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The Whole-Body Way to Tell Time
Tell any little kid "It's time to go," and see if you don't get the response, "Five more minutes!" This response, however, is not actually about time at all. "Five more minutes," they know, means "not yet," but the difference between one minute or five or five hundred is negligible. "Is it bedtime?" my daughter asks me at 10 in the morning, when the sun passes behind a cloud. The day after Halloween: "Is it Halloween again yet?" And then, mid-April, "Why is it taking so long to be Halloween again?"
But really, who does understand how time works? We've all had five minuteses that went in the blink of an eye, and others that lasted eternities. We've all had days spent traveling that seem to expand to include a lifetime; hours at a desk that creep by as if wounded. And yet in our daily existence, we've stripped time of its mysteries: we don't think much about it past how to fit tasks into the calendar. We glance at clocks as if they were maps, just to see where we are in the day, how late or how early for the next thing.
So next time you want to know what time it is, I suggest looking here.
In Mark Formanek's "Standard Time," workers painstakingly change a huge, wooden "digital" clock manually, minute by minute. The process is sometimes graceful (changing an 8 to a 9 looks like a dancestep), sometimes painstaking (those 10s!), but every minute makes itself felt. The longer you watch, the more absurd "telling time" seems as a practice. As the official website says, "Even though the workers are trying hard to construct every single minute, they are constantly on the verge of failing." Who hasn't had a day like that? Still, we construct each minute, even if sometimes it's less graceful than others.
It's Blue O'Clock
The Wind Map
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