Random Thoughts

Time

... I still struggle with the concept

by Ann Robbins Talbot

As I sit in my home in Massachusetts, it is already tomorrow in Sydney, Australia. This
continues to boggle my mind. As a retiree, I do not obsess over time as I once did. For
example, in school, lunch began at 11:03. Not 11 o’clock or 11:15, but 11:03. Everyone’s
watch was set to school time. Never mind what time it was at home or in Greenwich,
England. One was expected to begin lunch at 11:03 School Time.

The ending of one year and the beginning of the next always gets me to thinking about
Time. At midnight without any help from me, I am transported from today to tomorrow. To
make it more confusing, on December 31st, at that moment I am also transported from one
year into another – 2012 to 2013. Twelve years ago at that moment I was also transported
from one century into another. Most people only experience this once in a lifetime.

As the twentieth century moved into the twenty-first, I was glued to my television set.
I watched each major city celebrate the beginning of 2000 with fireworks and
festivities. But I was still in 1999 in broad daylight as this was happening every hour
somewhere in the world. When Massachusetts finally got to midnight, my friends in
California had to wait three more hours. But my mind was saying – this can’t be true.
 
At one point in history it was not necessary to know what the exact minute was. There
was
light and darkness, day and night. The Egyptians take credit for using the first
timepiece, the sun dial. This was workable during the day, but obviously not at night.
The water clock, a dripping water bucket, was not accurate because the flow of the water
was influenced by temperature. Switching the water to sand gave the hourglass which is
occasionally used today in games. After the clock face was invented, pendulums were in
common use followed by electricity. With the use of digital clocks, we often find
children who cannot use a clock face without help. And now people have gone beyond hours
and minutes to nanoseconds, a billionth of a second. I cannot foresee my needing that
measure of time.

But one of the most amazing things I find about time -- the whole world agrees on it.
Some specialty calendars are in use for religious purposes and some areas temporarily
change times for agricultural seasons, but generally everyone in the world agrees on the
time standards. I cannot think of anything other concept that is so universally
accepted.

So why does Time stress me out? An unanswerable question.


January 4, 2013


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