Sunday, August 26, 2007

A New England Upbringing Clashes With CPT

Growing up in New England I was constantly bombarded with Olde Sayings. "Waste not, want not." "A penny saved is a penny earned." "Patience is a virtue." I heard them from my parents and grandparents, my teachers at school, the old guy at the news stand up the street from my dad's clothing store, everywhere. Promptness was expected. If you were supposed to be someplace at six you allowed time for the possibility of getting a flat tire on the way while still arriving ten minutes early. People would then chat about who'd had a baby or whose son got a perfect report card, yesterday's Red Sox game on the radio, or that the first run of bluefish had showed up in the harbor.

Then I moved to The South. Well, I suppose Miami was never really the south, being largely populated by recent arrivals from the midwest, New York, and New England, but for the most part they soon adopted the more laid back Southern attitude. Black folks joked about CPT, colored peoples' time. After Castro took over Cuba the Hispanics tried to claim the term CPT with Cuban people's time. Within a few years the concept of getting anyplace "on time" became meaningless.

Here in North Miami public hearings and official meetings are lucky if they start only ten minutes late, when we've achieved a quorum of the board or the council, and often a member or two will wander in quite a few minutes later. Even the city attorney or city clerk won't always be on time and everybody just sits around staring at the clock until we can get things underway.

Here I am, Mr. New England Promptness, a couple of minutes before when the meeting is supposed to start, and it seems that even the audience is on CPT. Fortunately it was a short agenda and we all got out early anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice story. Good Point. Here, in Mexico, we have a similar situation. When someone points a date, it is not unusual to say: "In the afternoon"... that means sometime between the 2pm and the 6pm. That's it. And, surprisingly, it works.

Nice shirt.

I've tried many times what you are doing and always ends with a mess.

11:58 PM  

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