You got it right – that’s Ireland Time, not Island Time, even though we’ve got palm trees, beautiful beaches and rumours of occasional sun.
I used to work on Advertising Standard Time: Everything has a deadline of yesterday – and if you don’t come in to work on Sunday, don’t bother showing up on Monday. That’s one more past life I won’t be going back to. For the most part, it was good to me and I hope I returned the favour.
The nice thing about my here and now is a sense of timeless time. There’s an amorphous attitude about time here – a recognition that it exists, coupled with a pride that it’s not the be all and end all of life. Things get done. And for the most part they’re completed in due course without the overriding sense of urgency that characterizes so many other places. I feel a tangible difference that’s somewhere between island time and American time. I’m still getting a feel for it, and it feels good. Wherever I go I see clocks – on steeples, public buildings, in pubs, in stores – and none of them show the same time. In fact, I doubt if any of them have moved in years. Can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking it’s probably Dali-inspired public art.
With the occasional exception of theatre curtain times, nearly everybody starts when they get around to starting. Since I still have more friends in other time zones than here, distance is making the time transition easier. For the better part of my life I’ve made a habit of sleeping until a civilized hour. When I eventually fill my coffee cup I can read the day’s news and check American email and FB postings from last night without needing to respond in the moment. “Last night” is a relative term, given the time differences. I recall a number of times last year when I’d notice a Pacific Time Zone client on FB at shortly after midnight his time. I didn’t hit the send button on the work that was due the next day. Figured I’d wait a couple of hours so he’d have a night’s sleep before having to deal with the work. Oh, and for you East Coast insomniac friends whose posts I see popping onto my screen while I’m reading, GET SOME SLEEP!
But back to the difference between Island Time and Irish Time. In the islands they don’t wear shirts and ties and you can generally get things done, one way or the other, whenever. Here bankers have found that it’s more important to have that business look of efficiency rather than efficiency itself.
Remember the bank crash of 2008? It killed the Celtic Tiger. Now that we’re living in the Tiger’s litterbox, things remind me a lot of what I remember from the pre EU days, except that restaurants are a million times better and the bankers are trying to act like Germans. It’s interesting to observe a friendly decent person helping you as much as they can with their hands tied by out-of-town bean counters. They have the responsibility of relaying answers, but the authority to do nothing.
I recognize that I’m dealing with things as a real person. If I’d said I was a software company and started tossing around projections of estimates of wild-ass guesses, things might be different. But I’m not. And I didn’t. And because bankers are marching to the beat of EU Austerity there’s no way to get things done outside the fill-in-the-blanks autism of by-the-book rules. If we were really on island time, we’d find a personal, one-on-one way to resolve issues. But now we’re in the shirt and tie show, so that doesn’t work for someone like me. Suffice it to say that with over a month in country, I still don’t have a local bank account. But more on this adventure in Wonderland in an upcoming post.
But I digress…Back to the things that really count in life…
My experience here is that things tend to work pretty close to Musician Standard Time – “We’re going to take a 10-minute break for the next 20 minutes. See you in half an hour.” Local bands are usually billed with a 10:00 pm start, which means they start their load-in around 10:30 and their gigs around 11 or 12 and play til whenever. I love it. I can have a good meal, get to the theatre, then choose my music and drink to finish the evening. And no venue or good restaurant in town is more than a 15-minute walk from my house. In the past week I’ve seen four very good performances in four different theatres and still couldn’t see everything I wanted to see, much less what was available. And that doesn’t count movies and music, even though I can generally catch a good gig after I’ve been to the theatre.
Besides my living in interesting times with Irish banking, I’ve had very good experience with local healthcare, even though Austerity has severely messed with it, as well. Stay tuned for more on that.
I’m glad I’m here.
If you want to come visit, I live just a few doors down from Paradise Place. [Seriously, you can find it on the map.]