Do people care about being on time anymore?  It seems that as each day passes, our adherence to the hands on a clock grows more weary.  Transportation timetables appear to be more suggestion that requirement.  Medical appointments can vary up to 45 minutes and still be considered “on time.”  Meeting friends is now set in a “time frame” instead of an exact time that translates to: “I’ll show up if I feel like it and if I’m available.”

If we desire to live an involved, and interactive, modern life, we need to be wed to a clock — even if we are wholly virtual and independent — because a clock is what syncs us in real time and utter space with the rest of the world.

If we choose to let time blindly wash across us like waves on the oceans — instead of tracking the sun’s rise and fall across our limited sky — then we are picking a prolegomenous predestiny of inaction.

Yglesias’ rightful rant reads a bit like the madness of a timely person stuck in an unwinding world:

I’m serious about the punctuality. I find the American thing where you’re supposed to show up late for everything but exactly how late depends on the precise details of the situation to be incredibly stressful. I’m really compulsive about time in a way that most people I know find very annoying. Germans (and Swiss) have this right. Pick a time and stick to it!

If we want to give up something that would add less structure and stricture to our lives, then I’m all for giving up the calendar.  Who cares about Euclidean years and weeks and days?  I work every single day.  I’m not big on the regimen of invented holidays.

Every day should be your birthday, so other than the need to postgenically adhere to being somewhere on a certain day, I could live by my clock-hands watch alone, and let the rest of the world spin along without me on its day and night axis.

5 Comments

  1. When I say I will be somewhere at a certain time, I am there at that time. It’s funny — in the synagogue I attend there are people who are consistently a certain number minutes late every day — regardless of when prayer begins. On Mondays and Thursdays when it starts at 6:20, they are there at 6:25. When it starts at 6:30, they are there at 6:35. Makes me wonder.

    1. That sort of perfected lateness is annoying, Gordon. I know people who know people like that, and they tell those people like that an event starts at :30 and they tell everyone else that it starts at :40 — making the “perfected laters” actually five minutes early.

      If you have a regular travel route and it usually takes you 20 minutes to get there — but sometimes it takes you 90 minutes to get there — you have to always assume it will take you 90 minutes to get there and plan accordingly. If you get there early, that’s a gift you’ve given to yourself.