It’s time to see what time it is

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 1/17/20

As the clock ticks on and the years go by and I have more birthdays, I seem to pay more attention to time.

I don’t think it’s an obsession and I don’t understand it any better than before; …

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It’s time to see what time it is

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As the clock ticks on and the years go by and I have more birthdays, I seem to pay more attention to time.

I don’t think it’s an obsession and I don’t understand it any better than before; maybe it’s just an awareness of how fragile and passing time is. I often wonder about the things I do and don’t do and wonder “why” to both of them.

When I take the time to drop a note or make a call, after an internal nudging, I’m never unhappy about it. When I find I have some unexpected time and then don’t seem to get much done I wonder if that time was wasted. That, of course, gets into the meaning of what “wasted” is anyway.

Was it wasted time to read another chapter in a good book? Was it wasted time to watch a rerun of “The Andy Griffith Show” I had seen 10 times before? I guess all that is a personal decision.

I have, through the years, noticed a few things about time. One is that work usually expands to fit the time allotted for it. If, for instance, your task is to mow the front yard and realistically you can do it in two hours, if we’re not careful we’ll spend two-thirds of the day procrastinating, stalling, working slowly, taking breaks, whatever.

I’ve also noticed time has a way of changing. Years ago, for instance, when I still had the set of Compton’s Picture Encyclopedia that my mama and daddy bought for their boys, I could look up “Hippopotamus,” for instance, in a shade under eight or 10 seconds. Didn’t matter that the volume, dated somewhere around 1955, might be years out of date and the information not that current.

During the past decade or so, my better half did some shopping and introduced me to the world of computer information. So today, thanks to the hardware and the internet, if I want to know something about a hippopotamus I turn the thing on, wait for it to run through its various cycles and do all the things it has to do.

Then, when I go to whatever information site I want I can get all kinds of information. The fact it will take a minute or so will eventually irk me a great deal. So which is faster: the old way or the technological way? But even more important, I think, is which information source is the better one to have?

Years ago, when I was a cute little boy in short pants (which was, indeed, years ago) if someone had told me that in this day and age I could communicate with almost anyone in the world almost instantly and get all kinds of information, I would have marveled and said, “Bring it on.” Now, the fact it takes what I often think is too long tells me mostly how my thought process about time has changed.

All that, of course, brings me/us back to the important question: how are we using the time we have? I don’t think I have one foot on the Social Security system and the other on a banana peel but sometimes I act like I’ve got some 60-plus more years to go. That’s why there are books and magazines and newspapers and old video cassettes all around my place. “I’ll save it for another day,” I reason and sometimes those days do come but most times they don’t.

I’m starting to realize more and more that every once in a while it’s a good idea to take the time to take stock of what we do and to make sure we make good use of our time.

That’s all for now...I just discovered under a pile of papers an old John Wayne western I haven’t seen in 30 years.


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