I was in the seventh grade when my parents gave me a Mickey Mouse wrist-watch. Soon there after I lost it on a field trip...funny after all these years I still have a memory of it on my wrist, I can still see the gloved hands of Mickey pointing to the hour.
After that I never wore or owned a watch again. Deciding to keep a sense of time in my head, and if there was a doubt I would ask someone for the time. Not a problem, since most people wear a watch.
When I arrived in France, my way of telling time was going to be another tool of challenging me to converse in French! I asked Yann, my portable teacher and dictionary, how to say, "What time is it?" His first reaction was to tell me that asking the time wasn't the problem, it would be understanding what they said! Gee, as if I didn't know that was coming? "Corey, the hours are not said the same way as they are in English." Really?! Let me guess they're said in French? "We count the hours by saying 1 hour 2 hour 3 hour up to 12 hour/noon...then we say...13 hour, 14 hour, 15 hour, until we arrive at 24 hour/midnight."
Not only was the French language a hurdle, but also it had the navy way of telling time. Just add a double twist of lemon to my daily drink of culture! Being someone who doesn't think in straight lines, or learns from instructions, sign language became my new best friend. Let me tell you, you can speak French with a few basic facial expressions and sounds!
1.) Tap a person on the shoulder who has watch. 2.) With index finger tap your wrist. 3.) When the person goes to look at their wrist, look at their wrist too! 4.) Smile and say, "Mare See!" (Merci = Thank you.)
Photo: Yann's grandmother's wristwatch on the lap of a vintage postcard. I bet you could think of a catchier title for this photo!