Monday, March 24, 2014

Taking time...

You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by;
but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.

                                                    James M. Barrie

Was it Slaughterhouse Five in which the hero became "unstuck in time"? Actually, it's odd that I asked that question. I know darn well that the phrase originated with that book. Perhaps my subconscious wants to formally recognize my disengagement with the world at large in a self-effacing manner. Perhaps I have an unexpressed desire to note the influence of Kurt Vonnegut (author of the aforementioned tome) upon my worldview. There is, however, a slight difference between being unstuck in time and being lost in time. I'd like to think I have permitted myself both experiences. While the physical world I inhabit basically expresses itself in a linear fashion, it seems that my mental process and focus has become fond of what is referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder. That concept is presented as a malady, although whether or not it is should, perhaps, be questioned. To be honest, most things in life don't seem to be worth the attention we give them. No matter. (Okay, brain, was that some sort of bad existential pun?) What I'm trying to get at regards my latest interaction with the concept of time. I've lost it. Meaning my ability to control my use of it. It began, as it often does, with Daylight Savings.

A little over two weeks ago, entire masses of people messed with the perceived linearity of time and moved it ahead by an hour. As usual, this made countless people cranky and out of sorts. It must have been even worse during the mid 1940's when the United States experienced "War Time". Where I live, for instance, instead of "Eastern Standard Time", or "Eastern Daylight Time", one would have noted "Eastern War Time".  "War Time" was an all year round Daylight Savings Time. Some countries had "Double War Time".

Now, since "Daylight Savings Time" starts with moving one's clocks ahead by one hour, those under its sway lose an hour of time. How, may I ask, is that a 'savings'? Someone, or something, has grabbed an hour of our time and pocketed it. A little research provided the information that Daylight Savings Time was started in 1918, allegedly to save electricity during World War One. Of course, not much of the country was electrified at that point (I must assume the intended savings was in a source of fuel for heat), and WWI ended in 1918. The United States Congress repealed the enabling act in 1919 - over a Presidential veto. "Savings" time was only made possible when time was 'standardized' in 1883 at the behest of the railroads. I should have known this was another idea foisted upon us by the corporations. Standard time became permanent law in 1918 (via the same act that brought the soon to be repealed daylight savings). In 1942, the US enacted "War Time", which ended shortly after the official surrender of Japan in 1945. After that, it was up to each state to decide whether or not to play with their clocks (which, when put that way, sounds vaguely dirty). There was another Uniform Time Act in 1966, further tinkering by the Reagan administration, and so on.

(Whomever did these two graphics doesn't seem to realize that
turning back the clock would be necessary to make it standard time - unless
this was created to stop WWII "war time" and referred to going back to WWI time...)
I've just managed to spend an hour and a half researching and writing, editing, attempting corrections to syntax and tense (which made me tense) and etcetera. What I had expected to be a pleasurable hour pontificating about something rather meaningless, discussing my adventures of the last few weeks, posting a few photographs and/or amusing graphics, changed, morphed, and lost focus as I lost control of my time and my personal expectation of how I would spend that time.

I haven't even gotten to the odd co-incidences . For instance, John C. Reilly showed up three times in one week - starting with a chanced upon bad movie called "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" on a cable tv channel. Somewhat intrigued by a fun title sequence, I recorded it as I didn't wish to spend the time to watch it in what was, at the time, the broadcast present. I, umm, time-shifted it. Then it turned out that Geo's Trainride Of The Enigmas blog had recently included a clip of Mr. Reilly performing the "Mr. Cellophane" number from the movie version of "Chicago" (which I was fortunate to see in its initial incarnation on Broadway - which was to be part of this dissertation). Another of the several movies waiting for my viewing pleasure via the digital recording device, and which has popped up in several unexpected ways over the last few weeks, is the 1960 movie version of "The Time Machine".

Oh, Dear. I've just glanced at the clock again and realized I must go. My meditation upon whether I am a Morlock, a meal, or a talking ring and what all of that has to do with DeLoreans and  net neutrality will have to wait...