By Conrad P. Kottak, PhD

Like space, time is understood and interpreted differently in various parts of the world. For us, it is the primary way in which our daily life is organized. Most American's wake up to the buzzing of a precisely set alarm. Following our regular morning rituals, we leave home in the hopes of being on time. The day is punctuated by a series of time periods: breakfast time, break time, lunch time, quitting time, and dinner time. Time in money; we often spend time and save time. In many ways time defines our interpretation of behavior. For example, guests who arrive early for a dinner party are inconsiderate (you're still setting up the table, or worse, getting dressed), guests who arrive on time are appreciated, as are, to a lesser degree, those who arrive appropriately (however that is defined) late. Guests who arrive too late are considered rude. Some people are consistently rude and therefore don't get invited to a lot of dinner parties.

Most of us agree that time is real, digitally measurable dimension, and of course it is. However, not all cultures consider time as crucially important as we do; in fact, concern with time permeates American culture.