“Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so”. So said Ford Prefect, one of the characters in the five-book trilogy, Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. I noted yesterday that asking what time we are leaving is unlikely to receive a helpful answer in Argentina. Unhelpful is possibly a misleading term, “accurate” maybe a better word to use.
Latin Americans are not punctual is almost a truism–a statement so obvious is doesn’t really need to be said. This hides, however, a value that, once known, makes sense of the Argentinian tendency towards “tardiness”. Time with people is more valued than punctuality. This is especially true in regard to food. So, its not so much lunchtime that is doubly illusory but foot time.
This can be illustrated by the final Saturday’s asado (or BBQ) with our friends the Shannons. “What time should we arrive?”, we asked. “About 12 midday”, replied Kike (pronounced Key Kay). So when leaving at 12.30pm for the 45 minute journey we knew we were within plenty of time! When we arrived the fire had been lit and the meat had just been put on. When I say meat, I’m not referring to a couple of burgers and a sausage but two large hunks of “tira de asado” (rib meat – about 15cm wide and high and about 50cm long!) and a large piece of “Vacio” (flank – about 15cm square and 5 cm think).
I don’t know what time we ate. It doesn’t actually matter but my point is time was not important: it is an illusion reality is spending time with friends, chatting, sharing, laughing, arguing, just being. This is a taste of heaven time doesn’t matter we have an eternity to enjoy it.