Irrelevant (or more relevant) time

June 1, 2009

I’m sitting by the river. I don’t know what time it is. Maybe it’s 6pm or 7pm? I decided the other night around midnight that time is irrelevant here and yet I’m more concerned with what time it is. In the dead of winter it’s pitch dark by 2 or 3pm. It gets light at 9 or 10am. Now, it’s never dark at night. The sun sets but twilight continues from 11pm to 1am. It’s fully light at 2:30am. In this place either time is meaningless or time means something different (than what I know it to be). A place out of time where time is out of place? Yet the Swedes keep to their rigid schedules. People work from 7 or 8am to 5pm with fika at 10am and 3pm with few exceptions. At the university everyone crowds into Café Lindehallen at noon. There aren’t enough tables to accommodate them all but they eat at noon anyway. Dinner is scheduled for 6 or 7pm. The streets of the city of Umeå are deserted by 9pm… except on Friday and Saturday when the the entire city goes mad and drinks itself into a stupor. Maybe it’s a response to the extreme dichotomy between summer light and winter dark. In a place where one is either adding or subtracting six minutes of light perhaps its people need some sort of strict routine?

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