Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turning the page

I am baffled that we celebrate so many holidays that mark the passage of time. New Year's and birthdays are prime examples. Each signifies that another year has gone by. Glass half full advocates will view such things as a new beginning. Glass half empty types would say we are simply celebrating another day closer to death.

The turning of a calendar page is such a contrived thing anyway. Where did time actually begin and when does it actually end? What possessed whoever the primitive person was who began marking time? Was it one of the earliest manifestations of morbid fascination for figuring out how much time we have squandered and how much time is left to be squandered?

I am no one to talk. I am obsessed with time. I have an awesome collection of wristwatches, all ticking away the seconds of my mortality (well almost all...I need to get some new batteries for a few of them). Perhaps it is natural to become obsessed with time the older you get. Because when you are young, time drags because you think you have an endless supply of it. When you reach middle age, it slips quickly through your hands because you become painfully aware that supplies are limited.

But time is like the weather, everybody bitches about it, but no one can doing anything about it. Poets wax poetic about it. Songwriters write songs about it (Jim Croce wrote about keeping time in a bottle and then ironically died young in a plane crash). Science fiction writers create endless plots about how to cheat time and achieve mortality.

But time outlasts them all. None of us understand it. Shoot by the time you think you have figured it out by living long enough, your time is up. Father Time is essentially a practical joker shaking your hand with a joy buzzer.

Why am a writing about the futility of time and celebrating its passage? Well, I wanted to squeeze out one more blog post before the year ends and I didn't think I'd have time to write one tomorrow night. I'll be too busy celebrating the arrival of a new year.

Ironic isn't it?

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