Oh my. I was sort of watching the Charlie Rose show as I worked a crossword puzzle a couple of weeks ago. Charlie was interviewing Danny Boyle (Director), who said “Time doesn’t care about you.” Oh, wow! For someone like me, who cares a whole bunch about time, that statement was a shock-and-awer, a wake-up call, a slap in the face. When I came back to earth and had picked up my dropped newspaper crossword, sopped up the spilled water, and calmed the poor cat (who had been snoring next to me on the couch), I turned off the TV’s sound and gave the matter a bit of thought.
As it happened, the more I thought about it, rather than just reacting to it, the greater my realization that what Mr. Boyle said was quite true, a description of reality. Time passes, and as it goes by, it spares not a glance at me and my continuously sagging skin and gradually (hopefully) declining mental capacities. Time just keeps going, and it doesn’t care if I am concerned that it is moving backwards instead of forwards, or at a faster or a slower pace. I could say that time is focused entirely on its path and no action of mine is going to move it away from that path. Of course, that is not the same thing as saying that time doesn’t care, but in the end, the distinction does not matter.
The question then is, WHY doesn’t time care? My response is: I haven’t a clue, and as a matter of fact, I really don’t care. I will continue to care about time, because caring about time is something that I enjoy. No need to care back. As we said back in the when, “peace and love”, or “live long and prosper”. Your choice, time permitting.
Time again. Can’t seem to get past it.
Slept most of the day, marched for a couple of hours. The march went on for a seemingly long time (but wasn’t, really) and was most enjoyable, all in pink. Sleep lasted a minute or so, I am quite sure, between falling and waking. But the clock said a few hours had passed unnoticed even in my dreams.
So, I brushed the cat. And enjoyed the moment again and again and yet again.
So, spent part of today sitting by the window watching snow come down onto what was already a white landscape, musing. It turned out to be a very nice relaxing interlude in an otherwise doing-things-because-they-must-be-done sort of day. Tax season begins on January 23, and I need to be ready to prepare returns, so what was necessary today and will continue to be necessary for the next few is studying for certification exams so I can work as a volunteer tax preparer again. Interesting occasionally but not a whole lot of fun and certainly not amusing.
But, as the snow fell and I visually measured its depth by how low the cedar branches were hanging, I found myself amused (were you aware that one definition of “amuse” is “to cause time to pass agreeably?). I contemplated the way the cedar branches inched lower as they became whiter, as opposed to the way the snow accumulated on the dogwood branches without causing the branches to change position. Perhaps nature was trying to communicate a lesson to me? There are ways, and then there are other ways, to carry a load. Loads themselves may be wonderful, even light, not a burden. When I went out and tapped with my long pole on the branches, the snow fell on me and the branches swung upward in joy and I laughed to feel the burden fall over me and to the ground.
I sometimes think that the time I pass musing is wasted, a frill that I should not admit to anyone for fear of being thought lazy. But as time does pass, perhaps causing it to pass agreeably is a very good thing.
So I have just (tried to) read an article in the January 2017 issue of Scientific American about spacetime. I have to admit that I did not understand much of it at all, but I did get the impression that the physics people are all excited about a new way of thinking about a relationship between space and time that either changes or builds upon Einstein’s general theory of relativity and may or may not help our understanding of how (or maybe whether) spacetime emerges. What intrigued me in the article was a simple statement that the new ideas might result in our being able to measure time in wormholes.
Now I admit that I never knew that we could NOT measure time in wormholes, but of course that is really the whole point of a wormhole anyway, is it not? A way to move from one part of space to another without wasting any time at all is to go through a wormhole (or so say many of the sci-fi books that I have read). So I guess I always sort of thought that wormholes are things that are outside of time, but it never really hit me what that meant. Now, it turns out that physicists have thought for quite some time that space and time are different (or separate–I did mention that I did not understand what was being said), but the new thinking is (I think) seeing the two as not so separate after all.
I don’t mean to confuse things, although I am confusing things. But what I want to know is how do I create my own little wormhole? And having done so, how then do I regulate the time within it? The possibility of measuring wormhole time leads me to think that wormhole time can pass at different speeds (see previous post about passing time), so now I think maybe I could entangle a few wormholes and voila–get time to pass at different speeds at the same time.
Who knew that physics could be so fun?
So since we cannot stop time and we also cannot make time move fast and slow at the same time, I have found ways to pass time. The discovery of these ways is especially important when the temperature outside is below zero and the news of the world is depressing and the book I began isn’t really wonderful. So yes, I know there are any number of ways to pass time, but only a few of those bring real contentment.
The temperatures are very low, although the sun shines occasionally. I wander the house wondering what to do to keep time moving right along. Which of my many time resorts shall I choose? Well. As it happens, I recently mentioned chocolate chip cookies, and it became impossible to ignore the time-passing potential of such lovelies.
I had made some snowball cookies a little while ago, but they did not last long. Some ghosts of the past seem to know when those are available, because as soon as I turn my back, they disappear. Those same ghosts seem to add inches to my waistline as they pass through. But today, after I scraped the snow from the deck (more snow expected, want to be sure the deck does not collapse under the weight), that chocolate chip pecan cookie recipe that I happened to have discovered not so long ago just called to me (I am calling you–oo-oo-oooo, oo, oo, oo–remember that song?). So today I baked up a batch.
Oh dear. Not bad. Almost makes me want to start baking all those dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies I used to make and take back when. I may have to do another batch of the snowballs, though, just because time has slowed a bit (good in some ways, but at the moment the cat is in a slow time drift too, so I can speed up the rest of time a bit) and I feel the need for action. But there is always the Amish cinnamon bread to consider.
So time passes.
I always thought that “anytime” actually meant “any time”, but I learned today that I have been wrong. My auto repair place has what are called “pit stops” that are similar (I think) to the pit stops in NASCAR races, where tires and fluids are replaced (quite quickly) so that the car can continue to go around in circles (ovals?). These pit stops at my auto shop are free and they top off liquids such as oil and send you on your way. I received a notice that pit stops are on again and an invitation to “come any time”. So I did.
It turns out that any time is any time except the time that I arrived–mechanics’ lunch hour. I was told that there was no one available who could perform the service because all mechanics are required to take lunch from 12 to 1. I said “it says come any time”. The reply, naturally, was, well, not really. I left, and I do intend to go back tomorrow to get my fluids topped off. This is because we are expecting really really bad weather and I opened the car lid yesterday and checked the oil and some oil is required. I will arrive tomorrow at any time other than lunch time. We shall see if there are other times that are not considered any time. I hope not.
It did occur to me that there were actually a number of people at the dealership during the lunch hour, including the manager of the service department with whom I had my conversation. I am somewhat shocked that, apparently, none of these people knew how to check the oil and add a bit if necessary. I admit to having lost rather a lot of confidence in the place. However, pit stops are free and I am a sucker for getting something free. My bad.
But, I do wish that any time actually meant any time. I may have to revisit all my thinking about the nature of time. Which now I think about it would be rather an enjoyable revisitation.
Well, once each year comes the day I am supposed to celebrate. I actually did used to celebrate the day when I was a kid and people would give me presents and there would be a cake and candles and all that. But as time went on, and on, and then on some more, the day became less one to celebrate and more one to attempt to avoid in hopes that such avoidance would stop the passage of time and anyway no one was giving me presents anymore. So, on this day nowadays, I go get my flu shot. Yippee and all that!
The thing is, in the last few years I have been (as you know) thinking about time and about the stories we tell each other and ourselves about time and how we have (or have not) spent our time and who we have been. It has occurred to me that I can tell any story about myself that I can imagine and there is the possibility that the story I tell might be or become true–not that it really matters if it is or is not true, because it is after all just a story. A story about who I might have been before today, and another story about who I might be tomorrow. And all of these stories could possibly add up to me. When I was teaching “business and society”, I used to tell my students a story (that may have been true) about when America was younger and there were still “frontiers”. Then, a person could be one person in one place and if that did not work out, the person could move on west and be a different person, and who would know? The possibilities probably appeared endless. But as the frontiers disappeared under the weight of population density and westward ho and such, those possibilities for remaking oneself seemed to disappear as well.
But I am thinking now that one can remake oneself anytime one decides to be in a different story. Or to re-remember the stories one told others and oneself about oneself (perhaps a few too many oneselfs here). There are many me’s and even more potential me’s. So, on this day now and in future, in addition to getting my flu shot (and making myself that pumpkin pie), I think I will consider the story I would like me to tell about myself next year.
And what a year that was!!!!!