Thursday, December 22, 2005

Time telling

I’m not sure what cultural or historical significance lies behind this but for some reason, the majority of French people I have met tend to use the 24hr clock as a method of telling the time. Instead of saying, “I’ll be having dinner at 8 in the evening”, it’s “I’ll be having dinner at 20 hours”. The French say heure (literally hour) for o’clock.

Sure the anglo culture has the use of AM/PM which the French don’t have, but saying that I’ll be going to bed at 22 hours sounds like I’ve been born and bred in the military. There’s just something so wrong about using the 24 hour clock in normal everyday life.

Having said that, I keep having to correct myself and put time into 24 hours to make myself understood. Setting up appointments for dinner at “7” either gets completely confused looks, or some French person righteously correcting me and adjusting the appointment for 19 hours.

I’ve decided, life is too short to sound like I’ve been to military school. I’m having dinner at 7 if I want to.

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