The brown leather plush seats feel sumptuously cozy, and yet the champagne glow emitting from the two mini-sized crystal chandeliers within the car give it all yet another splendor. On either side of the car polished wooden panes frame large rectangle windows, spotlessly showing the whizzing landscapes. Lazily wafting through the sliding doors now is the smell of flavoured roast grilled Cornish hens about to be served with warm oven baked baguettes of bread that are being prepared in the next carriage for supper. The table’s cut glassware and silver continue rattling as each spin of the wheel down under grates the track, forcing metal to grind against metal. And then, you realize it.
Time has this horrid habit of quickening when you dread something that’s coming. It is but an unstoppable, incrementing force, forging through regardless of who it might affect. It reminds one of a runaway train headed on a one way track to a cemented endwall, mechanically deaf to its screaming passengers. That is what a deadline feels like; because at the end of the line the entity will be dead. Trivial paper writing comes to a halt when it smashes into a deadline as do the precious life seconds of a cancer patient or the summer holiday of a college student.
This is why Time is a two faced git. Time can be your best friend but also one of your worst enemies all perhaps within the same day. Ruthlessly systematic, it is fairly just, showing favoritism to no-one but enforcing itself upon every-one. Ever heard of that phrase “all good things come to an end?” The bastard responsible for that is Time. But that same bastard was also your one close ally who helped you get over the loss of a loved one and that earth shattering break-up of what you thought was true love. So, then, what do we make of this two faced beast?
In a way though, we created Time didn’t we? Well, at least the accounting of it. As Heidegger puts it: “we are time.” That lovely public encyclopedia puts it best when it writes: “we simultaneously grasp the past in memory, the present by attention, and the future by expectation.” Can we think of a world without time? What would that mean, necessitate, or result in? The thought of it is jarring because Time is considered as a given natural.
Even more contesting are the different explanations put forward to explain the functions of Time. Newtonian Time describes it as a sequential film reel with snap shots which can be looked at. Others such as Kant differ, telling us that Time is known only as an object of representation, a mental concept that allows us to compare, contrast, and organize ourselves; basically, that it is not real, instead we make it real for our own purposes of accountancy. This view comes into light better with my next problematic sentence (because it shows how human time really is). God is outside of time.
I write with a tinge of annoyance against Time. I love Time for what it has done for me and helped me get through, but it truly is a love-hate relationship. There is an impending deadline and that is my cause to be caustic. I dread it. All I can do is keep thinking of it and the time I have left within its shrinking bandwidth. When Time has allowed the imposition of a deadline one becomes the passenger inside its runaway car. It is tending towards a destination and one can do nothing to stop it. I see it as a dead end, followed soon after by more beads of deadlines and ends and I am left strangled within the confines of glass, wood and steel.
Its engines are not mine to stop. Its brakes are not mine to pull. A stationary passenger, I travel towards its impending finality. I look out through the window and the world is zooming pass me not caring if I’m with it or not. And so, I realize. All I have left to do is to make most of the journey within the train-car itself. If time is ticking and dissipating with each tick, then the only choice one has left to make in retaliation is to make the most of the given before the pendulum’s last swing. So bring in that Cornish hen and that buttered french bread. Imminent fate looks better with a fuller stomach. Adieu.