How long is a moment?

Many don’t know this but a moment actually has a fixed length. In Medieval Europe, the hour was forty “momentums” long. (Momenta? Momenti?) If you do some calculations you will find that each moment lasts ninety seconds. The meaning still holds today. So if someone says “just a moment,” there is something you can hold them to.

In my line of work, people get picky about language. It’s frowned upon (quality assurance would say forbidden) to say “just a moment” when you need a customer to wait for you to do something. The reason given is that a moment is too vague and you should say “one to two minutes” or however long your task will actually take. The idea is to be precise and hold to your promises.

So I enjoy giving my team lead crap when they bring it up. “What do you mean, I can’t say ‘just a moment?’ Hey, that’s exact! A moment is ninety seconds!”

Little by little, my momentum builds.

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