SLAVES TO TIME!
“Time, time, are you really so unkind?
Why are you inclined to lag so far behind?’’’
I was listening to the lyrics of an old song and it set me thinking. Human beings are obsessed with time. Who hasn’t said, ‘I didn’t have time,’ ‘tempus fugit’, and ‘time waits for no man’ or even confesses to having ‘time on their hands’. But do we actually understand the concept?
Most people just couldn’t exist without referring to time. We are asked to attend a meeting, or go to see the Dentist, or if we are lucky, receive an invitation to lunch or dinner at a set time and we, of course, slavishly try to be there. The passage of time is an enigma: to a busy person time flies: to a lonely person, it drags.
“You may go slow, when we meet, my love and I,
But ‘til then, I want the time, I want the time to fly.
How do you cope when the telephone and the doorbell ring at the same time, the kids are screaming for their tea and the vegetables are boiling over? Do you shrug your shoulders and say ‘C’est la vie – let them wait’, or do you go completely to pieces and cry ‘Help’ loudly?
Time can’t mean much to young babies and toddlers, providing their meals are produced on time, but I wonder what it meant to a two-year named Benjamin Woods a few years ago. He was already a member of MENSA. Was he allowed the time to be a normal child, or was he, because he was extremely bright, forced to grow up too quickly? I remember years ago reading about a dreadful ferry disaster in Indonesia. One of the survivors, whilst struggling to stay alive in shark-infested waters, proposed to his girl-friend. In this case, time or the lack of it, obviously had a profound effect on him.
Is all this slavish emphasis on time really worthwhile? I was driving home from Guildford some time ago and I was in a hurry (well aren’t we always). The traffic in front began to slow down and then I saw the reason for the delay. Three brightly painted caravans were trying to park in a lay-by. The first thing that caught my eye was the coloured plumage of two dead pheasants, their feathers blowing in the freshening breeze. They were hanging from hooks along with pots and pans and other household items. The entourage included ponies, dogs and live chickens in cages. They appeared to have everything they needed. These were not the modern mobile homes of the New Age Traveller, but the beautifully carved traditional homes of the true Romany gypsy. They paid little attention to the traffic and appeared to be in a time warp.
Had they got it right, I wondered? Are we the foolish ones? The well-loved opera singer Luciano Pavarotti had a star named after him. His star will no doubt (hopefully) still be shining down on everyone in a few thousand years’ time. Perhaps Old Father Tyme has the answer, but if he has, he is definitely not letting on!
‘Fly away time, Fly away time.”
A NOTE TO ME: I must find the time to finish the final edit of my new book of short stories. But, the sun is shining, the birds are singing their little hearts out and spring arrived today. And, what is more, my winter garden needs turning into a spring one!