Confessions of a Clock King

If I truly have one obsession in my life, it has to be time. If the clock on my computer is just two minutes fast, I have to reset it. If I see a VCR clock flashing “12:00,” I have to adjust it. If I go even 10 minutes without my watch, I start to flip out. So, you can imagine how my life has been for the last two days. It was two days ago when my watch strap broke, and I haven’t been able to wear it. Sure, you are probably asking “Why don’t you just carry it in your pocket?” I can’t do that because my pants have this incredibly huge hole in the pocket, and it would mean the instant loss of my watch. I could put on a different pair of pants, but I’m too much of a slob to consider that option. So, two days of asking people “What time is it?” Two days of constantly scanning rooms, looking for clocks. I can’t take it anymore! And an obsession with time doesn’t just stop at clocks.

See, since I’m never too far from my watch, everything in my life is scheduled. An obsession with time leads to an obsession with being on time. In school, I was always five minutes early for class. When I go to the movies, I have to be in my seat a minimum of half an hour before show time. I get mad if a favorite TV show is starting late because of a news thing. It could be a news report like “The United States declared war on Canada today, and the first biological warheads were sighted heading towards Edmonton. . .” and my only thought will be “Where’s X-Files? It’s three minutes late!” Being a slave to the watch means becoming a slave to the schedule. And it doesn’t help when you have one humongous schedule looming over your head.

A few days ago, it was my birthday. I am now 22 years old. I have been in existence for 22 years (or 22 years and 9 months, depending on when you believe life begins). This means out comes the schedule! You get all moody and introspective and start looking at “the schedule of your life.” We generally laugh at people who have their lives mapped out, but we all do it on some sub-conscious level. When I turned 7, my plan was at this point in my life I was to be driving trains across the country. I really wanted to be an engineer at that age. When I turned 13, my plan was at this point in my life to have become the youngest astronaut in the Canadian Space Agency, and to have had sex at least twice. When I turned 17, my plan was at this point in my life, I would be prepping to go for my masters degree in some scientific field, settling down with my true love, and getting ready to have the 2.3 kids. The reality: I’m a 22 year old virgin, living in my parents’ basement, with a B.SC. in Physics that the establishment tells me is useless, and just confused about where to go from here. This was not scheduled. My timing seems to have escaped me. The watch strap broke for me a long time ago, it seems.

But how did I spend my birthday? Well, most of the morning was spent doing that moody, introspective thing. At lunchtime, I had cheered up enough to open up the gifts my parents got me. This is the sad thing about growing up: you don’t get cool things for your birthday anymore. You just get clothes. Although, the Darth Maul shorts are pretty nifty. The afternoon, and more moody introspection. Only now, I was doing it in nifty Darth Maul shorts. Then, my mother had a proposal. Every year, since my 11th birthday, my parents took me in to see a movie for my birthday. I can still name every film I saw on each of my birthdays. But, this year, an opportunity presented itself, and I elected to see Star Wars: Episode I for the second time. I was still feeling kind of down. My life was not planned to turn out like this.

My moody afternoon passed. I did smile occasionally when the song What Would Brain Boitano Do? from the South Park movie ran through my head. For the most part, though, I was just run down. But, before long, I was in the theater, and the movie was about to start. I had been waiting for Episode I for a long time, and even though this was the second time I saw it, I just smile my biggest smile when those words appear on screen: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away. . . . I couldn’t help it. That was the only time on my birthday that I was completely happy. I was smiling throughout the whole movie, but not as big as when I saw those words. Out of all my schedules, there was only one thing that remained constant. I would always make time to watch a Star Wars film. Being enraptured by this film, something began to don on me.

Very early in the film, Qui-Gon Jinn is telling Obi-Wan Kenobi one of those Jedi lessons. The lesson pointed out that we should be aware of the future, but live in the moment. Jedis, apparently, don’t follow schedules. You never see Obi-Wan Kenobi fretting about how his life didn’t turn out as planned, or that he’s running late for an appointment. Forgive me for my geekieness, but it looks like I can learn from the Jedi Knights. And I started smiling again.

So, who cares that I’m a virgin? Who cares that I’m not an astronaut? Who cares that I didn’t even get one happy birthday e-mail from any of my friends? Live for the moment. Ignore the schedules. Just live! Do your own thing! I never planned on being spontaneous. I still have trouble with it. Every one is on me to get some plans in place, but I don’t want to. For once, I want to know what it’s like to go without the schedule. And that’s what I’m doing right now. So, how come I’m climbing the walls because my watch strap broke? Apparently, old habits are hard to break. But, if all goes well, I’ll be getting my watch put back together. And then, I can start following the schedule again! I can focus on getting employed, buying a DVD player, and having sex!

Right after this TV show.

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