I started the after Christmas Thank You note with “Thanks for nothing!” … and I meant it. Because someone dear to me had given me …….nothing! It went something like:
“Thank you for nothing. No, really, it was so so kind of you to give me nothing for Christmas. The vacuous thought that decided that nothing was appropriate was spot-on, I just love the empty, expurgated, expunged, evaporated plastic enclosure of nothing. It complements the sand timer someone else gave me, which for a reason better known to itself, measures 15 minutes of …… time! Maybe it measure 15 minutes of ….. nothing. I don’t know, ‘cos I know nothing.”
My bubble pack of ‘Nothing’ was ‘guaranteed to do absolutely nothing’ … and if something happened I was to return it for a full refund! So clever … to get someone to pay for …. nothing! I just had to share this with you as a fortnight after Christmas I’m still thinking about …. nothing!
This fifteen-minute measurer I’m just not sure about! That’s ten times the time it takes for my three eggs to boil every morning ….. only a sixth of my daily Bikram Yoga session …… more or less than the time it takes me to complete the Killer Sudoku puzzle as they vary in difficulty …. half the time it takes for the dishwasher to complete its business … Oh! I know! A timer to measure boiling an Ostrich egg? The giver feels I should recognise that “15 minutes is longer than we often give to many of the things we ostensibly think of as so important.”!
I’ve upturned the timer by my laptop, to measure the time it takes to write this PC. Have you ever read a dictionary definition of ‘time’? “Indefinite continuous duration regarded as a dimension in which a sequence of events takes place, but it has a finite duration as distinct from eternity.” Oh! Yes! It’s a dimension. Space and time have their own peculiarities. Space has three dimensions; length breadth and height but Time has only one, from the past through the present to the future. It is inevitable, unrepeatable and irreversible.
Time? You can’t physically feel it, touch it, but you know it passes …er …. as sure as day leads into night? Well! Of course; the early humans recognised there was a pattern, a rhythm to this earthly existence and they called it time.
In Yoga one of the postures is Savasana or ‘dead-body pose’ in which you are meant to lie still, unresponsive to sweat dripping or muscles aching or a nose needing twitching (well, you get the drift?), clearing your mind of stuff so that nothing takes its place. Going from ‘mindful’ to ‘mindless’! So easy to do – not! And still the clock ticks …..
But guess what? The timer’s stopped!! No! Really! The sand was in too much of a hurry to get into the bottom glass ……. and the grains got jammed! Uncle Tommy gave it a nudge and off it went again …… but this time measuring more than 15 minutes!
There are so many good quotations concerning time and why not! It affects all of us who are alive, all of the ….. er ….. time, even when we’re thinking of nothing. I love Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “There is a time in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of one’s life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea am I now afloat, and I must take the current when it serves or lose my venture”. The nautical theme echoes in “Time and tide wait for no man”
In my post major surgery existence, my time seems to be measured by the bloody box of medication! Every week I fill it up with the morning and evening pills (the betablockers, statins and other stuff which my doctor says I must take) Suddenly the box is empty again, there’s nothing in it and I have to go through the whole rigmarole again of filling it up. Another week of my life just gone. So much for Louis Armstrong’s “We have all the time in the world.” Not true!
I recently was challenged by someone who had a very contrary view to me about life. I couldn’t crudely dismiss their view as it was earnestly put but what was before this life, and what was after this life, was/is surely better than life itself? I tried to make light of this in conversation, as for me life is for living, in every way possible, sucking the very breath out of it, and whilst I accept that death is inevitable, it’ll come soon enough I don’t need to think about it … or prepare for it!! “Before” I might have been a pig; “after” I might be a flying pig, even pink! But right now is my time, my life; as sure as eggs are eggs (ostrich eggs?) my time will come to an end ……… but time itself will simply run on …. and on.
Richard Yates – firstname.lastname@example.org