Let’s get one thing very clear. If we don’t know each other and you ask me for the time in a random public situation, it means you want to have sex with me. Quite simply. If I’m walking along the street and suddenly you accost me and point to your own wrist while asking me for the time, it’s a given. A sure thing. You want to have sex with me. Man or woman, I know this, because about 5 years ago some Hispanic guy in a leather jacket asked me for the time then he followed me and finally gave me his “business card” as we went up the escalator. Men spend money and hours trying to master the art of seduction and reading female body language in order to tell if women are interested. Forget all that. It’s a waste. I’ve solely got the sure-fire secret. The secret of time!
For instance, earlier this evening on my commute, a woman interrupted my music in order to ask me the time. The time. She was middle-aged crusty, dressed badly, crappy hairstyle, so I was not interested, and even less interested in giving her the time. I must have been visibly annoyed as I took my earphones out during Leftfield’s Leftism (one of my top 5 albums of all time, fyi) and glanced annoyingly at my watch. My watch is big and disgustingly oversized and the screen was obviously in her ugly face but she still asked. I think it might have confused her that my watch is set to military time. All my digital timepieces that can handle it are on military time. It’s the only way. Forget this “pm” or “am” crap. It’s rife with misunderstandings. 1400 hours is the clearest manner of saying 2 pm. There can be no doubt whether I’m saying 1400 or 0200. When you tell someone 1400 hours, there’s no way they can sincerely say they thought you said 7:30.
So the lady probably didn’t know what 1826 meant.
I thought about it and told her “6:30.” I slipped my ear buds back on quickly. I heard her laughing with her friends and gladly tuned them out.
I thought about my answer to her. 1830 hours. So imprecise, but good enough for her? Did I subconsciously scale down the accuracy of my super atomic clock-synced watch merely to simplify the time for her since I didn’t judge her worthy of super accurate time? I think I might have slyly deduced that saying “6:26” takes more exertion than saying 6:30 and my brain made an on-the-spot assessment of her type and demand for accurate time. She was kinda trashy, plain looking…surely the extremely accurate time was not beneficial to her. I gave her the poor man’s time quote. I wondered under what situation might have I been inclined to give the accurate time to a complete stranger. Perhaps if the person asking was a hot, young chick or maybe someone who just looked intelligent and had things on the ball. Perhaps I would have reflexively given them the time to the minute since these are the type of people whose self-important existence lives and dies by the span of minutes and seconds.
But if you see someone sloppy, unattractive, impoverished, you automatically deduce that time is not crucially important to them so you tune down the accuracy meter if they ask you the time. Funny thing is that on the Metro, the train schedules are the great equalizer because I don’t care if you’re a top-notch executive from downtown or a poor dark Central American urchin from MacArthur Park, the train arrives at the same time for everyone, so why should I assume that this unattractive lady on the Metro didn’t need an accurate time when trains are judged by the minute, not by the rounded-up-to-5-minutes mark? That was awfully presumptuous of me to not give the poor lady an accurate time. Still, I find that I’m always measuring my response to the infamous “what time is it” query from strangers. Sometimes I don’t want to appear the total uptight nerd, so I won’t say 7:13, yet, there are times I automatically bark out the exact time for no apparent reason other than I feel like it. “Sure, it’s 2:03!” I yell happily! But if it’s that unattractive senior with mottled skin, I’m more like to say “2.”
Super accurate time is a gift of modern technology and not to be squandered on those who don’t appreciate it or utilize it. The poor and slovenly, quite obviously by virtue of their lifestyle, have not valued the accuracy of time throughout their life. Let them have 2 o’clock! Those of us who have our crap together know it’s 2:03. Accurate time is a noble gift, not for the savages.