BITS and PIECES # 51

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July 6, 2014 by palamow

BITS and PIECES # 51

Hello again from Luquillo,

Pam and I are preparing to travel to New Hampshire for two weeks, later this month – A master hand-knitter’s seminar/convention for her, a chance to ‘hide-out’ in a hotel room to write, edit and just goof-off for me, capped off with a long overdue family reunion and the chance to visit with old friends. As we frenetically scurry about attending to last-minute details like doctor appointments, medicine refills/daily ‘pill organization’ and other vital last minute preparations such as loading thumb-drives, a backup hard drive, my Kindle Fire and IPod and an unbelievable assemblage of power cords, converters and such for these ‘peripheral’ devices, I find myself ruminating on my sense of time’s passage and how variable it often seems…

So, here is a short piece I wrote this morning – it’s a ‘quasi-philosophical’ attempt at defining how we currently measure the passage of the hours, compared to how we formerly did so in the pre-digital ‘dark ages’…

See what you think…

I promise to send along a ‘proper’ BITS and PIECES blog from New Hampshire – I’m working on a story describing my one (and only) paranormal experience – it happened while a friend and I were sailing from St. Lucia to the Virgin islands in the late 1970s – its spooky enough that I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy it…

Until then, adios amigos…   

TIME…

Time is an elusive and changeable concept – especially as we grow older (actually, that’s a misnomer – one doesn’t ‘grow’ older, as we age, we seem to shrink rather than grow).  The passage of time is measured in minutes, hours, days, weeks and months – and they either sweep by far too quickly, when we’re not paying strict attention, or they seem to move at a snail’s pace when we’re waiting/hoping for an event to occur…

Then there’s the changing way we measure the passage of time. Back in history (pre-1970s/80s) we were accustomed to measure minutes and hours in an ‘analog’ format – the position of the ‘little’ hand and the ‘big’ hand on (or near) the numbers on the dials of our wristwatches and clocks were ‘analogous’ to the present time of day or night…

Nowadays, our ubiquitous collections of electronic gadgets (e.g., smart-phones, personal computers, Laptops, Pads and so on – the list is seemingly endless, conspire to constantly bombard us with strings of digital numbers which tell us precisely what time it is – what they don’t do very well is tell us what time it isn’t…

Let me explain: my old (1960s vintage) Rolex (BITS and PIECES # 50) tells me at a glance that I’m ten minutes late for an appointment (regrettably, not untypical) or conversely that I’m twenty minutes early (a rare occurrence)…

When I resort to any of my ‘digital time displays, I’m required to perform a mental calculation to determine whether I’m tardy or early, or on the rare occasion, on time…

When the first digital watches appeared in the 1970s, they were cumbersome affairs – a large, heavy amalgam of metal and plastic with a tiny window in in its upper surface that displayed the hour and minute in dim red numerals, after you pressed a button on the watch’s perimeter. Although ballyhooed as ‘The wave of the future’ these devices didn’t sell well. The manufacturer, Texas Instruments, hired a Madison Avenue marketing firm’s research arm to find out why their ‘Breakthrough technology’ product was a bust, and guess what – after a exhaustive (and expensive) study, the researchers determined that people weren’t ready to convert from their old ‘analog’ displays to numeric displays for the simple reason I mentioned above – numeric displays didn’t (and still don’t) let you know at a glance ‘what time it isn’t…

So, now that I have once again strapped my old mechanical, self-winding (no battery) analog display, vintage Rolex chronometer (fancy name for a wristwatch) onto its proper home on my left wrist – I’ll stick with it – and if I’m early or late for anything at all, I’ll know in an instant, thus giving my rapidly shrinking octogenarian brain cells a much needed breather…

© 2014 – Alan Mowbray Jr.        

 

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One thought on “BITS and PIECES # 51

  1. mkhulu says:

    Zackly

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