Saturday, March 21, 2009


Kid who is in fourth grade was at the playground and asked me the time.
Without any pleases or other manners, so it took me a while to answer. What took me a while was to decide whether or not to make her ask again. I decided against it and said, "Quarter to seven."
She asked, "What time is it?" again, and that was really pushing my patience. One of my many adult grumpinesses arises when someone asks me a question and then doesn't bother paying attention to the answer.
So I said, "I just told you the time. What did I just say?"
And she said, "Quarter to seven."
And I thought we were done. But her look told me that she didn't know what those words meant. And she said, "I need to know because I need to be home at six forty-five."
Now my next answer took me a really long time because that's the kind of joke I would make and I had to study her face carefully in order to determine whether she was joking or not.
So I asked a friend of hers, "What does 'quarter to seven' mean?" And, after thinking a while, he said, "Six fifteen?"

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