"What year are we in?" the thing asked. 2008, but it wouldn't get this information from me. Not like this, so easily. That's why it will go away in 2 minutes, happy.
I asked it what time it was — a question, I said, much more pertinent. It answered. It doesn't matter if it was right, damn it if it were really 9:07 a.m. in that place (which still is this). I just wanted to know about the 2 minutes.
"Let me open this door," I said. "It will only take 1 minute. But before that I had to find the key and this took the best part (I liked this expression) of 30 seconds. I breathed deeply to spend the worst part, then.
The best about old, stubborn doors, still somewhat proud for being old and strong, is that even being their current owner, you take 1 minute to open them, if you want to. And nobody complains. How long does one take to get the wallet from the left pocket of loose pants and extract a $10 bill from it? (I can't say the name of this money, this would spoil everything.) Answer: the best part of 30 seconds, if you lose some time rubbing your thumb against the bills to separate them, while you roughly estimate how much you have and decide how much to withdraw.
Then came the worst part.
"What time is it?" I asked again. "1 minute more than the last time you asked," it told me. "Are you sure?" I insisted. The thing that had a watch stared at it. "Right, 2 minutes more."
I said "thank you". And "you need to go. Take this to buy some ice cream (*) for you".
(*) That's a classic.
"I prefer meat."
"Whatever," I concluded, opening the door wide. "Go."