Tag Archives: time

Tempting the Clock

It has not been a productive day. I say that as the productivity part, well the productivity part related to work, earning an income, putting food on the proverbial table, that part, comes to a close. It ends at 2:21 these days. And sixteen seconds. That is not to say that I am without things to produce. I have several. And more important, they are to be produced within a certain window of time. It is a small window. Single pane. This is when I sometimes feel spunky, brazen, you know, dangerous. I am not like this when I have a bay window-sized window, or a sliding door-width window. It is only when I am crunched. Ha ha, I scoff, at the things to be produced.

Why do I do this, I wonder. I should say that I don’t always do it, but when I do, it is consciously. It is decided upon. I will tempt the window. I will laugh at the tightening deadline. I will hope that I don’t trip tomorrow and require stitches in an elbow, or toe, which will monopolize the actual minutes that remain. Usually, I tell myself that something in me, something in my artistic soul needs the extra breathing room. The brilliance that will make the particular assignment that much more magnificent needs to germinate this exact amount of time. Then, it will be ready to sprout. Then, it will emerge, glorious, at 9:12 tomorrow morning. It is germinating, now, all by itself. I can feel it. So, in essence, I am working, yes, I am.

This is the kind of thing I tell myself when I just need a day off.  Why can’t I just take a day off, polish the toes, eat a normal lunch? People with regular jobs get regular days off, and they don’t tell themselves their ideas are whirring around in their brains right then, when they are doing relaxing things, so that they don’t feel guilty. They just eat the normal lunch, happily, and paint the toes, angst-free. 

It is now 2:09, which is pretty darn close to 2:21. I don’t have much time left, though I probably have more to say. I could have done more with my day off, I am thinking. More day-off things. But I guess you have to know it is that kind of day before it just becomes one. Aaarggghhhhhhh.


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Wait Just a Minute

The kitchen clock stopped working. This is not astounding, I realize, but there is meaning in its demise, a message. No, not about time hanging mid-tick, or passing, underutilized, nothing prosaic like that, let alone guilt-provoking. Nothing about my buying it twenty-three years ago for my first Manhattan apartment, so modern, slick, or toting it to five different cities and ten different kitchens, without kids and with, with mates and without. None of that. Today, the clock, though stuck, still serves.

Before I knew this, though, I took it down from the wall, feeling the way you do when something gives out. I attempted to resuscitate it, trying assorted batteries, tapping its sides, flipping it like a dime, sun from the window catching its silver face. But the hands remained still. That is it, I thought. I put my clock on the counter. Done. We did not need a functional object not to function, not to tell my daughters and me what the time is, really, the time that other people know and rely upon, then, that minute. We would replace it with something new and effective.

But then, I looked at the wall, yellow, naked, except for the nail. It would have been easy to wiggle it out, just a firm grip at its base. I grabbed it with my thumb and forefinger, then let go, sitting down at the table underneath. I cook every night, a complete meal from scratch, no matter how busy, how much homework, how late practice runs. And we sit at the table and have dinner, give the report, tell the joke, relay the story. Was there an allele question on the test? Mommy, any news about the book? You wouldn’t believe what Mr. Matthews did today.

It is hard not to check the hour, with so much left to finish before the day ends. I wish the time at the table could be longer. It is an important time. It struck me, at the table in front of the wall, that we could put the ticking on hold, laugh at it, dare it not to press on. I picked up my twenty-three year old clock, bold and shiny, and threaded the nail right back into its hook. Eight-seventeen, the hands read, at two p.m. Audacious, it was. Wild.

With fresh purpose, and a certain spunk, it now protests the minutes that are too quick, the seconds that are too full, stealing for us a wonderful and reliable pause.


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