Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This Time It Will Be Different

As a child you are taught the importance of the accurate measurement of time. The big hand, the little hand, the fast moving, long, skinny hand that they seemed reluctant  to explain, all described in detail. Time was everything, and if you didn’t believe that try showing up late for 1st grade class. Time was a measurement to provide the gauge of just how awful you were.

Time, it was said, was a constant, unchanging motion, or fixture, or state of decay, despite being absolutely distinct from any method used to measure its passage. Sixty seconds would always be one minute, and 3,600 of them are always an hour. And they didn’t want to answer a lot of questions about it. And they hated the really difficult questions; “why is this taking so long?”  “When will this be over?” Those were the kind of things that got you sent to the Principal’s office, where time took forever.

But, you never really understood time until you got a job. Once you are trading it for money things start to make sense. Once that “commodification” takes place then the true value of time becomes apparent.  “Love to come to your pre-sentence hearing, mom, but I have to work.” Time is money, you know?

Once you sit there counting down the days until vacation, or the weekend, the minutes, or seconds
until lunch, or quitting time (which is kind of mislabeled, it isn’t when you quit, I won’t make that mistake again) then you understand the measurement of time. Newton’s first law be damned. The last five minutes of a day can be an eternity. The last day before vacation is a black hole. Slowing time to the a crawl. And if you are lucky enough to make it to the last five minutes on the last day before vacation you might want to bring some extra lunch.

Really, it is no wonder people have been fascinated with time since a long, long time ago. It is the thing that gets us through the day. Watching the clock, counting down the seconds, cursing the dragging, crawling seconds, because you just know the minute hand never changes. Never!

And you wonder “what bastard invented the digital clock, anyway?” At least with an analog clock you see the destination. Five o clock, target acquired, assume attack formation. With a digital clock it is only the present, only just now, and as soon as it is gone there it is again. Damnit!

Really, they should teach you more about time in elementary school. When you are forced to pick it up on the streets the whole thing gets a little weird. But, it is time for me to go to work. See you next time. Have a good time, and last but certainly not least, the always appropriate Bob Dylan “And you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, cause the times, they are a changing’”