Tag Archives: time

Watch out – it’s my time to feel very old

I was in a train yesterday when I heard an adult male voice across the aisle and slightly behind me say: 

“…and it’s got one to twelve on it because it’s divided into twelve hours and when this pointer is at 9 and the other pointer is just coming up to 7…”

He seemed to be explaining how a clock worked.

This seemed a little surreal.

I looked across and slightly back and, sure enough, the young man – in his early twenties or, maybe very late teens – was talking to his two friends – of similar age.

They all looked like they might holiday in Torremolinos for the sun, sex and club discos.

The man who was talking had  his left arm raised, pointing to the watch on his wrist with his right forefinger.

It was an analogue watch with a fairly large round face and his friends looked genuinely interested.

These were not children.

These were nightclub-going Essex type adults.

The man with the watch started explaining how the longer pointer showed the minutes and the shorter pointer showed the hours.

This got more and more mind-warping for me until I realised – guessed – that maybe – just maybe – he and his friends had never actually seen an analogue watch before.

Maybe – just maybe – they had grown up and lived their entire lives only seeing the time displayed digitally – on watches, on mobile phones, on TV screens.

They must surely have seen the clock face of ‘Big Ben’ on a TV screen at some point in their lives but – hey! – maybe they just thought it was some decorative whim at the top of the tower.

I felt very old.

I grew up in a world of primitive, long ago technology – analogue watches – as old and dead and near-forgotten as Latin.

Fugit inreparabile tempus.

“…send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee…”

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Filed under Age, Nostalgia

An inconsequential and pointless blog… on an itchy nose and a pigeon’s hiccups

I remember thinking once that, perhaps – on one morning in the Middle Ages – perhaps in the middle of the 14th century – perhaps just before lunch on a Monday – a man in a field in England – or some other country in Britain – got an itch on the side of his nose. And the itch was so insistent that he, automatically, without thinking about it, scratched the itch – perhaps it took less than two seconds – and then he carried on with his life.

Later – perhaps only 10 minutes later in his life – he would have totally forgotten that the itch ever existed.

But, at the time – for those few seconds – perhaps less than two seconds – it was the overwhelming physical fact in his life.

No-one now – perhaps six centuries later – remembers that the man himself even existed, let alone knows about the itch.

Those two seconds – when the itch was the most overwhelmingly insistent thing in his life – were infinitely less than the tip of a needle in eternity.

But they existed for that lost pin tip in eternity.

A pigeon eating a crisp… well, part of a crisp… today

I was sitting on the platform at Cricklewood station in London this afternoon, when a pigeon walked up to my feet and started eating a discarded crisp (not mine) on the ground.

The pigeon had five pecks then got hiccups.

It had 16 little hiccups (I counted), looked as startled as I was and then recovered its composure.

I think they were hiccups.

A pigeon having hiccups… or perhaps coughing… today

They may have been little coughs.

It is difficult to tell with pigeons and I had never before heard nor seen a pigeon with hiccups – nor coughing.

Then the pigeon walked away, looking for other discarded or random foodstuffs.

I do not know how long pigeons remember things.

Probably not very long.

But this incident did happen…

…for infinitely less than the tip of a needle in eternity

… like everything else I blog about here.

Tempus fugit et nunquam redit

…as long-dead people used to say

… or maybe Tempus fugit et nunquam reddit

… or Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

It has all been said before

…by those who said it better.

It doesn’t matter.

Best forgotten.

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Filed under Philosophy, time

To see the world in a grain of time. And heartburn in a re-heated dead chicken.

MyMouthI ate a piece of chicken from a takeaway stall in Camden Lock yesterday afternoon. That was probably the cause. It may have been re-heated.

I felt a little queasy when I got home – nothing serious; just a bit of a dicky tummy – and so I went to bed early.

There then followed a whole orchestra of different little bits-and-pieces which meant I had a troubled non-sleep.

Little bits of coughing (nothing unusual there – someone once gave me the unwieldy nickname John ‘Irritating Cough’ Fleming).

But I also had a burning, acidy feeling inside my chest and in a vertical line down my front – presumably acid reflux. And hiccups. And some bouts of building coughing which never quite got to the actual puke point but which came pretty close. And what seemed like sniffles of the nose like the start of a cold but which, I guess, were caused by the orgasms of coughing annoying my nasal passages.

Eventually, some time in the middle of the night, I DID mercifully get to the point of mild vomiting in the toilet and that seemed to get me over whatever it was.

But the point is that – somewhere in among all this fitful sleeping – I can’t remember exactly where – I woke up in the middle of a dream which, as long-term readers of this blog will know, means I was actually aware of what was in my dream. I only ever remember having a dream perhaps once every six months if I wake up during one.

I was in a tube train at Camden Town station. No mystery there, as that is the tube station for Camden Lock, where I had been in the afternoon.

The  carriage was quite crowded with lots of people and, of course, they all had different faces.

But, as well as being aware of their different faces, I was aware of the unique, separate strands of their individual lives. I could understand what each person was feeling at that exact moment and how it fitted into their life strand – when they were a child and in their twenties and how their life stretched ahead of them in experiences until their death.

And, as I looked from face to face, I could move from life to life and could experience how all the strands ran separately and how, for just these few minutes, they intersected.

Unique strands running through the same decades but separately, leading to this brief intersection, then each stretching separately ahead along their own unique strand to death.

So it goes.

Who needs drugs?

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Filed under Death, Dreams

One of those occasional death blogs

I always thought this photo of me was rather charming. Someone once said to me: “You weren’t a pretty baby, then.” (Photo near Davaar Island, Scotland)

I always thought this photo of me was rather cuddly – until someone I knew once said to me: “Oh – You weren’t a pretty baby, then.” (Photo taken near Davaar Island, Scotland)

I have a couple of blog chats recorded and ready to be transcribed. They should be interesting if quite-complicated-to-write. And they should be quite jolly.

But, instead, you are getting one of those occasional blogs about death.

Largely because it is quicker to write.

A friend of mine years ago told me she was afraid of dying, afraid of the prospect of non-existence.

I have never really had that problem.

I tried to kill myself when I was 18. It was not a cry for help. It was a genuine attempt. But I was always shit at chemistry. I mis-calculated. What can I say?

The trouble is you can’t sensibly kill yourself because it adversely affects other people. Even if it’s only the unknown-to-you person who has to scrape you up.

But I know what it is like to ‘know’ (wrongly) that I am going to die in ten minutes or three hours or 45 minutes or a couple of hours or two minutes time. Pretty soon, anyway.

And I know death can happen at any time without warning. When I got accidentally hit by an articulated lorry when I was standing on a pavement in 1991 – when I fell, I hit the back of my head against the right-angled edge of a low brick wall, cutting open my head and jarring my spine – I could easily have been killed or paralysed.

I remember reading that some bloke was mending his bicycle in his living room just before Christmas 1988 – well, actually, it was Wednesday 21st December 1988.

It was in the Scottish town of Lockerbie, a quiet backwater – I had been there sometimes with my parents when they visited friends there.

And a Pan Am jumbo jet fell on his street. Not my parents’ friends’ street. The bloke mending the bicycle. The piece I read said he ceased to exist: his body melted along with the bricks of the house. How they knew he was mending his bike in his living room I have no idea.

Anyway, I don’t care about not existing – I never have since I was 18, which might explain something of my psychology.

But, last week, I was thinking about something which happened 30 years ago and, somehow, it felt like I could, inside me, feel Time… How that 30 years fitted into 100,000 or 100 million or a 100 billion years… And, inside, I felt frightened. There was a little physical chill inside my torso and a psychological fear.

And I don’t know why.

I almost never feel frightened because – to quite a large extent – I really don’t give a shit. What is going to happen? Someone is gonna kill me? A jumbo jet is going to unexpectedly fall on my head? I don’t care.

So it was a surprise to be frightened by (it seemed to me) feeling the brevity and pointlessness of 30 years in a million years or 30 billion years. I know it’s all pointless. It does not worry me. I don’t care. I know what it feels like to ‘know’ I will be dead in ten minutes. Or to have had something happen without warning that could have killed me instantly.

A better understanding of chemistry and I would have died.

Another half inch and I might have died.

Another angle-of-decline, the jumbo jet would have hit another street.

It’s random.

Last week I left the room I was in and went out and walked to the shops, didn’t buy anything and came back.

The feeling went.

So it goes.

Tomorrow, normal blog service resumes.

Unless a jumbo jet falls on my head or I hiccup myself to death.

It’s random.

Anything is possible.

And that can be a good or a bad thing.

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Filed under Death