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What's my time?

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

What's my time?

Andrew Ryan

One of the greatest misconceptions in human experience is that time is real. It is not real. Time is a human construct, invented to organise human activity. And not only do the past and future exist only in our imaginations and memories, but each person experiences time differently. Each person allows their separate perception of time to alter what they believe to be their own reality, and we’re all just floating around in our time space bubbles, bumping into each other, and occasionally experimenting with altering our realities.

The way we measure time is by comparison. The last time I had a cigarette before the one I’m smoking right now was approximately twelve hours ago. If I didn’t have clock to tell me that this is the truth, I would know because the moon, while I was smoking last night, was in approximately the same position in the sky as the sun currently is. If it was as cloudy today as it was yesterday, I wouldn’t be able to figure this out. But the mild head spin I’m experiencing would tell me that this is indeed the first cigarette of my day, given that this head spin isn’t experienced if I had a cigarette less than four hours ago, and four hours ago, I had been asleep for about two hours. Comparisons abound.

But while I was asleep, there was no way of knowing how long I was sleeping for. I woke up feeling terrible, because I hadn’t had nearly enough sleep, and I can only assume that I was awakened by my alarm half way through a particularly deep part of my sleep cycle. If I hadn’t been woken by my alarm, but still awoke at this time, I would know I hadn’t slept for more than five hours because my body was feeling so fucking god awful.

Sixteen hours ago, I was doing shots of some very strong Israeli liquor, sipping red wine, and researching time perception. I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that this happened sixteen hours ago, because after the afore mentioned booze, the beer I drank when I stopped in at a bar for… maybe forty five minutes?half an hour doesn’t seem long enough, and an hour seems too long and the Valium pills I took when I got home- for research, I swear- my perception of all the events between then and now is, I feel, completely skewed.

I had drunk more than the two friends who were with me, so when I say I must have spent what felt like fifteen minutes staring blankly at a wikipedia article about sensory threshold, reading quietly to myself to try to take it in, they could easily say it was only five minutes. Or two. Or twenty. They were chatting away, about something I can’t remember, but because they were discussing which side of the Red Sea they have stood on at some point in their lives earlier in the evening, I’m inclined to think they may have been discussing that again. Six months from now, I could be certain that this is what they were talking about. But they probably didn’t notice that I was staring instead of typing, and probably couldn’t even pick how long I was even at the computer. Neither could I for that matter.

In the car on the way home, I had the option of going to one house and partaking in some speed, or going to another house and taking Valium, both of which would result in an article for Cool Perth Nights at the end of it all. I find speed to be an enjoyable drug, because I love the sense of urgency I feel when it goes up my nose. It is the perfect writing helper-outer-er; one is excited by new ideas, but can focus them into a coherent structure if the ability to do so already exists in one’s mind tank. Everything is sped up, with all the extra dopamine and norepinephrine running around in there, making you believe that it is totally necessary to crunch down and just go go go go go go go go…

However, as I have already mentioned, I opted for Valium. This was the better choice only because it was the legal choice- in every other way, a depressant sleeping pill is obviously not going to have a good affect on the way I write an article. Even now, I can still feel the effects, and I want nothing more than to stare at my new favourite website until I feel capable of joining the real world again. I might get some chips later, because I know I should eat- not because I’m hungry, but because it’s been too long since I’ve eaten. Too long? I ate a Caesar salad pizza (EGG ON A PIZZA LOVE) eighteen hours ago, and I know from past experience that eighteen hours between meals isn’t very good. This time separations between events rule how I live my life. And I can’t be sure if this is a good or a bad thing. I guess it just IS.

Back to last night… I lost all concept of time. I was reading for hours (or was it minutes?), couldn’t bring myself to type anything more than the words “light is the fastest things humans can measure”, was talking for a few minutes about the things I was reading about (or was it hours?), and was occasionally kissing my lover in what I thought was a slow, passionate manner, but could also have been rushed and sloppy, while I slipped in and out of conciousness. I allowed some repressed memories and habits to come to the surface for the sake of testing my boundaries, felt like I was floating and sinking at the same time, and instead of watching the sun rise and seeing through this day I’ve been told is twenty four hours from start to end, I opted for sleep, regardless of the warning from Editor that if I send articles in late, I could easily make him crash his car as he rushes to the place he can’t be late to, the place he has to be after the mail-out is mailed out. Luckily, he won’t be crashing today. Hopefully he never crashes. But one day he might. So might I. But that future only exists in my imagination right now.

Our lives revolve mostly around time, that barely existent fourth dimension, the one that is there only because we think it is. It is up the the individual whether or not we take it seriously, whether or not we make plans for the future, whether or not we allow a longing for, or a hatred of, the past to rule how we handle ourselves in the present. It seems to me that the ability to take time, like any human construct (money, morals, religion) in your stride, and just exist purely as yourself within your environment is the most satisfying way to be. Everything is a choice, and your reality is what you have created. You are not a slave to a clock, and you should know that by now!