Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Big and little hands
I had another German lesson.I think I may have discovered the secret to happiness. It lies in the telling of the time. Some Germans, it would appear, do not tell the time as I do. If it was 9.30, they would say: "Es ist halb zehn". It is half way to ten. For 9.15, they say: "Es ist Viertel zehn" or It is a quarter of the way towards ten. That is to say they add an hour. If I could give myself more time in which I could accomplish more, I would be happier. Instead of thinking: "I have to do this work. I cannot play with the children." I would think: "I can do both." Happiness. Apparently, this is the way of going on in East and Southern Germany. I can only think people in East and Southern Germany are happier and get much more done than their compatriots. My handout is philosophical in its explanation: "...even before half past the hour it is quite common to think of the time in relation to the forthcoming hour. This is especially important with half past the hour where there is no choice." Quite so. Cometh the hour; cometh the man. Cometh another hour; cometh the happier man. Or woman. I think woman. Women tend to need more time. They have more to do in it. I am thinking what I could do with all that extra time; take up cross stitch, clean the bathroom, read a book, have another baby. Well, maybe not another baby. That might just kill me. Does it mean, I wonder that Germans are more forward looking? Is this the answer, not just to my time poverty problems, but to countries who spend too much time thinking of past glories rather than future happiness. We will speak differently of time and time will speak differently to us. It will say: "Draw up a rocker. Sit by me awhile. Let us drink coffee and talk of our future."