Wednesday, 17 October 2007

What Time Is It?

"The Smiler" and I, over lunch-time conversation yesterday, stumbled upon what we realised is a curious inconsistency with temporal nomenclature. That is, that in the English language, we give the days and months names, but the minutes, hours and weeks none at all. Minutes and hours, at least, have numbers allocated, but the weeks are just abstract clumps of septua-days with hardly any identity whatsoever (nobody ever says "Oh, it's week 34 now already!"). We feel this must change.

Hence, we have formulated a plan to replace the numbers with names. Once finished, time will be referred to on a name basis, rather than by a series of numbers. And let's face it, girls are terrible with numbers (that's why they're always late), so it can only make things easier for all.

Much thought has gone into this, of course, and as to what our naming systems will be. The old systems were something like Norse, Germanic and Roman gods for the days, and the months are Roman inspired, with Roman gods, emperors and numbers (all given a bit of a "remix") to make the names. All this is very nice, and very highbrow, but of course only highbrow because it's ancient culture and language. Way back then, I have no doubt, people were saying "You're calling it December? 'Month Ten?' What a boring name. And it's the twelfth month anyway!" or "Augustus? I think 'Clive' sounds nicer." Everything becomes cultured given a couple of thousand years, and so The Smiler and I have opted to go for a contemporary nomenclature that we have no doubt will mature and ripen with the years, until one day be referred to as Scotia-classical.

This is what we have come up with so far (please note, this is as yet unfinished):

Weeks, first of all. In order to give the poor weeks some identity, we've decided to refer to them in the context of a month. To consider them in an annual context would involve an unnecessary change of thinking that we don't feel is beneficial. But in a monthly context, the names are easy to remember, and very helpful indeed to framing the progress of a month. Thus, only five names are required, as there are only four weeks in a month, plus a few days left over. We have decided to name them after popular sauces.

The first week of every month will be called "Tabasco". As in, "It's January, Tabasco".
The second week of every month will be called "Soy". As in, "It's March, Soy".
The third week of every month will be called "Brown". As in, "It's July, Brown".
The fourth week of every month will be called "Mayo". As in, "It's September, Mayo".
And the remaining few days of each month will be called "Honey". As in, "Well, it's already December, Honey".

Trust me, you'll get used to it.

Next, we moved onto the hours of the day. As we know, there are 24 hours in every single day (except when the clocks move forward or back - what is all that about, really?) Right now, we just think of it as being 03:00 or 3am, or 20:00 or 8pm. Very cold and scientific - the product of sterile mathematics rather than joyous, artistic amour. But our naming system pumps the goddamn passion back into the hours. We have decided to name each hour after a 70s, 80s or 90s popular TV show, in most cases a globally recognised one. To inject a little order into it, as there are 24 hours in a day and 26 letters in the alphabet, it seems sensible that each hour has a TV show beginning with the corresponding position of the letter in the alphabet (i.e. A=1, B=2 etc). For Hour 24 (i.e. midnight, or 00:00) X is used, with Y and Z sadly being lopped off, unless time itself is reformed.

We haven't completed this list yet, but it's making good progress. A few tasters for you.

2am (02:00) will from, hereon in be known as "Baywatch". As in, "I'm knackered. What time is it?", "It's half past Baywatch - no wonder!"
11am (11:00) will be called "Knightrider". As in "I´m starving, is it lunch yet? Damn, it's only Half Knightrider."
1pm (13:00) will be called "Monkey". As in "Ok, lunch at Monkey!"
9pm (21:00) will be called "Tales of the Unexpected" though we expect this to be commonly shortened to "Unexpected". As in "That's Unexpected! Doesn't time fly?"

We've got plenty more, but I'll save them for later.

Finally, the minutes. 60 minutes in an hour, always referred to by mere number (except for quarter- and half-past and quarter-to, which of course we would never change). We might say, "It's 4.13pm" or "It's 11.19am". Not very exciting. But our new minute nomenclature injects some excitement into determining the time within the hour. For this we're going to use contemporary, living celebrity names, determined by the age of the celebrity on 1st January 2008. Thus, if a given celebrity is 45 on that date, they would replace the 45th minute. Here are some examples.

The 7th minute will be replaced by Phoenix Chi Brown (Mel B's daughter). So 1.07am would be "It's 1 - Phoenix Chi (Brown)", or even better, "It's A-Team Phoenix Chi".
The 53rd minute will be replaced by Oprah Winfrey. So 4.53am would be "It's 4 - Oprah (Winfrey)", or even better, "It's Dallas Oprah".
The 59th minute will, of course, be replaced by Noel Edmonds. So 5.59pm would be "It's 5 - Noel (Edmonds) pm", or even better, "It's Quincy Noel - almost time for dinner".

There we have it then, a full and complete naming system for time that we have no doubt will considerably reduce the confusion of compound mathematics. Try it! With some of the names I've already given, how would we say the following time: the first Monday of February, at 1.53pm.

...

...

...

...

...

...

Yes, correct. It would be February, Tabasco Monday, at Monkey Oprah. Now tell me that's not an improvement.

(I've been on this rig 19 days now, with not a spot of work or thing to do for the last 17, and without any for the foreseeable future)

4 comments:

Simon Varwell said...

Quite, quite wonderful.

Jenny said...

I'm afraid the third week of the month (Brown) won't get you very far over here in the US, as we do not have brown sauce, despite how tasty it is. What about substituting ketchup for brown?

Lalalian said...

Absolutely fantastic!

Numbers and I don't get on very well together, so this whole new system could be just the ticket! {:->

Sya said...

This is extraordinarily marvelous. However, while my normal brain would probably pick up your fabulous non-numerical system (and THANK YOU for thinking of all us girlies), my eight month pregnant brain can't cope with words of more than two syllables. I'll learn it in January and am sure my life will be much richer.