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AM or PM - When it comes to time, it's all in the details

Lake Region Times of Madison Lake, Minnesota

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SLICES OF LIFE

"Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?"

The idea of time and running late have been an issue since at least 1969 when the band, Chicago, sang this snappy tune. The lyrics came to mind this morning as I was lying in bed. I'd just rolled over to enjoy a luxurious nine long minutes before the alarm rang when my husband asked, "You know your clock is wrong, don't you?"

I sat up with a jolt. The red flickering lights said 6:21. "It's really about 6:37," he said.

"Since when?" I asked, suddenly very wide-awake.

"At least a couple days now," he said observantly.

I truly hadn't noticed. I only set my alarm when I have an early morning meeting, which is a rarity. Otherwise, I subscribe to the freer practice of "I wake up when one of the kids pull's on my toes" routine of life.

It's not that I don't value clocks. I've got one on my beside table. There is another on my husband's side. We've got one in each of the kids' rooms. There are four in the kitchen, two on the computer, one in my van. And, of course my smartphone is up to the minute when it comes to time.

Still, I never really know what time it is. None of our clocks are set exactly the same. Even the ones in the kitchen. One will read 7:29 when the other across the room says 7:32. This may not seem momentous, but three minutes can be a deal breaker when you are running late for the school bus.

And a 16-minute discrepancy on your bedside clock is equal to an eternity by anyone's early-morning standards.

When I am on my A game, I set my clocks about five minutes fast. Even though I'm aware 5:05 really means 5:00, I operate like I don't know and believe this little trick helps me get to where I need to go on time. Some of the time. I don't pretend to understand the psychology of it. I'm just going with the flow and hoping not to be too late (versus slightly so).

More often than not though, time has its way of getting away from me. I don't think I'm alone. Who hasn't raced to an early morning work meeting or from work to the fifth grade music program hoping to get there before the final song is complete? I know I'm guilty of participating in similar true-life reality challenges at least twice a week.

If I do find myself with a handful of extra minutes, I feel the necessity to fill them with a quick run to the post office or a speedy zip through the car wash. Or maybe I just check my email or update an app. Whatever the activity, I am always challenging time, pushing the limits and trying to squeeze an extra second or two out of every minute.

In other words, running late.

So when I suddenly lost 16 minutes this morning, I was in a familiar spot. I dove out of bed and into the shower faster than you can say "snooze button," and didn't give my alarm clock another thought.

Until precisely at 6:30 this evening, when it finally went off. So much for me and clocks.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. You can read more and follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.



Copyright 2014 Lake Region Times, Madison Lake, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: December 3, 2014



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