by Nic Olson
Our ability to measure and apportion time affords an almost endless source of comfort.
-Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
It is the last week of September. The older you get, the faster the days. Sure, I’m not old, but lately days pass faster than coffee through a senior. I have a healthy 23 hours until I start school on Monday. Seven and a half hours of that will be spent asleep. Four hours of it will be spent at the Bell Centre. Half of an hour of it will be spent eating bagels. I can make lists like this all day to put a gap between me and the things I don’t really want to do. When you’ve got a job or go to school or do anything in this world, you have little choice but to rely on time and its strict structure. Even if you don’t let time bother you, you will still abide by its rules so that you make the hockey game in time, or don’t get fired from your job, or know how long you sat on the toilet for. I’ve got a calendar on my computer that is full of dates, organized by colours, and updated until time infinity. I often try to imagine my calendar without the grid, just numbers and events and dates, but not in list form, in floating form. It is nice. Imagine the week without these formulas for time and it could be liberating. Wake when the sun rises. Eat when the body yearns. Learn when the mind asks.
But there is always something comforting about powering through a week so that a Thursday feels almost rewarding, and it almost feels good to ‘measure and apportion’ the days and months and years, even of a fictional manmade system such as time. A calendar was invented to give fools the belief that there is something big that they control, can manipulate, and gives an endless source of comfort, however imaginary it may be.
My birthday will highlight my 9th month of being here. I can look back on the 270 odd days and remember a lot of things, but the grids and the lists and the schedules aren’t what I’ll remember, and they aren’t even what made it happen.