Friday, 6 July 2012

Time to spare

I just saw a commercial for the Territorial Army on TV, in which viewers are informed they can train to be a soldier in their spare time.  “Spare time.”  It got me thinking about the concept of time, how we use it, segment it and categorise it.  Time that is essential and time that is “spare, extraneous.”  The more you think about it the less sense it makes.  There is an assumption that time should be earmarked and that most of it (and our lives) should be spent on work, doing a paid job.  And then, if any of it is left, we fill it with hobbies. So it is all used up.  Time is a commodity and spare time is a luxury, a privilege. 

When I was a child I railed against clocks.  I always resented having to work to a schedule, to obey the tyranny of the clock.  Maybe that’s why, try as I might, I have always had a problem with timekeeping.  Perhaps there’s a deeply ingrained part of me that just resents it.  I used to ask, “who invented the clock, who dictated that we divide our day into 24 hours, into 7 days.  Who decided that office hours are 9-5, so the roads are jammed with traffic during the man-made concept of rush hour.  Why?”

It’s a question I still ask myself. 

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