Coldplay wrote ‘Time exists just on your wrist so don’t panic’. Typical musicians with a casual regard to the framework of a day. Yes, call me a hypocrite on that point. Time however slippery is on and in and around more than just your wrist. Until recently it also existed on our kitchen wall actually, until our kitchen clock ceased to tell time and yet we remain bug eyed at the circle above the dinner table, clock watching. Making time stretch and bend so that it takes a mere 5 minutes to put on a face of make-up but 20 of those similarly shaped minutes to eat a small bowl of cereal. It’s a conundrum wrapped in an enigma.
We’re all guilty of counting the minutes, letting time slip away, watching years go by, letting time heal all things. Why is time imbibed with such spectacular transformative powers?
We have an entire section of language to weigh and measure it; soon, in a bit, later, never, ‘now now’. Oh the immediacy! We fragment it, mark it, record its passing. Disorientated without it, we need such structure as without tick tock we have no start or end.
But it’s the fluidity of time that is so fascinating, intriguing, challenging, as memory and time seem to exist independently so that I could tell you about my childhood but I have no idea what I ate for dinner yesterday. A productive workday trickles past like water through open fingers and I can be up from 6.30 am and still be late for work. An evening filled with good friends gallops too quickly to its conclusion but those 4 audacious, elastic days after a bank holiday will feel like an interminable 7 (thank goodness we didn’t get another for Prince George). From ‘Remember when you were little?’ to ‘now that you’re grown’; even the most rudimental marking of time is another notch on a progress chart of our lives even though we’ll each remember every fragment differently.
Time spent online has an independently fluid quality as anyone who has ever lost an hour (…+) to Pinterest will know. A new challenge to the segmentation of time in our modern hubbub world. Our legacies are tamperproof via our social media footprints. Our events fighting for prominence as we choose to play with time’s record. We have the ability to chronicle our every action; the internet as our digital carbon paper, and recall it forever (who looked for their Bebo profile when they heard that news story?), or seek to refresh or reinvent and peel away from time’s record. What you’ve done is no longer static, history is in flux. This is what I’m doing right now, and it’s gone. Off your news feed: gone, whether deleted or forgotten as the trail you’ve blazed fades off into the archives. Our check-ins, linked videos, selfies, heartfelts and feelings only as permanent as the fallible server they’re held on. The present, the now, outranks the past. The future is irrelevant; now is more important as the narrative of a life hops onwards.
Mornings slide past, lunchtimes gallop, evenings fade, jump, trickle, drip drip drip, tick tick tick as life stutters past