Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Goes by a Dismal Pace

Macbeth had it right, sometimes it seems like tomorrow will never come, especially here where tomorrow really might mean next week, or a month from now. This culture is famous for its expressing time in shorter increments than what it will really take.

For instance people are always telling me they are 'on a horse' getting the job done. It means that they are doing it as fast as they can, or that they will be there right away. When I first arrived I thought this expression meant that they were only minutes away from having the job done, or right up the street in a taxi. I have since learned that if someone is 'on a horse' it will be at least an hour before they get there maybe more. In fact, I have started to use the expression. Some days I am still in my house puttering around when someone calls, I tell them I will be right there "I am coming on a horse". I hang up, finish my cup of coffee, have a nice hot shower, pick out my clothes for the day, and slowly make my way to the bus stop, nothing hurried.

They mean the same thing when they say "tomorrow". If you don't know something will be ready, or when someone will be back you can just put the person who is asking off by saying 'tomorrow'. Both you know and they know that it is really not going to happen the next day, but
it sounded like a good answer.

I was recently out with a friend and we were told an official we need to talk to would be back in two days. I was all excited to have an actual time frame. But my friend who is a local told me that I had to learn what times expressed like this really meant. I told her I understood that "right now" was in an hour or so, and that tomorrow wouldn't be until at least next week, but this lady gave us a qualified number of days so it must be true. "No," said my friend "in two days is just double the uncertainty of tomorrow, this person might not be back for a month or two".

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