Monday, April 7, 2014

Tempus Fugit

I have to apologize for missing yesterday's blog entry, but the weather was absolutely beautiful- about 60 degrees , no wind, lots of sun and no humidity. I haven't seen a day like that in 2 years it seems like. So I went outside and did lots of stuff, and then last night I celebrated  my son's 21st birthday. I took a day off; so sue me.

But I already had a blog planned out. I just didn't write it. It went something like this:

I have a tall case clock in my living room. I have to wind it by resetting  the weights, and usually I need to reset the time. I have been trying to get it regulated by adjusting the pendulum. About the time I seem to get it regulated the weather changes and I have to start all over again. That's the nature of a mechanical beast; temperature and humidity cause things to swell or shrink, and even if a gear only swells a small fraction of an inch, when you have a hundred gears the amount of change adds up; it is a cumulative effect.

This clock also chimes the quarter hour- 4 chimes; the half hour- 8 chimes; the three-quarter hour- 12 chimes, and on the hour 16 chimes plus it bongs out the hour. I'm not bragging about my clock; I'm explaining how we used to tell time. Back in the day a house would have one clock in it, and you would know the time without looking, as long as you remembered the last chime. Everyday the town clock would strike at noon (at least), and you would reset your clock to match the town clock, so everybody in the village would be on the same time.

Time was a flexible thing; Church on Sunday was just about the only thing you had a specific time for. otherwise, a few minutes one way or the other was not just common, it was almost expected. Time keeping was not an exact science.

Now think about today. What room doesn't have at least one clock? A clock that is accurate to within a minute a decade? How many rooms have three or more? How clocks do you carry with you? One on your wrist, and one on each phone. And then one on your computer. It is impossible to escape time. The modern world doesn't have the same flexibility on time older ones did. There is no being 5 minutes late for a meeting, or for work. Or Heaven forbid, lunch.

We are not just creatures of time, but slaves to it. We have marks to hit many times a day, and those marks are solid. Not all are work related; TV Shows, movies at the theater; basketball games and tee times are all hard points we need to hit or miss an opportunity. Our day is broken in to 30 minute, 60 minute or 120 minute blocks; each segment ending just as fast as the next one begins. Some segments are marked by alarms- like the end of the night, others by internal markers; knowing that if we aren't in the shower by 7:00 we will not make work by 8:00.

And we also know that there is nothing we can do about it. Even vacations are ruled by the clock, to a certain extent. Flights; checkout times; dinner reservations.

When was the last time you were able to spend two days without a clock?

Probably like me; the summer between 5th and 6th grades.

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