Thursday, March 01, 2007

¿Hora peruana = hora exacta?

The invitation for my high school prom in Lima stated that the event began at 9:00PM. Melanie (who was a sophomore at the time) could only stay out until midnight, so we thought we would arrive at the respectable time of 10:15pm.

Not only were we the first ones there, but the decorations weren't even finished.

Since then, I've had a number of experiences concerning "hora peruana," known more generally in this country as HPT (hispanic people's time). Angela and I laughed when we had an engagement party in Peru and the Koreans who we invited actually arrived at the time we said to arrive, while the rest of my Peruvian family arrived at least an hour later. In college, after he found out I was Peruvian, Professor Neil Oxenhandler (today I have no problem declaring that he did this), yelled at me in front of the class for arriving late, saying "you people need to learn how to arrive on time." (Naturally, I assume he meant "you people" to refer to "work-study students" since the reason I arrived late to class was because I was a manager at the dining hall and the person who was supposed to replace me had arrived late. That would make him classist instead of racist, which I suppose is better.) These days, I am usually five minutes late to class, running in out of breath. The clock in our car is deliberately set 10 minutes fast so that I will glance at it and forget that it's fast so that I might actually arrive on time every so often.

It appears, however, that I no longer have an excuse. (Even the main Peruvian daily newspaper is covering this.)

Personally, I would love to be in Peru now to see exactly how this is panning out -- or whether, as I expect, everyone is just laughing as they stroll in half and hour late.


Anonymous said...

In Germany, it is customary to be a quarter hour late (Viertel) to class. And this for a people known to be punctual. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, one of my biggest pet peeves is other peoples' lateness. I hate it when people are chronically late (not 5 minutes, but 15, 30 minutes). I hate it because a) obviously you realize you have a problem, and should be able to make an adjustment to fix this problem, and b) you are saying that your time is more important than my time. You are saying that what you are doing is so important, it is worth delaying my day for. It's so inherently selfish, I can't stand it.

I find it especially humorous that you posted this entry at exactly 9:00:00 AM. :D

McNastabator said...

I can't stand when people are late. I give students one free "tardy." After that...if they are one second late, I mark them as absent.


The View From Dupont said...

lateness is a huge pet peeve of mine, but I found (living in Havana and then Rome - two different kinds of general lateness, but both the same gist) that it's really easy to slip into - it's almost [gasp] relaxing and comforting! The idea of it! I wish DC could be more like that at times...

Holly said...

They've been talking about this on the Peruvian expat forums. And, as you said, laughing.

We've also found New Orleans to have a bit of the same qualities... if you arrive at 3:30 for a party that starts at 3, you will likely be the first one there.

One of my favorite things about UM was that class began 10 minutes AFTER the hour. Brilliant.