“Time is just common, it’s like water for a fish. Everybody’s in the water, nobody gets out of it, or if he does the same thing happens to him that happens to the fish, he dies.” (Part One, Chapter Two)
Giovanni’s take on what time is in his conversation with David is a reflection of David more than of other people. The novel is made up heavily of David’s own memories, the only other sections (for lack of a better word) seen so far are snippets of his own musings on them. David himself is very aware of the connection that lies between him and Giovanni, and of the futility of any attempt to sever it. This makes David the fish. Just like his relationship with Joey, his encounter with Giovanni will always be an important part of his identity, like water is to the fish, for an individual is made up of his past experiences and the people surrounding him.
While Giovanni’s take on time defines it as eternal and static, while David defines time (or well, Giovanni defines “American time” for him) as progress. He tells him they define time:
“as though with enough time and all that fearful energy and virtue you people have, everything will be settled, solved, put in its place. And when I say everything I mean all the serious, dreadful things, like pain and death and love, in which you Americans do not believe.” (Part One, Chapter Two)
This take on time, however, is not reflective of David (even if it is of his values).