Thursday, August 5, 2010

The funny things time does

There is this certain town in central California. I've been teaching a cartooning camp there for a little more than a month. It's not the most wealthy town, nor the most modern. But it has it's own positives. The students I teach there are well-behaved, smart, and motivated. The parents can be a little helicopter-y, but most parents who are willing to pay upwards of $70 for a six week course in simple drawing and coloring tend to lean towards the helicopter-y side.

This town, however, does have one downside: apparently, all the clocks tell different times. The parks and rec office clock says one time, and every single student (and their parents) claim their clocks read something different from everyone else's.

Mine, of course, is checked with whatever clock calibrator AT&T wireless uses for their cellphones. I also check it with my laptop clock (which checks in with some other time calibrator that laptops use), the time notifier on my local NPR station, and occasionally the morning/evening news channels.

Needless to say, my clock is nearly always off from the time this town keeps. Which means nearly every one of my students arrive to art class too late, or too early. Strangely enough, they have all been picked up punctually - even the parents who don't stay and hang out in the classroom.

I know a fellow teacher who teaches in the US Virgin Islands. Her stories of "island time" remind me a little of "small central California rural town time." Pretty much everyone goes at their own pace in the US VI's, regardless of any other clock. I'm sure it can get really annoying - which it does for me, in this town. I have other things to do before and after teaching there - things that are usually time sensitive.

But I also think one can get used to "island time" really easily, as long as your own schedule isn't dictated by the hour and minute hands. I think my teacher-friend in the US VI likes it. She wouldn't be staying there for a second year if she didn't.

And hey, the beaches and palm trees probably doesn't hurt either.

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