Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sri Lankan Timing.... an interesting thing.

Why do I say this?

I've been invited to a dinner party tonight. All very British and actually very nice, a good time will be had by all I'm sure.

But last night, the expected time of arrival for the dinner party popped into the conversation. The hostess for tonight was present last night. Apologies if you're reading this tomorrow, in which case the dinner party was last night and the conversation was the night before, although at this point the dinner party hasn't happened yet, but it will have happened as you're reading this.

So the hostess, whenever the conversation took place, said, after a brief chinwag with her husband, that the guests should arrive at "about 7.30 to eat at 8.00".

Surrounded by white people I smirked inwardly and enjoyed the wholly unsubtle difference between a typical British time requirement and a Sri Lankan one. Being the third culture kid that I am I can understand both languages, and I'm not talking about languages here. I know that going to someone's for dinner in Sri Lanka means that you arrive sometime during the evening, rarely does it matter what time. Like that children's party game when you have to pin a tail onto the arse of a donkey you just turn up roughly in the region of Saturday, assuming the invitation was for Saturday.

The free flowing relaxedness of Sri Lankans is luxurious when you don't have to bust a bollock to get ready to leave at the allocated minute yet infuriating when the British bit of me is sitting and waiting for a Sri Lankan friend or relative who hasn't busted the aforementioned bollock to get ready to leave at the allocated minute to meet me. Of course I didn't really mean it when I said "aforementioned" either, that would have meant the person would have neglected to bust one of my bollocks to get ready in time. Painful and unnecessary.

And my experience of British dinner parties is like Mervyn's Silva's list of incidents in which he has embarassed his Country and people; pretty extensive to start with and growing all the time. I know that an ETA of 7.30 for a British dinner party means I might be able to get away with arriving at 7.31, as long as the excuse is a good one, like my house caught fire or I broke my leg or something. If I happen to arrive early I simply do what any good Brit should do, I sit in the car and watch the minutes go by until the correct time.

Must go now, I have to get ready in 53 minutes' time.


Anonymous said...

i w a n t y o u.....

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - Errmmm....Thanks.

Times Eye said...

Ohh....poor Brits...they were here for centuries ,seems that they have not learnt to enjoy a dinner or lunch..