Saturday, 23 March 2013

Teenage Time

Teenage Time
23 March 2013

Now if you live in Africa, then you will indeed be familiar with the practice and custom of African time.

But if you’re not….. African time?  What is that?  Is it the position of Africa on a line of longitude, determining it’s time zone?  The exact moment that sunrise or sunset occurs?  Africa’s proximity to the Equator (Uh, hello!  The equator runs through Africa – even I know that)?  Or simply the country’s internal clock, unrelated to Geography at all?

No, indeed it is not.  African time, refers to the custom of people from Africa, let’s call them her natives, to take a rather lackadaisical and relaxed view on the standard and conventional approach to the keeping of time.

Oh, they can tell time.  That’s not it.  It’s more a sense of what that time means.  And their rather loose interpretation of that time.

And somehow or other, in terms of actual punctuality, African time, is rather a lot more spot on and accurate than Teenage Time.  Believe it or not.  And I am pretty sure that fellow parents of teenagers will corroborate my claims.  It is irrefutable.  Teenage Time, elevates the whole interpretation of the space-time continuum to a whole new level.

Some might even venture so far as to say, that it has no bearing on actual time at all.  Perhaps it comes from teenagers’ rather relaxed, never mind and never care attitude?  Or from their belief that the whole world revolves around them and their needs?  Even Father Time himself, would not dare to tell a teenager anything about time.  Maybe it comes from the over developed sense of self importance and self-worth they’re so abundantly blessed with?  Who can actually tell?  It simply is a fact of life.

Their sense of timing is also directly proportional to the actual event that that time relates to.  And so to illustrate….. If you ask them to do something as ordinary and mundane as spend half an hour studying, then time seems to speed up.  And so that half an hour can actually turn into a shortened fifteen minutes.  If even that long.  And inversely, if you ask them to quickly help you to wash the dishes, then a task that would take an adult a mere ten minutes, ends up being stretched into thirty minutes at least.

They also have this same lack of dedication to punctuality, if they’re the ones keeping you waiting.  If you are for example fetching them from a party or a friend’s house.  Then they can dawdle and once more stretch that time out.  Dragging their feet and keeping you waiting.  No qualm about your time that is being wasted, sitting in your car.  All this while you’re not so patiently twiddling your thumbs and working up a good steam.  However, if they want to do something, or go somewhere and you keep them waiting, even for a mere five minutes, they act like it’s hours.  And so therefore, they are not in possession of a very developed feeling of the length of time.  Of how fast or how slow time actually seems to pass.

Another phenomenon to African and Teenage Time, is it’s terminology.  For instance, five minutes from now, can be called anything from “just now” to “now now”, “just now now”.  This exact same terminology can also refer to a time frame three hours from now.  The same can also be said for the word “soon” and “later”.  Rather loose terms at the very best of time.

To give you an example, in answer to the question, “How soon before you’re done with the dishes?”.  The answer can range from “just now”, to “now now”, to “just now now”.  However, it could also be “soon” or “later”.

And so, I think that it is only fair, that us adults, also indulge in this habit every now and then.  Therefore, in response to the question from my teenager, as to when he may move out of home, I feel obliged to answer, “soon”.  However, given his current behaviour, I’m leaning more towards “just now”.

Or even sooner if I can.

It explains it perfectly
No grey area, right?
Rather fluid - a perfect teenage clock

1 comment:

  1. I hated waiting for teenagers. But one has to take their limitations into account!