Filipino time. Island time. Mañana.
Or, as I like to call it, “Fiddle- f**king around.”
Time is precious. Time is fleeting. Once gone, you can never get time back.
That is one reason why airlines often penalize you heavily for missing flights: Once that seat in the plane takes off, it is gone forever, along with the potential revenue that goes with it.
Perhaps the biggest adjustment that I have had to make since moving here, as an American, is getting used to the fact that time is simply not valued very highly in the Philippines. This may sound easy to adjust to, in particular, if you have never lived here or have only visited on a vacation or holiday. Trust me: Adjusting to the differing concept of time is very, very difficult. Especially if you were raised in a culture that values promptness, with business demands and harried lives to lead.
It is considered bad manners in the Philippines, for instance, when invited to someone’s home for dinner, to be on time. You are expected to be late. Show up on time, and your host will not be ready. Running late for a meeting? Just say “traffic”, and anyone in Manila will instantly understand. Gotta go to the airport? Let’s make 1,000 stops for more pasalubong on the way… The plane will always wait, right?
I’m not misogynistic. Really, I’m not. I love women. I respect women. I truly believe in equality, to the very core of my being. I, however, do not even begin to understand the female mind. What makes them tick? If I had that answer, I would be superhero to all of Maledom. I would be a living God. Certainly, women have tried to explain it to me before. The dumb look on my face usually just leads to an argument and an apology on my part.
So, if women have THE answer…. The true meaning of existence and life itself… The mystery that has baffled the greatest male minds and thinkers through the eons and millennia, you would think that they, perhaps, might want to share this little jewel of wisdom, right? For the betterment of all humanity, right?
So, I pose a question to the all-beings with one different chromosome, who comprise 52% of the world’s population:
Why does it take so long for you to get ready to go out…. anywhere? What are you actually doing?
My wife is a goddess in my mind. No fooling. She is my other, better, half.
So, we are already running late. Female reasons, I suppose. Add in the cultural differences.
What is with all of the fiddle-f**cking around? Let’s just GO! Vamoose. Skedaddle. Be off like a prom dress. Ride off into the sunset.
Getting this crowd ready to go is like pulling teeth. Getting things done becomes a chore.
In the last ten years, I have taken nearly 1,000 airline flights. How many have I missed due to being late? Two. Once, an alarm clock in a hotel room was set by yours truly, “operator error”. An “eye – dee- ten –tee” error (IDIOT). The other time, in Taiwan, I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep (oops!).
Standard procedure for the bus to Abulug (or going to the airport):
- Prepare to leave home 3 to 3 ½ hours ahead.
- Tell Rebecca 4 hours ahead (I conveniently “forget” the actual flight departure time…I cannot do this with the bus).
- Fiddle around with the luggage.
- Fiddle around getting showered.
- Hair and makeup.
- Do you really need to paint your toenails NOW?
- Change clothes two or three times.
- Fiddle around getting Juanito ready.
- Re-box all the pasalubongs.
- Is everything unplugged?
- Give food in the fridge to neighbours and their maids.
- Is the door locked?
- Exit the house.
- Re-enter the house. Juanito forgot his hat.
- Get in the car.
- Ask the driver to turn around and go back to the house to get something we forgot.
- Go back. Enter house. Retrieve said item.
- Get in car.
- Did I leave the iron on? NO! Please go check.
- Re-enter house to check. Get back in the car.
- Start driving. Oops, hit traffic.
- Give driver an extra P200 to “speed it up”.
- Sit on España while driver takes “shortcut” trying to get to Sampaloc station.
- Arrive at station as bus is departing.
- Rebecca jumps out of moving taxi to stop the bus.
- Pay taxi driver while dealing with 2,000 porters who materialize trying to “help” with 500 kg of boxes and pasalubong.
- Pay bus driver for extra baggage.
- Get on the bus, red-faced and out of breath, and explain to my other half why you didn’t have time to buy enough snacks for the ride.
- Door hits me in the back getting on said bus.
- Nearly fall and break my neck as bus starts moving the milisecond the door starts closing.
- Mild tampo (few minutes only) for becoming irritated.
- Happy journey!
Fiddle-f**king around, indeed…