Monday 10 January 2011

It's time

It always fascinates me how people judge time so differently.

There's a man who lives in one of the buildings just round the corner from us. He is sometimes there as I go past on a run; or as I scurry along to the shop; as we walk to the pub; or on the way back from yoga. He sits on the bench on the pavement outside his building and simply sits and looks around.

I don't think he's clinically crazy or murderously deranged and these are the only times his fierce mother lets him out of the house (he must be in his fifties): quite the opposite. I think he's perfectly sane and wondrously in charge of his world.

Sometimes he's having a cigarette. Can you imagine the thought that must accompany this? I think I'll have a cigarette or Time for another cigarette I think, before I go in. I am not in favor of smoking, but what a way to charge your time. Instead, here are some thoughts which occurred to me today:

If I get my wallet out now I won't be more than the 3.6 seconds required to go through the tube station.

I'll get home from the committee meeting and start on those emails instead of tomorrow. It will mean leaving Martín to cook by himself, but we can have a conversation another day.

The sun has come out, but I'll eat at my desk because that way I might not miss something that pops up. I'm not here on Wednesday so I can't waste my time.


Time is a fragile, extinct bird that only flies out at you in moments of exhilaration or despair (You want it to never end! You think it will never end!) Seconds are bricks you build around yourself each day. As the wall gets higher, your job is only to knock it down and start again. The process starts slowly, building up its intensity to that final, manic, time-induced panic which is getting the train/meeting the deadline/firing back a reply before they thought you were dead. For something that is extinct, it sure doesn't want to be forgotten. Time is as needy and greedy as the worst of boyfriends and bosses, flying you to places you don't want to go, never waiting. Time is brilliant at moving, though, ironically, never waiting.

Unless you're the man round the corner. He's not even afraid of the cold. Winter time? He doesn't get it. He just like to sit on that bench and watch the world go by, being dragged in all kinds of directions. I bet he loves mulling over where people might be going, what they might be doing. Or perhaps not. The fact they have passed is important, not where to or why. His time is truly his time, charged by himself.

So, it's time to take charge of my time. Walk at the pace I want to walk. Or just go out and walk if I want to. Hold a blink to help me think. It's my time, after all. There's a long way to go in 2011.

And enough time take it.

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