129. Time Again


Turning the clocks ahead is a simple task, but getting your body to match up to the artificially manipulated time change is another thing. Sunday morning as I was passing under the wood faced clock in our kitchen, I decided to turn the minute hand ahead to 9:30 a.m. with my free hand. As I turned the little metal pointer, the clock fell off the wall, onto me and my full cup of coffee, and then onto the tile floor where it broke into two nearly even pieces covered in coffee. Fortunately the coffee spilled away from me and not onto the Brooks Brothers shirt and pants ensemble my wife had bought for me last fall and that I had just found in my closet that morning. People, don’t mess with time. The Stones sang, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.” Twenty years ago Rick Barry said the Stones looked like upright iguanas with all their wrinkles and divots from a life lived fast and hard. So they are living the loose-skinned lizard truth of their own luminous lyrics. (note the alliteration) And I am no better off having lived soft and slow. My own kitchen clock would not wait for me, for crying out loud!

Time… emit. mite. item. There are many other combinations of these letters, but they don’t make accepted words in the English language. Tmie. Tmei. Teim. Tiem. Temi. Imet.Itme.Iemt.Imte. Mtie.Miet.Mtei.Meit.Etmi.Emti.Eitm.Etim.  And what is the point? I’m not sure. I just find random noodling around to be interesting at times. Our brains focus on what is linear, correct or logical and dismisses the misses, (not the missus, mind you) the illogical, and the stuff that does not fit. Yet, that part is the bigger one. Hmmm. Is this like evolution? When a child is born, it has the capacity to learn any language it hears. However, after one language or several are selected for, the extra brain capacity is pared away. It’s an early life example of use or lose it. This blog is not in French or Russian because I never was exposed to those languages as a little kid. How many other combinations exist outside of logical use? In a way it’s like wasted pieces of tile that remain after a floor is completed, usually about 20% of the total. Must they be discarded or is it possible to use them on a smaller scale? As a coffee table top, a backsplash, a trivet, or just a piece of art.

It’s a process of exclusion. When you make one decision, you exclude all other options for the moment. Back in the 1970’s nuclear power was going to be the energy salvation for us, moving cleanly and purely beyond old fashioned oil and coal fired power plants. That changed in 1979 with Three Mile Island and then Chernobyl. Like the Titanic and the Hindenburg accidents, the fall out (no pun intended) was enormous. A viable path forward was abandoned at their gravesites. Yet, these discarded technologies may come around again, just as previously ignored oil sands and shale oil are now desirable second choices to once readily available crude oil.

Trains too are enjoying a resurgence these days. As the cost of trucking increases, the efficiency of freight trains grows more and more attractive. Great. What’s next? It’s a funny thing that airlines are folding and failing while the older technology is rolling profitably along. Will clipper ships make a comeback using wind power and little oil?  That would be a beautiful sight, wouldn’t it? A fleet of sleek clipper ships sailing up and down the coast with windmills spinning on spits of land. Maybe it’s their time again.

A certain romance surrounds older technologies. You can touch them and witness the mechanics involved. How different from the computer age with slick screens and programs that predict what you will say next when you type. No one saves old cell phones or computers. There is no value in doing so. Old trains, boats, cars and planes do hold some value as time moves away from them. And why is that? We seem to enjoy the nostalgia of a slower, bulkier way of moving back in the day. But what horrors if our computer is not cutting edge high speed internet worthy, smokin’ fast. There is no romance with these devices, no sentimental value. Who wants an old cell phone? They’re like cigarette butts, only the most desperate collect them and roll new cigarettes out of them or puff the last two infected drags out of them.

I saw an old Volkswagen bug at lunch today. It must have been a ’65 or ’66. No reverse lights, as I recall, was the signature of pre-1967 VW’s. Also they ran on a 6 volt battery. I felt a sense of wonder looking at this classic economy car. There was not a single creature comfort in this pale blue and white snail on wheels, but it exuded more character than any other car in the parking row. Behold! I remember I bought a 1959 VW bug for $300. Not a month or as a down payment; the entire cost was $300. The seller told me to add a quart of oil with each fill up. Of course, I did not follow his instructions and did the engine no good while driving off road in the local gravel pit. It was fun while it lasted. I sold it for $35.00 a year later. It flooded during Hurricane Agnes and that was that. 1972. That rust bucket was 13 years old and  ready for the junkyard. Funny, my Honda CRV is 13 years old and runs great. It’s a long way from any junkyard. Some things are better these days, I must conclude.

Oh well, it’s time again to consider that time is linear not cyclical. Entropy and gravity pull material things apart and down. Which is why I want to spend more of my remaining time with those things that are not subject to the laws of physics. My ’59 bug may be  a tuna fish can today, but my memory of the joy of buying my first car and the perils of owning it are not rusting or repurposed. The gold shag carpet I installed will live gloriously in my memory archives, not quite Austin Powers’ shaggin’ wagon but a sluggin’ bug fit for pimple faced teenagers. Yup, time and time again.

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