Perceptions of Time
Island time is well known and well appreciated in the Virgin Islands. Very few things here start on time. Meetings start anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes late. Many offices and shops open later than their posted hours. Nighttime concerts or pageants are notorious, sometimes starting hours late.
If someone says they are coming “now” that means they are coming soon. If someone says they are coming “soon,” look for them in a few minutes (or even hours). If someone says, “I’m coming to you,” it means hold on, and I will take care of you in a few minutes. Impatience is an undesirable trait associated with Americans and Europeans.
Service in restaurants and shops runs on island time too. Unless you want to be perpetually annoyed during your vacation, just go with the flow. Maybe you will even start to appreciate the fact that just as no one else hurries, neither should you. Even if you can’t adopt the island time mentality, don’t try to fight it. Getting frustrated or angry does absolutely no good. If you are really in a hurry, politely inform the waitstaff right away and they will surely do what they can to speed things up.
There are some exceptions to the island time rule. Ferries and airplanes run generally on time. There are also individuals who are perpetually on time. If you have made arrangements with someone, try to find out if he or she is an on-time person or an island-time person.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition