What time is it?




I am horrible at telling time. Not reading a clock but recognizing time’s passing in a way that aligns with other people’s sense of time. I read something once about how people who habitually run late are really bad at estimating how much time something is going to take. I realize that’s true about myself. I have ten minutes until I have to leave, so I think I can do something like fold the laundry and by the time I’m done I’m five minutes late getting out the door.

My estimation of time of day is laughable. When I’m out in the world it gets a little better because I learn sunrise and sunset and can guesstimate time based on that. However, once the sun sets, I’m out of luck. I’ll read until four in the morning and think it’s only 1. I’m always shocked that I’ve missed that much time, even though I know I’m a slow reader and I just got through 250 pages. I can’t do the math to figure that out (or maybe don’t want to be bothered to do so).

Music helps when I’m in my office under artificial lights. It seems to make time pass faster when I’m stuck doing a job I’m not engaged in. It also gives me some semblance of time when I’m busy. The album ends. Pandora asks me if I’m still there (I’m always still there). These become my estimators of time.

Because here’s the thing: time is made up. I can’t compete in an argument with the physicists out there, but our sense of time is imaginary. We’ve cut things up to suit ourselves and our work days. I mean, we have “Daylight Savings Time” of all things!

So when I fail to maintain my sense of time in accordance with everyone else, I’ll apologize, but I’m not sure it’s always my fault.

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