1.27.2011

It's About Time

it's about time

Did you catch Monday's Fresh Air? Terry Gross interviewed Professor Brian Greene. He's the leading expert in string theory and recently published a book on parallel universes. She asked him what he hoped to learn in his lifetime. His answer:

"What really is time? What is the nature of time? I mean, we all think about time. We all live within time, but we are still struggling to figure out what time actually is."

Professor Greene, I certainly hope you find the time to answer that question. I'd love to know what time really is. Although I don't wear a watch, I don't have an alarm clock, and I generally avoid looking at the clock throughout the day, my life revolves around time.

Is it time to wake up? Has it been four minutes since I heard George pour boiling water into the French press?

Avery! It's time to let the chickens out.

Isn't it about time Aidan woke up?

What time does the library open?

Is it time for lunch?

Mom, can I use my computer time?

How much time will it take me to make dinner and when should I start?

What time will George get home from work?

Kids! Go brush your teeth - it's time for bed!

Time. Time. Time. Time. I even sing about it. When going out to get thyme from the garden, I can't help but sing, "Time won't give me time....". Every time I open the refrigerator and see bottles of condiments, I sing, "If I could save time in a bottle. . .", which of course leads to the next line, "But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them".

Time is on my side, though. I seem to have plenty of time to do the things I want to do, (though not always enough time to do the things I'm supposed to do). I don't have to punch a time card, and, with the exception of my children, nobody really keeps track of how I spend my time. I'm fortunate to be married to someone who, like me, values time over money. When I talked to George last night about whether or not I should make more heart garlands for my Etsy store, he asked, "Is it worth your time?" I'm still thinking about my answer.

I'm uncomfortable with the speed at which time travels online. Information is instant, and when making inquiries or conducting transactions online, we all seem to expect immediate replies. The scene at the end of Social Network when Jesse Eisenberg repeatedly refreshes his Facebook page, waiting for his friend request to be reciprocated, loops in my mind. (For a funny technology loop scenario, check out this video.) How many times have I clicked the refresh button . . . just today? Isn't doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results the very definition of insanity?

I much prefer the pace of snail mail. I can wait days and days for replies. I only need to check the mailbox one time a day. That is my speed. I'm a slow record, belting out the same old songs over and over again, time after time.

Thanks for your time. Peace out.

P.S. Intense Debate didn't work out so well after all. After all but two of your comments got lost in cyberspace (or maybe in one of Prof. Greene's parallel universes), I uninstalled it. So we're back to Blogger comments, old school style.

23 comments:

  1. I'd love to live a day when time didn't matter. It doesn't matter to me, but sometimes (well, most of the time, really), I run by everyone else's schedule.

    One of these days I'm going to ditch the watch and just live. I wonder if I'll enjoy that day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i don't have an alarm clock, just a three year old. i don't wear a watch, just a wall clock i rarely glance at. i judge my time by the routines we seem to follow daily.

    But I must admit. I am an instant gratification emailer. I can barely stand to let a message sit in my inbox more than a day. it drives me mad. :)

    I have yet to watch the social network...it's been sitting on the counter for a week waiting for me. thanks for the reminder. I think tonights time will be spent watching that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOVE a handwritten letter or card. letter writing is a dying art i'm afraid. i mentioned it in my post today.

    i just have always felt like slow and steady wins the race.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just love this post. As an old lady I am going to ponder and ponder it. As a rotary dial person, I am going to dial those numbers, slowly and carefully, one pointer finger at a time. And guess what? I'll dial up my phone number when I was just wee. It was only five numbers long.
    Now ask me what my phone number was in 1979. Phew, can't remember.
    And yes, I listened to that interview and was just blown away. How can anyone get their mind around string theory? It was truly wonderful, but I am one of those little yellow bus people who cannot grasp anything if she can't see it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Time is on my mind too because it is racing by. Weeks. Months. Years. Where did the time go? Did I use it wisely? Did I appreciate it? I'm trying. Oh how I'm trying to use this precious resource wisely. I guess only time will tell.

    ReplyDelete
  6. After I retired, working friends kept asking "What do you do all day?" - assuming I would be bored and aimless. I always said (still say) "The days fill themselves. I do one thing at a time." Time is a lovely thing now that it isn't driven continuously by Must Do!

    Having few daily responsibilities, other than the cats and dogs, helps, of course. And apart from their stomach clocks, cats and dogs don't bother with the time either, so we suit each other very well!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Um.... when I heard Terry Gross say "string theory" my mind immediately went elsewhere..... I only heard "blah, blah, blah"!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. if only I could discipline myself to check email only once a day. hmmmm, that is a thought!! I may just try this next week.

    again, you always get me thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I still write letters via snail mail with my oldest friend and love finding a missive from her in my mailbox.

    I was just telling my husband the other day that sometimes I envy his freedom - his ability to stop everything and go to lunch with a friend, to ease into his morning...I rather feel like my day is scheduled. Not by the clock, but the steady waves of routine which seem to guide us from one activity or part of the day to the next and I know it needs to be this way so we can get in the important stuff like cooking, laundry, homeschool but sometimes it's fun to just ignore the routine and see where the day leads. We tried that one day this week and played outside most of the day. So maybe it's all about throwing a bit of spontaneity into the mix?!?

    Sorry to ramble so long in your comments!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm OBSESSED with time. At night when I wake I immediately look at the clock - How much time left to sleep? I calculate how much "time" I have left if I live til 80, til 90, til 70. Morbid, perhaps, but like I said, I'm obsessed with time, mainly how much is left in any situation. 5 minutes til we leave - 10 minutes left til dinner, 30 til Bryce comes home. You get it, right? I wonder if it would feel freeing to have no concept of time.

    As for the speed of the internet, couldn't agree with you more. I get overwhelmed with email especially ones requiring thought. Email allows us to be "connected" with some many people. Not only do we have to manage the emails, we have to manage the relationships. No wonder we're distracted. When my mom was my age her circle was much smaller, presumably more manageable. She wasn't answering emails from her friend in 6th grade or her random friend from high school. Perhaps she had more energy for her "real" relationships? Sorry to ramble, just 2 topics I spend a lot of TIME thinking about :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely writing. I often feel time is not on my side-- there is never enough of it in a day -- which is not a good way to look at things. I do feel like it is a precious quantity- much more so than money.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved that when I asked you what time it was on Wednesday the only person who had a clock was Avery. So cute.

    Now about that time spent on the computer...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, I just happened upon your blog from design sponge (looking for the heart garlands).

    I just wanted to say, I think humans understand time about like Flat Stanley understands 3D. We're stuck in it, therefore we can't see beyond it - only in glimpses...and yes, time on the internet seems to be flowing at a different speed than "real life" for me as well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post. I don't always have the time to do everything I want to do but I do many to find the time each day to do a little of what I want to do. Like you though, I am rarely able to find the time to do all I am supposed to do. Oh well. i think I can live with that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi there! I'm a friend of Maya's here in Davis and my husband works for UPS with yours! We just realized this morning! Love your blog and hope to meet you soon. Poppy

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nothing profound to say about time. I am one of those without enough of it I guess.
    What I did want to say is that whenever Beatrix, my two year old, leaves with Jonny she yells to me "peace out!"
    it's very cute in her two year old voice.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Profound! I love days when time doesn't matter--a saturday in the summer just to sit and enjoy the outside, a sunday in the winter spent knitting and simmering soup.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love this post. There are days when I'm like an obsessed spider monkey, chittering and banging the refresh button like it's going to give me a pellet or something, and days when I have no idea where the time went because it's all seemed so relaxed and timeless.

    It's strange how our *perception* of time seems to affect time itself. Like when we're creating and time ceases to be.

    (Also, had the same problem with InstantDebate -- no notifies, comments disappearing. I'm thinking an update's needed somewhere in the plugin. Meh. No *time* to deal with it. :>)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have probably said this before, but your George reminds me of my Alex. He is constantly asking if making certain things would be worth my time. I'd say we are pretty lucky to have them on our side, valuing our time, always confident in the way we choose to spend it, without judgement.

    I had ID installed on my blog for the duration of one post, then ditched it, for the saem reason.

    ReplyDelete
  20. How about time by regions? New York City time (In a New York minute . . . ) is very different compared to L.A. time (where there really doesn't seem to be time because it's all in the moment.)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh how I love snail mail as well. One thing that I think about in regards to time...I don't think I use it wisely. Actually, I know I don't use it wisely. It makes me feel very guilty to waste time. Recently I have let go of the guilt. I don't know if that's a good thing. See...here we go...we really do concern ourselves a lot with time! hee hee!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I had to chuckle with the "refresh" description. I have always been a snail mail kind of girl...until I got my iphone. now I find myself checking that silly thing called email more than I should. note to self: find a new use for that time.

    ReplyDelete

Archive

email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
Share |