Everyone in New Zealand has heard the term “island time”.
A term that is often used as an excuse for things that don’t run to schedule, lack of punctuality, and general slow-pacedness.
Every island nation seems to have their own island time. Samoan time, Fijian time, Tongan time… but we have never experienced an island time like Solomon time.
The day before I was to start work, I went in for a meet and greet with the new boss. He tells me, “The ofis opens at 8:00 am, but people usually come in around 8:30 am to 9:00 am”. Okay so that’s three different times, which is it?
As we left the office, Bossman calls out, “Okay see you tomorrow at 9:30 am”.
The next day I have decided to arrive at the ofis at 8:30 am to make a good impression while still adhering to island time. I find myself knocking on the office door at 8:30 am like an idiot to find no sign of life on the other side. Coming back at 9:00 am, three people have arrived. For the rest of the morning, I observe the rest of our 25 staff members arriving at the office in 15-minute intervals, with the last person coming in at around 11:30 am.
Last week we went on an office trip with an ETD of 7:30 am. I’ve grown a little wiser since when I first arrived and hit my co-workers up for a straight up answer, “Are we really meeting at 7:30 am or should I get here at 8:30 am?”. I was assured by more than half the team that 7:30 am meant 7:30 am, especially since the Prime Minister would be at the venue.
Again my naivete got the better of me when I showed up at 7:30 am to find the only person there was a security guard that couldn’t even let me into the office. We ended up leaving at 9:00 am.
Perhaps the best example of the Interstellaresque warped concept of time here is a recent stori with my coworkers.
Discussing the last Festival of Pacific Arts, he says “It’s a shame you just missed it! It was very nice.”
In truth, we had delayed our start date by a month and hadn’t known we were missing such a momentous event. Tutting in disappointment I asked, “When was it?”.
He replied, “2012.”
A real shame I only just missed it.