Monday, April 08, 2013


I feel like the clock has already started to run out on me. Tick-tock. Tickety-tock. The notes hit in the same places predictably after one-sixtieth of a minute passes. Oh time, you insatiable drummer-- you beat onward more reliably than a million human hearts.

I am constantly chasing time. I sprint after it until I can't anymore, and then I speed-walk, and then I just pace and stretch, thinking maybe I'll get more tomorrow. Or maybe there's more that I forgot about, hidden somewhere-- between my classes? if I get off work early? I chase moments of leisure and I chase moments of work. I feel the moment I wake up as if I have already dropped five handfuls of sand on the ground. I have fantasies of what I could have done with all that time, while I rush off to whatever appointment I am afraid of being late for. I could've gone on a jog, I could have read that book, I could have written a song - I could have created something more of myself than I have created.

Time time time, biological time, physiological time, clock-time, love-time, dog-years, rhythm, tempo, deadlines, heartbeats, CPT, the environmental degradation of the Earth. Early or late or right on-time.

But then-- I see the face of a friend... or hear a tinkling melody... or open a fiction... that so stunningly mirrors reality that I am jolted away from my chase. And I jolt back to it again - aware that I have allowed myself to deviate from my plan- but I'm yet a little thrilled that I haven't lost the ability to lose myself. To forget time.

It's exhilarating to forget time. It's like going into a dream. But you always wake up. You can never really be free. We live in a time-sensitive culture. Time is money - efficiency is everything and I blame capitalism for half-ruining my time on Earth. But I digress. (I can refer you to this book and this video if you're interested.)

I'm aware that I have this sort-of time complex because I have not resolved my relationship with time. Maybe the problem is cultural. My Indian family is always running late, always slowing down to grab food for the road, and always in a rush. Maybe the problem is structural - I just don't have enough time for what I want to do, or maybe I just don't really want to do half the things I have set out for myself to do. Or maybe I just never learned any damn discipline. I'm charming - I can ask for more time; I work well with the pressure of a deadline; I have built-up a reservoir of get-out-of-jail-free cards. Maybe I'll waste away my life doing just whatever I feel like doing at a given time.  Maybe I'm fine -- maybe I'm just living my way to an answer right now.

I think the reason I love music is the way that it dances in motion with time. There is so much real that is accomplished in such a short burst of time. When I'm singing, I am aware of the time; I have subdivided it, and welcome each new beat with open-mouthed delight. I'm trapped within the time, I'm lost in the sound, and I am it. And just like that, it's over. It never lasts long enough for me to regret starting it.

I don't believe I'll really be happy unless I am moving in-step with time, not bounding ahead of it and not running after it trying to pick up its dust. I need to hum along with the clock, add notes between its tocks, and dance within its confines. I have some serious Stockholm Syndrome.

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