Monday, January 30, 2012

Healing Time

Our most recent reading about Monochronic and Polychronic time of course made me begin to wonder which I adhered to most, or best.  Before reading Hall's article I stumbled across a post written by Averyl Dietering--who is going to the UK--and agreed with her about Monochronic time.

For those of you who don't know Hall's theory about the two different times, M-time is best described as compartmentalizing your time into a schedule.  It's what you imagine the President's day is like, with everything from meetings with ambassadors to time for tucking his children into bed mapped out for him.  Or, if you knew what my last semester was like, where I had every day to the half-hour mapped out just so I could get everything done, it's like that.  The idea of M-time is that the only way to complete things is to compartmentalize them, to schedule them, to do only one thing at a time and then be completed.  Hall says that those who adhere to M-time often refer to time as being wasted, killed, saved, lost, or made-up (266).  P-time is organic, fluid, and chaotic to someone who operates in M-time, but it is most like a mother's schedule, Hall says.  "How else can one raise several children at once, run a household, hold a job, be a wife, mother, nurse, tutor, chauffeur, and general fixer-upper?"  If that example doesn't work for you, think of how you learned the Native-Americans treated time.  It's about people, Hall says, and the people who deal in P-time are usually never alone, very little is private, and rarely are people excluded or is time compartmentalized.  P-time is about keeping people informed, getting people the things they need, and rarely keeping to a schedule, or a queue, etc.

Before knowing this, and just reading Averyl's post, I was certain I was an M-time person.  It's what I've done my whole life.  School starts at this time, and work starts at that time.  Lunch with someone and this time, and a review meting at this time.  It's how I've learned to operate, and the way I show I care about people is by not wasting their time.  And I definitely think of time as possible to waste if and when I have much I have to do.  I, for example, do not appreciate when someone is late to a noon meeting we set up, when I have a lunch planned with a friend at 1.  Because I know that lunch friend is operating on M time, and being late is rude.  The person I had a meeting with who shows up at 12:45 is even worse because what they're telling me is that they have no respect for my time.  But that's ONLY because I have something planned at 1.  If I was going to be at work until 4 with no other meetings or plans, I care very little that the person showed up at 12:45.  It doesn't matter to me, because I got things done in those 45 minutes and an hour from 12 is just as productive as an hour from 12:45.

So, I realized that I adhere to M-time, and prefer M-time when I know others are keeping me to M-time.  But I also realized in reading this article that if it were up to me, I would much rather adhere to P-time.  Saturday's, for example, I have always treated as my days.  I hate when people schedule things on Saturdays because I like to be in charge of it as my only day.  It's my healing day.  Yes, I may be doing homework, or I may be sleeping in, or I may be cooking for a crowd, but it's my day and when you M-time schedule my day, I am not a happy person.  This is because P-time heals.  I couldn't give you a scientific reason why I believe that P-time heals, just that you need time where what time it is doesn't matter to feel like you're just human and not a piece of a machine.  And I imagine it's the way life is probably supposed to go, but "civilized" first-world countries can't operate on P-time, or else we don't believe they can and so we don't value it as much.  P-time looks lazy, and maybe from some frame of reference it is, but you don't have to be unproductive within P-time, it's just that when you complete things means means little; the clock means little.

I look forward to this Field Study which I feel will consist of the best of both times.  I expect M-time to get me up in the morning, and P-time to let me wander.  I expect M-time to help me meet people and keep appointments and P-time to let me converse with them with no worries of how long it will take, or how late it is.  I expect M-time to catch a train and expect P-time to let it take as long as it needs to.  M-time is for initiation into life-experiences, but P-time is for living them.  P-time is for healing.

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