Hi, I’m Gisella. I'm a 'solo' traveller and a chef for hobby.

Clock Wars (Italians for Dummies, Lesson 2)

27 January 2011 - 12:03pm -- gisella
Just... tech-trash!

I'm considering a curious phenomenon. My clock says it's 15.50. My mobile says it's 15.21. My laptop says it's 14.55. My netbook says (attention please) it's 16.10.

You could object: "Your stuff are just tech-trash, mwanangu. They can fail". Of course, they can. Most of all when the human mind who set them follows a personal idea of time.

On the other side, when I was in Italy my clocks were wrong as well. If the right hour was 12.00, my tech-trash gave back 12.10, 12.10, 12.10. And. 12.10! That's the point.

Well. I give you note that...

Cliche' no. 3
Italian people play
an everlasting war with their clocks

The truth behind: We're obsessed with regularity

It seems a contradiction, but it isn't. Italian people fight against their clocks with the aim of putting order where order is not supposed to be. We spend lot of time trying to fill everything into a timetable, and the result is that we're... regularly late!

To better explain Italians' idea of time, it could be useful to compare connections between cause and effect in several everyday settings. Let's consider, for instance, their Tanzanian equivalents.*

Public Transport (Italian way)

Despite we always complain about it, Italian people love to travel by train. It's a problem, because traveling by train requires to be at the station the right time. Solution is simple: Italian trains are regularly 10 minutes late. Italian people can go on enjoying their trips, without loosing the train.

Public Transport (Tanzanian way)

Despite they always complain about it, Tanzanian people love to travel by bus. It's a problem, because traveling by bus requires to be at the station the right time. Solution is simple: Tanzanian bus pretend to leave the right time, but they're always blocked in queue for one hour before being out, on the road. Tanzanian people can go on enjoying their trips, without loosing the bus.

Save energy, save the environment (Italian way)

Italian urban people's recurrent incubus is the "no-car day". When the environmental situation becomes critical, our authorities plan some days in which it's not allowed to use cars. They arrange everything well, and they publish all the schedules on press and websites... just the day after the "no-car day"! So you regularly get a couple of tickets, before understanding that you were not allowed to use your car. The result? Big tragedy, of course.

Save energy, save the environment (Tanzanian way)

Tanzanian urban people's recurrent incubus is the "no-electricity day". When the environmental situation becomes critical, their authorities plan some days in which it's not possible to use electricity. They arrange everything well, avoiding to give any note about schedules... they just switch off everything, seemingly without any logical frame. So, suddenly, it's no more possible to do things you have to do. And you never know how long it will last. The result? Big tragedy, of course.  

* By the way, Tanzanian people don't even try to fight with their clocks. So they're less stressed, and... irregularly late, of course!

(To be continued...)