too! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Heather in Arles

    So very beautiful and the comments as well. I like the Balinese calender with its many new years and lunar new years. Makes it all much less precious.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, all the differences give a balance to the world, I think. We don’t have to be fixated on January 1st as New Year or Christmas on 25th etc. We can let time flow around us more easily perhaps.

      Reply
  7. melodylowes

    What a shock to see you had written about time today – I had a little poem about time running through my head all day. I was thinking about how we each get a certain number of minutes to ‘spend’ … OF course, if I had read this first, I could have transcended mere time by morphing into Coptic time! Isn’t it interesting how different people groups have independently come up with ways of measuring the passage of time. There must be something in us all that marches to the same beat, after all! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Amazing! Perhaps our thoughts are set on time because of the change in seasons. Nature’s time does bind us all and maybe, in the end, the only one that counts ?????

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, time changes during travel can be challenging. However, you can think of all the time you spent in Ethiopia and pretend you are 7 years younger, as a result.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Elusive and concrete, indeed it is. What fascinates me, too, is what happens to our ‘time’ when we isolate ourselves from watches or timetables or news and let ourselves flow with the day. It can be an enjoyable experience or uncomfortably disorientating.

      Reply
  8. Forest So Green

    I like your home weather monitor. We have one too. Right now it is Saturday, September 14 and the time is 1:38 pm.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And as I reply to you it is Sunday 15th, and 11.27 am. We love our home weather monitor. It is very accurate. So with the new monitor and our old Barometer and our own good eyes, we have a great home-made weather station 🙂

      Reply
  9. beautycalyptique

    I love the harmony in those pictures and discovering that I’m not the only one whose brain hurts at the concept of time. it’s so strange yet so normal to live in someone else’s tomorrow or yesterday. thank god for the GMT for business events!

    david bowie comes to mind, of course:
    “The sniper in the brain, regurgitating drain
    Incestuous and vain,
    and many other last names
    I look at my watch it says 9:25 and I think
    “Oh God I’m still alive””

    Reply
      1. beautycalyptique

        GMT rules. also thank foodness for digital clock apps that show you the time across the globe. I remember where I used to calculate the time to call friends in the US or in Russia (where I still struggle, because they have killed daytime saving time, so it’s half the year 2 hours, half the year 3 hours difference. blimey)

        you can not possibly listen to too much david bowie, yup 🙂 I’m so in love with The Next Day. and all the easter eggs it holds. and the fragile voice of Where Are We Now was a prank, as usual 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          The apps are brilliant but my old favourite is still Time and Date.com. Warning: we start daylight saving soonish 🙂 I thought Time was the perfect theme song for my post! Clever you.

        2. beautycalyptique

          Time is a great song. it started ringing in my ears as I read 🙂 because my brain is a Bowie jukebox 😀

  10. YellowCable

    It is 7:31 AM on 14 September 2013 (here) 🙂
    I think time is confusing and strange by itself too. I used to wonder that it is. Now I give that up. That aside, this is a nice reading post with nice analog pictures of time 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And now I am writing at 1.38 am on 15 September 🙂 Yes, sometimes it is better not to think too hard about time; just enjoy it instead. Glad you like the pictures.

      Reply

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