In the waning months and weeks and days of my last job, two of my co-workers and I would often stare at the clock at specific times of the day. We worked at a radio station so naturally there were clocks everywhere, the digital kind, the kind that are linked up to the atomic clock in Colorado or something and always display the EXACT time to the second.
We liked it when the clock showed the same number all the way across. We liked palindromic numbers, but we especially liked the ever elusive: 12:34:56.
Why? Who knows. We loved it. We disrupted meetings on more than one occasion because we would let out a whoop and clap when we caught the clock. If we missed it for some reason we’d let out a collective groan.
Things are a little different now that I’m not surrounded by highly accurate digital clocks. If I am done with breakfast and I notice that it’s 8:12am, mentally I can’t start anything until 8:30am. I think 8:15am would feel right, but only if it were 8:02am plus or minus a couple of minutes. If I need to be somewhere at a certain time, I will often try to make sure I leave the house on a :15. I don’t like being late to anything and tend to arrive obnoxiously early to nearly everything as a result. So much time wasted waiting for time. If I don’t hit the mark I’ve mentally set up for myself it’s not devastating, but it feels better when I get it “right”.
My best days are when I never look at a time keeping device, more specifically when I don’t even want to know what time it is. It means I am fully engaged in in the task at hand, my brain is not trying to find an excuse to reconnect to the outside world. I do things as they occur to me, not when they fit into my tidy timetable that only I know and adhere to.
While I was being evaluated as a potential living liver donor for my husband, I had a couple of appointments with a psychiatrist. After about 30 minutes he mentioned that I had obsessive tendencies, but that it didn’t preclude me from being a donor. I laughed because I don’t think anyone has ever pegged me that fast. To be fair, that’s his job and he asked a lot of probative questions and I answered them all very honestly. And on most days, my obsessive tendencies are helpful to others–you can always count on me to arrive on time!–and merely an inconvenience for me. All of this has me thinking I should make a real effort to let go of my time obsession, but I think I’ll wait until March 1st.