On Time, In a Bottle

I hate wearing a watch.

I have two, presently. One, the one I wear daily, is a Lord of the Rings watch; on its face is a map of Eregion, and the only number on the face is 9, written using Tengwar script. The other, a Fossil watch, was given to me several years ago; it has many dials, and it’s bulky and it’s heavy and I wear it on special occasions. I had a third watch, a Superman watch, until I lost it in an unfortunate accident on the Baltimore subway.

I take my watch off when I get to the office; I don’t like the feeling of the watch on my wrist. I put it on again when I leave for the day. I don’t need the watch on my wrist, anyway; I work at a computer all day, and if I need to know the time, Windows tells me in the toolbar.

I have multiple calendars at the office; there’s a page-a-day calendar, there’s a monthly calendar of Scotland that hangs from the barrier between my cubicle and my neighbor, and I have some other calendars that I sometimes refer to.

I’ve thought about getting a daily planner. I’m not sure why I need a daily planner. The mark of an urban professional, I suppose. :h2g2:

Clocks! At home I have an alarm clock. I also have an analog clock; it has Charlie Brown and the gang on its face, and on the hour it plays Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy.”

In short, I am surrounded by time.

Ironically, I feel as though I’m not. My sense of time is skewed.

I blame work. Actually, I blame two of my last three jobs. (Does the one in the middle even count? I suppose it does.) The first, at EB Games, I was always dealing with the future; games coming out tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Whatever was happening now, it wasn’t half as interesting as what was happening down the road — preparing for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for store inventories. Past, present, and future all sort of blended together into an amorphous blob.

My present job? Even though it’s completely different, it’s very much the same. The calendar says that this is now October, but I’m living in December, writing every day about things to come in February and beyond. My sense of the present is when things are due that I’m writing; the products that I write about, when they finally arrive in the now, they’re old news to me, because I’m already working several months beyond them. I live in the future; it’s an interesting place to be.

I have a hard time working without deadlines. I flail. Unfortunately, I also don’t conceptualize what I have to do in the time allotted as well as I should. I tell myself that I should live more in the now, rather than living in the future and letting the now happen. The thing is, I’ve always been somewhat future-oriented; I can envision where I want to be, working out the steps in-between, though, is what takes the work, and where I want to be isn’t always realistic.

I have dreams. They’re not necessarily good dreams. But they’re my dreams. 🙂

Our ancestors managed without time very well. They didn’t need to conceptualize time the way we do. The changing of the seasons, the life cycle, the change from day into night — these were things they took into stride.

What would I be without time? I imagine that I would be a mess.

As much as I live in the future (and, if you think about it, most writers do; what they’re writing for is always somewhere in the nebulousness beyond tomorrow), I can’t imagine living without the future. I have deadlines to deal with. I have product months out to think about. I have stories unwritten turning themselves over in the mind for the day that they’re ready. The future is what I live for.

I would be okay without the past. It’s remote, it sometimes even lacks in context, but it’s also a place I can visit by shutting my eyes and letting the sensations play. The past is amorphous and undifferentiated anyway; what difference would it make if the replay were of something a month ago or a decade ago?

The present? I’m indifferent to it.

To lose time completely. It would be a tragedy at first. But I imagine that without it, we would adapt. We’d learn to live more in the moment and to not take it for granted.

Maybe losing time wouldn’t be such a bad thing, after all.

All the people, living for today. 😉

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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