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afternoon

Afternoon is, well, after noon. How much simpler can it get than that?

OK. I admit, it’s not quite simple. To my mind, but not to every dictionary’s mind (see below) It’s obvious when afternoon starts—the instant an accurate clock ticks past the noon mark—but when does it end? When does afternoon slip into evening? And is evening indeed the time period afternoon?

Is dusk the dividing mark? If so, what precisely marks dusk? And is dusk a line or a space of time? The question being, is there a period—dusk—between afternoon and evening or is dusk merely a one-dimensional line in time and, therefore a border, but not a period of any length?

One of my dictionaries says afternoon is the time between noon and sunset, but at what instant can the sun be said to have set? The instant it first edges below the horizon? The instant it’s apex is below the horizon? The halfway point? Some other point?

The other dictionary I looked at defines afternoon as the time from either noon or lunch to evening. That’s even less precise and more confusing, isn’t it?

What if you eat a late lunch one day or every day? Does that mean that afternoon is shorter for you, and likely shorter for you than for other people, that day or everyday? What would Einstein say about the bending of time in that way?

And what if you skip lunch one day or every day? Does afternoon fail to occur in your little corner of the universe that day or every day?

Most important, who the hell cares? Certainly not me.

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