Thursday, March 23, 2006

human clock

The three great American vices seem to be efficiency, punctuality, and the desire for achievement and success. They are the things that make the Americans so unhappy and so nervous. They steal from their inalienable right to loafing and cheat them of many a good, idle, and beautiful afternoon. The tempo of modern industrial life forbids this kind of glorious and magnificent idling. But worse than that, it imposes upon us a different conception of time as measured by the clock and eventually turns the human being into a clock himself.

-- Lin Yu-tang, quoted by J.C. Cooper in Taoism: The Way of the Mystic

(reposted from the Happy Feminist)

All this week I've been at a high school tempo, dividing my time in blocks of four and forty-six minutes. One of my fellow teachers was nice enough to take me out to lunch at a fabulous Cuban restaurant, and though she walks fast I didn't think anything of it. Just as I was beginning to think, "I wonder when her next class is?" she picked up the pace. Five minutes later our coats were on, our cups lidded, and she had to run from the school parking lot into the building as the next bell rang eight minutes later. Today I joined her briefly in this breakneck schedule before arriving again at the government office, where all. time. stops. This afternoon, it's back to the high school and the dog bell. Sometimes I feel like this on days when I do Flylady's "fifteen minutes"--where is the travel time? What about switching gears, taking my coat off, getting water breaks? (The water breaks are scheduled in, on Flylady. It's a tough system.)

I do well on the iron clock schedule, and I get a lot of stuff done. But it saps my soul, and I find myself doing stupid things like staying up until midnight playing Place the State. Laugh if you will, but I'm down to 47/50, 8 miles off (average), in 199 seconds. And my brain feels more human, less mechanical. It's just something I need to budget time for.


Post a Comment

<< Home