I’m not fond of Time, for a number of reasons, the primary being that, like money, there isn’t ever quite enough of it. I’m not fond of money, either. (Actually, I rather enjoy money a lot — I just resent it for not being in my pocket.)
Time pops up in the oddest places, and at the oddest…um, times. My birthday is this month, which is always an unhappy reminder that I’m a year further from my youth, and a year closer to my death. It also gives me a chance to reflect on what exactly I’ve done with the past year of my life. Usually, it turns out, not a lot.
I’m reminded of Time when I drive, or when I cook. I’ve come to the conclusion that microwave and car clocks cannot run to time. It’s clearly a fundamental law of the universe. It doesn’t matter how often I set and reset them; within a few weeks, they will both be out by minutes. In every car. On every microwave. A part of me suspects relativity; we all know that as one approaches the speed of light, the faster time passes in the universe around us. So when I’m driving eighty miles an hour (a significant fraction of the speed of light), the world around me has lived a few extra seconds. Compounded over several weeks, it could explain why my car’s clock is always wrong. What about the microwave, you ask? The answer should be obvious: cosmic rays.
There are endless reams of literature on the nature of Time; whether it is finite or infinite, whether it’s continuous or discrete; whether there’s some fundamental, universal unit of time, and why the atomic clock in Berlin isn’t, actually, quite right. I’m going to leave most of that to Stephen Hawking. I would be interested, however, to know whether he’s figured out a way to pack more hours into a day.
This is, probably, my biggest gripe with Time. Why, oh why, are there only twenty-four hours in a day? Especially since I really want to spend most of them sleeping? Couldn’t there be thirty, or forty, hours in a day? And no, don’t bother pointing out that if you made the hour shorter, you’d get more of them in; the universe just doesn’t work that way. Ask Stephen Hawking.
If there could be thirty hours in a day, I could spend ten of them sleeping, eight of them working, and a glorious twelve hours to sit around all day and do absolutely nothing. And dishes. But no, oh no. I get to spend five or six of those hours sleeping, ten of them working, and the rest…
Well, now it comes down to the heart of the matter. There ought to be eight hours left there. So where did they go? It certainly doesn’t feel like they were used for anything terribly productive. Does it take eight hours to eat breakfast and brush your teeth? I suppose dinner has to sneak in there. Bit of bed time reading, maybe some blogging…my point is, nothing that ought to take up eight hours. Eight long, lonesome, missing hours. I feel like I’ve abandoned them.
But while the absence of time will probably remain a mystery to me, I do have the past year to look back on, and reflect that, maybe those eight hours did in fact creep their sneaky way into my life, because it suddenly feels like I’ve got an awful lot done. I started a blog, which has now been going for slightly over a year. Over 6,000 people have stopped by to say hello. I’ve made some good friends in the process.
I wrote a book; 160,000 words including the background material. That’s 400 words a day (I’m not sure I’m glad I just worked that out). I wrote part of another book. It’s only got about 20,000 words so far. Wait…that’s kind of a lot, too.
I’ve begun the process of getting my book published.
I wrote 221 posts.
I got blown about in a hurricane.
And I did some other, less important stuff, like spend Time with my family.
Perhaps I’ll never know exactly where Time went. But if it keeps coming back now and then, I suppose I can’t complain.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I do apologize, but I’m not able to refund it at the moment. All complaints should be addressed to Stephen Hawking.