domingo, 9 de diciembre de 2007

A delayed country

Venezuelans are never on time. If you ever come here, never –ever- believe on the time settled in formal cards for meetings or parties. The custom dictates to tell all your friends to show up at your house for your birthday at 8 so they can finally be there between 9 and 9:30 Pm. And you are so sure that no one will show up at the time you said, that you are probably not even dressed at 8.
After all, being the first who arrives to a party is not well seen. The poor person who decides to actually show up at time it’s the one who “fríe los tequeños” (“fry the tequeños”), tequeños are like Venezuelan cheese sticks or something like that -anyway the slang means that this person arrives when the host is still cooking and getting things ready for the party). If by some reason, a foreigner is also invited to that party, your polite manners force you to tell him “8:00 Pm, Venezuelan time”. If the guy is smart enough, or has been in Venezuela for two hours; he knows that “Venezuelan time” means “always be late, at least half of hour late”.
Venezuelans are never on time and the government has taken this ancient custom seriously. So seriously, that it has decided to make it formal and official by changing today our legal time. From now on, everything will be one half of hour after than what it should be.
Now the government hasn’t done this because they are worried about a few foreigners frying tequeños in our parties. No… we are talking about serious business here and so the arguments for doing this should be. The revolutionary reason for making this time zone change, is that with it, the children won’t have to wake up at dawn to go to school and therefore, they will enjoy more sunshine during their first class of the day, which apparently is good for their health (I’m being serious, no sarcasm here). Everybody wonders why they just didn’t pass a decree forcing the schools to start classes half of hour later instead of making the whole country delay half of hour. Well, those are the revolutionary ways to rule a country: making it go back not only on time.
The second question that pops my mind referring to this issue is that in my humble opinion, my country has primary needs to be solved before thinking about changing the time, making Revolutionary projects or complaining about the imperialism.
When you look at the shanty towns and see the conditions on which the people there lives, when you walk to your work and at least five people ask you for money in that track, when you see huge lines of citizens praying for a liter of milk and you read the reports about the hospital conditions; not to mention the extra-official numbers of deaths because of violence during the weekends… and yet you notice that the government’ main concern isn’t any of that but to give more sunlight to the kids who have the chance to go to school (no matter in what conditions those schools are); you know that there’s nothing Revolutionary about a Revolution where its leader is playing Legos with the country instead of ruling it.
With that being said, the readers are probably wondering what are this blogger’ plans to get used to this time zone change. The answer is that, in front of this stupid decree, I will act as stupid as the decree demands. Let me explain: I’m not going to set on my clock on time, as one of those rebel tiny (more often than not, simply stupid) acts that I perform in order to show my disagreement with the Revolution every time I can.
“-So you will be always half of hour early from now on”- A friend told me last night as we were talking and laughing about the most recent Revolutionary madness – “No” – I smiled – “After all, I’m Venezuelan: I’ll be exactly on time”
About the picture: In an improvised "Mercal" (government' mission to give cheap food to the poor people basically) in Caracas, the people patiently wait in line to get one bag of milk or one bottle of cooking oil which its also hard to find. These days Venezuelans are always waiting, wasting their time on things that should take for granted. That’s why I choose this pic for starting this entry: because the time zone change beyond all the harsh analysis you might read on that, its simply a waste of time...

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