I Feel Like I Don’t Live In Real Time Anymore

“I don’t live in real time anymore.” Whatever “real time” is supposed to be, anyway….I don’t know where or when this concept/reality popped into my head, but whoops, there it is! I am recently retired, since June 8, 2012, so I am nearly 3 years into my unstructured time-time….I am obsessed with the concept of time, I always have been, whenever I read science fiction I always gravitated to the time travel books over all the others….The basic world lives by rigidly regimented schedules, they have their work week, their weekends, just like they have been trained by going to school all those years, same concept, different tasks….
The clock on the wall is already at “last call” for me though so I thought I would put down some of my musings and ramblings while I still DO have time, which is a really subjective concept….Time and our perception of it has always fascinated me, and I know Einstein’s early theories and the current crop of physicists are working on their own objective, scientific models, backed up by reams of measured scientific data, but that is just my point: I don’t subscribe to the theory that time is objective at all, I think it is instead subjective, in a really personal way for each individual….
For example, the other day I was overwhelmed by a revelation, a parting of the mental clouds that I usually labor under, to write this down on a scrap of paper: “The ephemeral machinations of time are irresistible and unstoppable, like waves on a beach,like molecules spinning in orbit, making up the magnetic discharge of energy we call brainwaves…this thought process, the eternal, internal movement of energy particles on their random orbits which determine who we are, what we are, all that we are…”
What does it mean? I don’t know, exactly, it was a sub conscious burst of inspiration, unbidden, like a blinding bolt of thought, a parting of the mental clutter that usually fills our minds, the “moment of clarity,” I get the exact same feeling when I write a song, another of my avocations…
The song actually writes itself, it is like automatic writing, it comes unbidden and unbiddable, and I have to quickly scribble it down on a scrap of paper or it will be lost, gone forever, from wherever it originated..if I TRY to write a song, the words are forced, but if it comes to me unbidden, pure and clear and blindingly obvious at the time, it always stands out, and it is always very good…
I think it is the unconscious formulation of thoughts and half thoughts that whir and whiz around my sub conscious all the time, a string of molecules that suddenly align themselves, and somehow my mind arranges them into a coherent fashion, and then I write them down…In other words, I don’t write the songs, the songs write themselves, I am like a medium in a trance, or a dreamer who can recall his dreams if he writes them down before he wakes up or else they are lost, gone, forever….
It is not just songs that come to me unbidden, the other day I had another random thought, there is so much religious and sectarian violence in the world these days, it suddenly came to me, and I scribbled it down on the inside of a match book cover so as not to lose the thought, “When we die, once we are dead, we have no nationality”…What does it mean?
Again, I have no clear idea, the point is that it is not a conscious, objective observation, just an intuitive flash of inspiration, and I think that is what the nature of time really is, a series of unbidden stringing together of partial random thoughts into a coherent, cohesive whole that somehow, someway, makes sense……And that somehow, someway virtually FORCES me to write them down so, dreamlike, they don’t disappear from whence they originated……
I have seen a lot in my life, technological advances that are truly revolutionary….When I was born, way back in 1946, television wasn’t even around, I mean some people had them but it took until the early 50’s before tv became the social phenomenon it is today, the centerpiece of most peoples lives….
There were 4 networks, no cable, and no remotes, and the tv was all in black and white the first few years, try explaining that to the kids today! I STILL think the greatest invention of this century was the VCR, for the 1st time we could control the TIME we watched tv, taping shows for later, renting movies etc…i remember when my parents bought me my 1st VCR, I used to tape all the stupid talk shows, like Jerry Springer, Oprah, Maury Povich, it was shock rock tv back then, and I was hooked….
And talk about sports! I NEVER had to miss a game anymore because of work or other time constraints, and I could also fast forward through all the dumb commercials and re watch every game I wanted to! OMG! I was in techno heaven! Now VCR’s are as dead as the dinosaur, DVR is the newest techno toy, the Net Flix streaming broadcasts etc are also revolutionary, and will shape our viewing habits for years to come, I haven’t caught up with that yet, but everything is virtual now, no more Blockbuster stores, no more saving up VCR tapes…i mean, the future is NOW and it changes almost every day!
We have so many choices of what to do on tv these days, like one friend has the Net Flix and the Blue Ray and the Wii game player and the surround sound and so many choices with her DVD player and all, the 32 inch HD tv she has is basically just a monitor…
I am not kidding my friend has like 4-5 remotes to control all this electronic wizardry, and she is not alone, most American homes today are more like her house than my house…We watch a lot of tv at her house because she has such a lot of tv to watch, her “electronic library” would shame most medieval scholars, another sign of the digital revolution we are all living through every day…..The world is changing rapidly, and the electronic devices are 2nd nature to the kids growing up now, and still a source of almost superstitious wonder to an old dinosaur like me…

I have noticed that email is dead now, nobody ever emails anybody anymore, no now it is all about texting on their smart phones, including me, instead. The use of email today is as irrelevant as “snail mail” was when email came out 15-20 years ago, except in the business world….The social media like face book, twitter etc. are all powerful now….

Some teenagers even have actually committed suicide because they were snubbed or dissed or bullied on the social media, just to demonstrate the effect these ever expanding technologies have on our day to day lives! It seems like every day there is something new and exciting in the tech sector being talked about, developed or promoted, it is hard for an old man like me, I am now 69 and retired, to even keep up with all these new devices or “apps”as they are called!

 Wow, now in the last 3 years I have been retired, and I have done nothing materially productive at all with my life…i am not living in real time anymore, that is the whole point of this essay, because I don’t have to! I get up whenever I feel like it, I have all my favorite shows pre taped on my DVR, and there is no one I have to account to whether I get up at 10 or 10:30 or even 11 am, although I do have a tendency to get down on myself for being so lazy if I sleep in past 10, I guess that is just part of my left over Puritan work ethic….I am a proud and unabashed Baby Boomer….

The total freedom that my DVR allows me to watch all my programs, especially sporting events, at my leisure, is a boon, a real God send…i usually watch them at night, when it is most convenient for me to do so, and I really love fast forwarding through all the commercials, and I kind of unwind from the day…but I have the FREEDOM to do so, when it is most convenient for me, and that makes all the difference in the world!

Before I had to regulate my time into segments, time for work world, time for shopping, time for sports etc and now I don’t have to do that…It is a much more fluid, interchangeable medium to work with, and I don’t feel any pressures or time constraints….In fact, the loosening or sometimes even outright elimination of time constraints, schedules etc are perhaps the most liberating part of this brave new world…

So much of regular society, especially the work world, and I include the school system too, which prepares us all so well for the rigid and inflexible time schedule of the work world, I was so locked into all of that, part of the system…

I, like everybody else, was bound and chained by the clock, the time clock at work, or the clock at home reminding me of what time it always was, the calendar on the wall that marked off the days of the week and the inexorable passing of time, like the old black and white pictures montage of calendar pages falling like leaves in the autumn onto the floor of irrelevancy…..
None of that is necessary anymore! I mean, I still use the calendar to mark holidaze and birthdays and doctor’s appointments yes, that part remains, but one of the first things I did when I retired was unplug my alarm clock!
OMG! The freedom from the tyranny of the alarm clock alone is a blessing that I never fully appreciated until it was an available, viable option for me…the whole Western concept of time is largely irrelevant to most of the world anyway, but we Americans are bound and determined to convert the world, as usual, to our point of view and frame of reference….
Getting rid of that alarm clock, no I did not throw it away, but I did gleefully unplug it and tossed it into some obscure corner of my apartment, because it was no longer relevant….The alarm clock, and it’s implications and reminders of things that I HAD TO do, or places that I HAD TO be at, like work world, where they questioned your work ethic if you were even a minute or two late, are all dim and distant memories now, and I don’t miss them one bit!
The insufferable arrogance of the Western world to subdivide time into years and months and days and hours and minutes and even seconds suddenly came into focus for what it really was: a tool devised by the Establishment powers to be to control the masses, rather than as a convenience to me as a person…There are entire cultures, like the Native Americans, who never did understand our Western concepts and notions of time, and now I can see so much more clearly their point of view…
Don’t get me wrong, I realize time exists, like there are seasons for growing crops, for hunting, for hunkering down for the winter etc that are vital and necessary and NATURAL, but those are all natural functions,the seasons are rhythmic and part of the climate, but the division of every second of time into weeks months days hours etc are all ARTIFICIAL and unnecessary…
Now that I am free of the blinders of work world, I can see that all the more clearly now, you have to step off the conveyor belt of Birth/School/Work/Death (a song by the English band (“The Godfathers”) to clearly see it and fully appreciate it…..

Just leave it like it is right now

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