Friday, August 13, 2010
Cariocas and Time: Does it really matter?
I had some rare but now definite (WOO HOO) free time while the kids were at school this afternoon, so I went out to run some errands.
I left a store and glanced at the huge street clock in Largo do Machado to make sure I still had time before I had to pick them up. That got me thinking. There are ginormous digital clocks all over Zona Sul. I mean, they are everywhere. I'm sure you've seen them, they switch off between the temperature and the time.
So why are Cariocas always, at least, 10 minutes late. They can't blame watches. "Oh, I didn't realize the time! Wait a minute, I'm standing under a 6 foot tall clock." And they can't blame not being able to read it. It's digital for goodness sake!
I'm thinking the government voted between tackling the corruption issue and the punctuality issue. They figured posting a clock every 200 meters would be cheaper and not cut into their salaries, so they went for it.
Well, a couple of things could have happened.
First, locals could just think that the thing just tells you the temperature and the other random numbers are a computer glitch.
Second, it's not actually a clock but a suggestion of what the time really is. If their watch has a different time, that must mean they have about 10 more minutes.
Then there's the final guess that they just don't care. Cariocas don't really care if they are 10 minutes late and it works for them. You know why? Because EVERYONE is 10 minutes late. If everyone is 10 minutes late then 10 minutes late really is on time and on time is 10 minutes early.
As for the clocks, I think they should stop putting time and just write "You're already late!". Come on clock managing guys, do it for just one day!