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Understanding, and embracing Res Time

As an average white guy, I will never really understand Res Time. Res Time, by the way, is the usually sarcastic term that describes how many people deal with the concept of time on an Indian Reservation. And I've dealt with it, both as a teacher, and as a man who is trying to gain a larger understanding of the world and how people see it.

The first time that I learned about Res Time was back when I was teaching at the Art Institute of Phoenix. If you haven't noticed, there are a LOT of talented artists who are Native American Indians, and mostly because of the money that the Casinos have been making in the last couple of decades, there are often scholarships given to these people. And while the creativity, creating the artwork, and using the computers came easily to all of my students, including those who had grown up on Indian Reservations, the concept of time was not only bizarre to many Native Americans, it was frustrating. Sadly, many of these talented people were unable to keep up with their studies, not for lack of talent, but for lack of understanding "Non-Res Time". So I made a point to keep my eyes on people who were having trouble with being on time, making deadlines, etc. And believe me, it wasn't just the Native American students! We encouraged students to write stuff down, wear watches (this was before cell phones were popular), that sort of thing. In the world of commercial art, being on Res Time was a bad thing - it risked missing classes, missing deadlines, which could cost someone their career.

The next time that I encountered Res Time was a more personal situation. And while I'll never be able to really understand it, it's an amazing thing. I wish I could describe it to you, but I really can't, not in this language. I could recommend that you take off your watch, or stop looking at your cell phone. I could recommend that you not drive past a bank, either, but that wouldn't stop you (if you're like me) from worrying about time. So, here is a compromise - carve out some time, and stop thinking about it. Go visit an Indian Reservation - hey, there's one right next to Scottsdale, you don't have to go far. Stop at a convenience store and look to see if some baskets or pottery is for sale. But mostly just go there. Get out of your car, look at the desert, look at the mountains. I can't guarantee you'll find Res Time, but you'll come close to it.

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