All This Crazy Gift Of Time by Kevin Ayres
Does the world seem good to you?
Does the music get to you?
Does the wisdom of your heart
Show you how to play your part?
All my blond and twilight dreams;
All those strangled future schemes;
All those glasses drained of wine,
All this crazy gift of time.
Happy birthday to you all
I hope you really have ball
And when you're walking up the road
I hope you finally explode!— Kevin Ayres ALL THIS CRAZY GIFT OF TIME From Joy of a Toy November 1969.
How do you measure time?
It is precisely 6.32 am.
I'm sitting here, in front of my computer, wondering what to write. I have about an hour and a half before I have to be at work.
Sometimes time can seem too short.
Prisoners, on the other hand, talk of "doing time". For them time is a punishment, a burden. They talk about it as a "stretch" as if time was being dragged out longer than it should be, like a vast elastic band. Time can seem to go on forever.
Albert Einstein said that time was relative. He meant that time goes at different speeds depending on how fast you are travelling. The closer you get to the speed of light the slower it goes, which implies that, at the speed of light time would actually stop and that - theoretically - going faster than the speed of light would mean going backwards in time.
Except that, according to Einstein's theory, nothing can go faster than the speed of light.
Einstein's theory is very technical, involving all sorts of mathematical equations. I tried reading it once. I couldn't get past the first sentence. But Einstein was a great populist and sometimes offered simpler explanations of his theories than the ones found in his books. Here he is with a more colourful explanation of relativity:
"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity."
He's right, of course. When you are enjoying yourself time goes tumbling by. But everyone remembers that last hour of school before the school holidays, the interminable tick, tick, tick of the clock upon the wall as it inches its way slowly forward, minute by minute, second by second, towards that final moment of freedom.
Then you have the school holidays and before you know it they're over and you're back at school again.
Is time running out?
Sometimes there just isn't enough time. A modern person is always rushing around juggling a variety of commitments - work, play, lunch, dinner, love, friends, acquaintances, social life, work life, contacts, engagements - in a hectic round of schedules and arrangements, measuring out their lives in the pages of their pocket diary.
"I can give you fifteen minutes at 3.30 on the 31st, or ten minutes at 2.20 on the 21st."
"No, but I can give you ten minutes at 12.30 on the 13th or fifteen minutes at 5.15 on the 5th."
It's enough to put your brain in a spin.
And with all this hectic rushing around, what time is there left for yourself?
Time is like a scarce resource that has to be rationed out. We have everything we need in life except the time to enjoy it. In the past, on the other hand, there was more time. People had time for each other. Their resources were scanty and their food was rationed but there was plenty of time to go around.
So what has happened to time? Is it running out?
Some people say that time is money. I don't like that idea. Does that mean we have to go out to work to get time now? That we can't have time unless we've earned it?
Sometimes we have to MAKE time, at other times we have to TAKE time. Making time is a creative act, a way of getting things done even when we don't have the time to do them. Taking time is a necessity in our busy lives. It's about allowing time for ourselves. People also talk about stealing time, as if time doesn't really belong to us.
I like that. Time as a gift. Time as something you can do something with.
I think this is the image of time that I would like to leave you with.
Time as the gift given by the universe for you to play with at your leisure.
Not time as money. Time as fun.
© 2008 Christopher James Stone