The Metaphysics of Time

flying.jpg While we slept this morning the fabric of time and space was trimmed by one hour.

We lost an hour. I lose track of time all the time but it’s only this time every year where I actually lose a whole hour. I suppose we could argue that we’ve only misplaced it as we get it back in the fall. But right now it just feels lost because it feels much earlier than my clock says it is.

I was talking with some friends last Thursday about losing an hour and someone there said, “God gives everyone the same 24 hours”.

Beat.

Pause. Awkward moment.

“um, except in this case we actually have a 23 hour day.” I said. Others jumped in but things only got more confusing. It’s very difficult convincing someone that there aren’t 24 hours in a day. It’s like watching “Groundhogs Day” with someone who doesn’t get it.

What would happen if Jack Bauer’s 24 hour day happened on a daylight savings time day? Not even Jack could save the world on only a 23 hour day. What about people on shift work, did they get shorted an hour on today’s pay? What happens to pilots and fight attendants who criss-cross time lines everyday?

When I went to China we lost a whole day and that was very disconcerting. Where does it go and how can crossing an ocean just make time disappear?

We left the west coast on Wednesday and landed on Friday. Thursday disappeared. Coming back, we landed on the West Coast before we left China. I try not to think about it. It’s a little like being “beamed up” on Star Trek, is that me or my duplicate that actually gets re-assembled (a question shamelessly lifted by “The Prestige”)?

Time must be more flexible than we think. I know in school some classes would drag on for hours during their hour and other classes would be over before I even got to the second page of my test booklet. I’m aware of gaps when I drive where I can recall pulling out of the driveway and I realize I’ve reached my destination but the distance in between disappeared. When you can’t remember with confidence that you definitely didn’t run over someone it keeps you on edge until you’ve watched the local evening news and seen the next mornings paper. Summer used to last forever growing up and now it flies by. That’s a whole season. And I’m pretty sure that just yesterday I was only 19. At least it feels like just yesterday.

So go easy on yourself today as your equilibrium resets to the new space time continuum that we find ourselves in.

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About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
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