The Tyranny of Time

big clock

more time, more time, more time

Twice a year, I get the idea that I might have too many clocks. Today is one of those days as I participate in the national pastime of trying to figure out why we need Daylight Savings Time.

If it’s true I have too many clocks, it would be an odd situation considering I’m a person who hates the tyranny of clocks and punctuality.

At about the age of 30, I started the high ceremony of The Removal of the Watch. This ritual took place every Friday upon my arrival home from work. Until Sunday at approximately 6 p.m., I paid no attention to time – I slept when tired, ate when hungry, and only checked the time to verify that any place I was planning to go to was open.

It’s a nice way to live. I’d like to do that full-time.

A few years ago, I found myself in the horrible position of having to schedule my life in 15 minute intervals. In any one workday, I would have 6 or 7 different places scattered about town that I needed to be at precise times. That situation brought on the wristwatch collection.


Every last one of them need a new battery.

I’m a firm believer in the right accessories for the clothing ensemble. Nothing corked me more than looking at a watch umpteen hundred times a day only to have that watch look stupid with the day’s outfit. I soon discovered $5 or $10 would buy me snazzy watches, silly watches, elegant watches and funky watches. Like the now defunct reading glass collection, the number of wristwatches approached infinity. Since I bought them all at the same time, the batteries all die at about the same time. Getting new batteries put in the watches once a year almost requires a second mortgage.

While I still schedule my life in 15 minute intervals, I spend most of my time in three places – all adequately equipped with a clock for easy viewing. In the past couple of years, the clock on the cell phone has replaced the wristwatch. All those wristwatches are languishing unappreciated in the dresser drawer. (I might have to do something about that.)

treasure chest of time

Time as treasure.

In the search for wristwatches, I discovered tiny little desk clocks. Uncharacteristically I exhibited some restraint and I only have two of those. They’re devilishly hard to set. There are some days I’d like more. Today is not one of those days.

My kitchen appliances are all, except for the refrigerator, equipped with a clock. The most important of these is the coffee pot clock. Without that clock, I can’t set the timer, and without the timer, I can’t have coffee ready when I wake in the morning. It would destroy what little peace I have in the morning if I had to begin the day trying to get the damn thing to brew me a cup of coffee. (When did coffee pots get so complicated?) Of course, they’re all digital.


Coffee Pot

Then there’s the DVD player, the alarm clocks and the car clock – also the dreaded digital type. The good thing is I now have a car that provides an easy way of changing the clock. Thirty years of digital timepieces and we’re just now figuring out how to make them easier.

There are two clocks, beside the cell phone, I rely on most. One is the spiffy radio-controlled-set-itself-to-the-Master-Clock-of-the-Universe thing that also tells me the temperature inside and out, the humidity level, and whether or not it’s going to rain. I love this stupid thing – I just wish it wasn’t so ugly.

hightech lowtech

hi-tech, low-tech, digital, analog

The other is my giant wall clock covered in faux leather with great big Roman numerals. This is the clock I glance it when I’m trying to figure out how late I’m going to be as I run around the house looking for my glasses.

Twice a year, I have to set all these clocks as I twirl about the solar system in either Daylight Savings Time or, um, hmmm, Normal Time.. Invariably, I forget one or two which leads to a month or two when I’m confused. I’m either late or early or discombobulated trying to figure out which one is right.

As I roam through the house, pushing multiple buttons (and cursing), I get lazier and lazier about setting each to the precise time. Since many of them are cheap and/or battery operated even set at the precise time, they’ll begin separating from the pack in a few weeks and every one of them will tell a different story as to what time it is. This is why the one that talks to the Master Clock of the Universe is such a favorite.

vanity vanity all is vanity

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

My alarm clock was cleverly designed to set itself twice a year when we adjusted to or from Daylight Savings Time. But then they changed the dates that happens and so a couple of weeks ago, I spent the better part of a day puzzling how it was that I kept losing an hour when I went upstairs. So I just had to fight with that thing to get it back to the right time and now I’m fighting with it again. Trust me. My life requires an alarm clock that not only tells the right time but rings really loud.

phone clock

Talkin' time.

And now, between setting clocks (and running out to buy batteries for clocks), I’m late and have to call work to try and explain why a multitude of clocks caused the situation. I leave out the part wherein I spent two hours I didn’t have writing this blog post. Sometimes you do things because you have to, sometimes because you want to – kind of like how I have a plethora of timepieces when I find time to be tyranny and punctuality as something only the truly gifted can accomplish without precise planning and great haste.  I wish they’d just leave time alone.  It’s problematic enough without changing it twice a year.

[And dammit, I just had to go in and change the time in my blog settings so that maybe the next post will show the corrected published-at time.  Jeez Louise.]

13 thoughts on “The Tyranny of Time

  1. I often wondered why they gave watches as retirement gifts… when I retired, I took my watch off. I keep it on the kitchen table next to my keys to grab when I need to go someplace where I need to know when to leave! When I retired, they gave me a clock with an engraved plate on the front with my name and # of years of servitude. It has needed batteries for 2 years now. It can wait.
    I, too, have a couple radio controlled clock/weather stations. I love them, but can’t see them at night. For that I have the automatic set clocks – plug ’em in and they set themselves. Then Bush screwed with the time change. Here is the secret – change the time zone – then change it back. 1 button, up or down.
    I use just one watch -it has a Zuni wrist band – if it doesn’t match my blue jeans, well, so what. In my old age, who cares. Folks just say, “poor thing.” and I smile to myself.

    • Old age is so freeing. The other day a bunch of kids put my 69-year-old mother’s hair into multiple pony tails. There she was with head full of hair divided into about 10 short little tufts wrapped in colorful rubberbands. I said to her, “69 be damned, huh?” She said, “Yup.”

      I encouraged her to adopt the style.

  2. I am such a slave to time, even when on vacation. My husband gladly ignores any notion of the time when we are away but I can’t seem to let go of it. I wish I could. I think it must be connected to a weird quirk in the relationship that I have with numbers. A quirk that keeps me remembering birthdays and phone numbers of everybody I have ever met. And even though it’s rather ridiculous to change time, I love it when we switch to daylight savings time. I love that I got up at 7am on a Sunday without forcing myself to! 🙂

    • The idea that we’re enslaving ourselves is pretty horrific. I think I’ll bang my head against the wall now. On top of everything, I’ve just begun two weeks of a “time study” which means every 15 minutes at Job 1, I note what I’ve done. It seems to increase the feeling of oppression.

  3. Einstein had the right idea when he said “that the only reason for time, is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” I suspect he would have the same foibles as you about changing time twice a year. It’s all relative anyway.

  4. I had to do a clock purge a few years ago when I realized that Ihad four clocks in my office. Not a good sign. Now I own no watch and have one clock in the office. I’m a recovering time-a-holic, I guess.

  5. My VCR (yes, yes, I still use a VCR — go ahead and mock me) is hardwired to change the time automatically. Unfortunately, it was hardwired in the 1990s, when the time changes were about two weeks earlier.

    So, two weeks ago, my VCR announced that it was an hour earlier (and I had to reset it). Then a couple days ago, I had to remember and reset it again. So this “feature,” designed to make life more convenient, actually doubled the amount of work I’d have to do.

    Somehow, the computers all know what time it is, but they’re supercilious machines that wouldn’t deign to talk to analogue devices like the VCR…

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