the bottomline

Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by Dan Allen

So my first full day in Southeast Asia I was one hour off. That’s right, Mr. Time had set his dual–time watch piece one hour wrong for both US and over here. No wonder I was hungry waiting and waiting in my room for the main hotel restaurant to open. It was open an hour before (in fact, I eventually learned it’s open 24-hours). It was after midnight local time when I went to bed. I thought it was only 11.

I’m normally quite good with this. You get on the plane and adjust the clock for the destination. So that’s why we landed an hour earlier than expected. We hadn’t, but my watch said we did. I thought the pilot found a shortcut somewhere between Iceland and Russia.

Vonnie probably remembers the day on our honeymoon when we were an hour–off the entire time. We saved up our money (her money) and visited Israel and went through Europe for an almost month-long celebration of our marriage—visiting my brother and hers in Israel and Germany, respectively. Airfare, naturally, was the most expensive part of the trip. Staying with family, including sleeping in the back of a van in Aschaffenburg, saved a ton of money, and back then you could travel through the old countries on ten dollars a day—so said the book we used. Rome, Venice, Geneva, Frankfort and London were our stops and train was our ride. But it was in Geneva, Switzerland, where we didn’t realize there was a time–change. Didn’t much matter until we missed our train the next day.

The Rock Group Chicago recorded a song with the title of this piece. One reviewer described it as “the kind of existential question commonly posited in the '60s.” Why does society need to be rushing around, going from place to place instead of stopping and smelling the roses, appreciating the small pleasures in life? The descant – “I don’t care” – is heard as the lead singer asks: “Does anyone really care what time it is?”

Time is a non–factor in the villages I visit in this country. A throwback to a simpler, more innocent time, I suppose. Less stress. They go by the mantra “it happens when it happens.” This, while in the big cities and back in the US everyone is rushing at breakneck speed from one thing to the next, falling exhausted into their beds at night.

Chicago took a page out of Ecclesiastes 3 when they observed we’ve got “time enough to cry” and “time enough to die.” So, maybe we should slow down a bit. But don’t go into neutral. Jesus noted: “We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4). 

Oh my, it’s almost 8 pm and I haven’t had dinner yet. Not the fault of the watch this time—just busy writing. I think I’ll leave my watch off for the next few days . . . at least until I need to get on the next flight . . . where times flies.


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