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La Hora.....Time goes by

Wendy . Blog Published 11 October 2010

When I was growing up a clock was a clock. And a watch was just like a clock, but you wore it on your wrist. It had a face and 2 hands. Some had a second hand to show the seconds click,click, clicking by. That was it. Time went in a circle and repeated itself every twelve hours. One didn't know if it was morning or evening, a.m or p.m. and a clock wouldn't tell you. We looked out the window for that.

Class schedules, bus schedules, train schedules....a.m. or p.m? Confusion reigned without those little letters: a.m. and p.m. The maritime 24 hour clock solved it for some. 9:00 meant 9:00 a.m. That was redundant. However 17:30 meant 5:30 p.m. and 20:00 was 8:00 p.m. What 20= 8? Kids had to think that one through and still do.

Then digital clocks and watches appeared on the scene. No more circles. The hours and minutes and possibly seconds were just numbers in a line.

I saw a big one hanging from the ceiling in the TIC office the other day. The seconds just keep going and going and going some more. Kind of distracting for a clock glancer, like me.

TIME is all around us. It's on our wrists. Can't get much closer than that. It's staring at us from the corner of our computers. It's in our cars. And that little clock is specially important when we're late! The other night I had to pick a friend up at the airport. Oops! Forgot my watch. It was quite a hike from the parking lot to the gate. People were milling around. Lots of obstacles. Met a friend for a short chat. No clocks on the walls. Found the arrivals board. The flight was delayed. Good. It would be 20 minutes late. Great. Find a chair. Read a bit. Get a drink. Just what time IS it? I didn't want to miss my friends coming out of baggage claim. You'd think there would be big clocks at airports like there used to be in train stations and bus stations. Well, there aren't. No. I had to ask someone. The times have changed.

Now we are moving into timelines. The seconds flash by and minutes and hours discretely drift by in front of your eyes. This new clock could take some getting used to. Look at the green line. You'll figure it out.



El Cerrito High School, 1967, 3rd year Spanish class. All eyes on the clock on Friday afternoons: No one paying attention. Subjunctives, translations, upcoming university entrance exams. "Prestad atención!" "Esto es importante" Meanwhile the students were thinking 'What time is it? ...When is the bell going to ring?... When are we getting out of here?' In desperation, the teacher covered the clock! Easy solution.

UC Berkeley, Campanile. Most visible clock around. Actually we heard the 61 bells, the carillon, before even looking at the tower. Everyday at 12:00 o'clock. No need to look at your watch. Time for lunch. Time for class to start or end or during the turbulent years, time for student demonstations. A 15 minute concert. Beautiful music.

Complutense, Madrid, 1970. No clocks. No bells either. Class after class. Siglo de Oro, Generación del '27, gramática para extranjeros... Friday afternoons....staring at the door. The door? Yes, soon, very soon, a little old uniformed man would appear saying "La Hora". And everyone would charge out of the room, class was over.

When does time go quickly or slowly for you?

P.S. Have you ever noticed that in ads for clocks and watches it is always 10:10 ?


growing up: creciendo, haciendo se mayor
clock: reloj
watch: reloj (en la muñeca)
wore: wear-wore-worn llevar puesto
schedules: horarios
reigned: reinar, dominar
maritime: hora marítima
hanging: colgado
ceiling: techo
just keep: siguen
glance: mirar sin gran interés, echar un vistazo
staring: to stare mirar fijamente
pick a friend up: recoger
a hike: una marcha, un paseo largo
gate: puerta de embarque, puerta del jardin
milling around: esperando, andando poco y sin distanciarse
arrivals board: panel de llegadas
fllight: vuelo
delayed: atrasado
baggage claim: recogida de equipaje
drift by: pasar lentamente
get used to: acostumbrarse a
figure it out: resolverlo
pay attention: prestar atención
upcoming: próximo
meanwhile: mientras tanto
get out of : salir de, escaparse de
bells: campanas, timbres
charge out of: salir corriendo
was over: teminado

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Comments (3)
Anónimo (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

The webpage is cool!!

Anónimo (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

Tony, you're a poet!

TONY - TIC (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

Tic tac, I hear the ticking of the clock. Tic tac, it shows the time without delays. Tic tac, no matter how my heart decays. Tic tac, not having time for more delays. Tic tac, in this short life in which I pray. Tic tac, for not becoming such a slave. Tic tac, I hear the ticking of the clock.

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