I Heart Clocks

Astronomical Clock from Strasburg

I just got my desktop calendar for 2008. What a wonderful gift! More than just a place to write down appointments and bill-paying schedules, I feel like I’ve been given a year. If my old calendar had run out and a new one hadn’t been ready to replace it, I would have drifted around feeling lost until my new calendar arrived.Yes, time is a construct, it’s all relative, blah blah blah. I spend time thinking about these things too, and I find the idea of time as relative really fascinating, but when all is said and done, I like to know where I am in the universe, temporally speaking.

I feel the same way about clocks and watches as I do about calendars; that is to say, a bit obsessive. If I don’t have a watch on, I feel lost. I surround myself with clocks at work and at home. Partially, I like clocks. I think they’re very cool machines and some of them extraordinarily beautiful. But also, I like to know what time it is.

Is this a feature of modern Americans? I know time is less important in some cultures than in others, but why? Why am I obsessive about the time? Is it because my life is built around being at certain places at certain times? I’m trying to remember whether I was able to get over my time-mania on my trip to Mexico. Probably, a little at least.

Now, there’s the Astronomical Clock, pictured above (this one from Strasbourg, France). I think that indicates that the people most concerned about time were medieval monks. I don’t think I have much in common with them, but don’t get me wrong – if I could have a clock like that built into my next house, I would.


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