Thursday, 30 July 2009

Killing Time

The Boss : "What's the time in Australia?"

Here's me : "What part of Australia?"

The Boss : "Doesn't matter what part, what time is it?"

Here's me : "Depends on which part, doesn't it?

The Boss, looking at me like I'm stupid : "Of course it doesn't."

Here's me : "Er, it surely does. I think there are probably three different time zones in Australia. At least two, anyway. I'd need to check. It's a big country y'know."

The Boss : "How can it be different times in the same country?"

I have no idea how to answer that, except possibly by thumping her face repeatedly into the globe, so instead I change tack -

Here's me : "I just googled it. There are three different time zones in Australia. Which port are you looking for?"

The Boss : "Perth... no, Fremantle."

Here's me : "Ten hours ah..."

The Boss : "No, Brisbane. No wait, Darwin."

Why must it always be like this? Why?

Here's me : "Nine and half hours ahead."

The Boss : "It can't be."

Here's me : "I'm just reading it off the screen like."

The Boss : "That's stupid. How can anywhere be a half hour difference?"

Here's me, dying : "I don't know. It just is. It says so here, look."

The Boss rises like a wrathful harpy from her desk and seizes up the mammoth volume of an atlas that is her unwieldy, slow and out of date preference over the "fancyness" of Google Maps, and verily slams the immense fucking thing down on my desk. She opens it at the page displaying the world map and assumes the air of a school-teacher, possibly in a special kind of school.

"ONE hour" she declaims, and jabs a finger onto the 30' east line of longitude.
"TWO hours" at 60'.
"THREE hours" at 90' - hell of a shock for China there.

I'm sort of enjoying this now. It's kind of reminding me of Sesame Street, if the Count was a lunatic crack addict.

At FOUR hours she falters slightly as she realises that this is not really going to work.

"No, wait. It's two hours each line."

This is truly fascinating to watch. It's a bizarre form of conversational Ouroboros. I am captivated by the spectacle.

"TWO hours" at 30' east.
"FOUR hours" at 60' east - still with the finger jabbing.
"SIX hours" at 90' east - as painful as I usually find it to be spoken to like this, I am going to let this one play out uninterrupted.
"EIGHT hours" jab
"TEN hours" jab
"TWELVE hours" jab.

I watch her triumphant moment as she manages to make this arcane science seem feasible to herself. I can almost hear the blood rushing to her head.

Here's me, looking earnestly at the map, eager to absorb my lesson : "So... uh... Greenwich, say, is... about two hours behind GMT?"

The Boss, now satisfied in victory, with the almost kindly air of one treating a fool and a condescending shake of the head : "It doesn't work that way."

Some of the finest victories are achieved by simply refusing to fight, and by their very nature, they must go unsung.

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