Monday, January 5, 2009

CataTONICally Speaking

As is inherently apparent by the title of this webzine, I have a pesky preoccupation with felines and time - or, more specifically, cats and clocks. Indeed, for me, the two are intertwined; clocks are a way to measure time - or, more concretely, a way to cage in something that intrinsically defies such confinement. Cats, similarly, cannot be confined or contained; their existence is predicated on transcending time and space constraints. Felines embody the very negation of time.

Time is a consequential notion in my life because I am, indeed, NEVER on time. Punctuality is not my thang. I've had friends who are way worse than me, but suffice it to say that in my work and personal life, I am not known for punctuality. Problem is, my line of work is public school teaching, and anyone who has any familiarity at all with public schools knows that time is everything, so much so that schedules are calculated to the very sliver of a minute.

When I first started teaching six years ago, I was amazed that classes would end at such odd times as 10:47. There is very little rounding up or down to the nearest zero or five, the more logical approach. Sometimes I joke that we could start or end a class at, say, 11:03 and 20 seconds, just to compound matters and throw teachers into even more of a frenzy.

A teacher learns, therefore, that every minute literally counts. And a teacher learns how to divide minutes into "packages" in order to optimize efficiency.

But again, I am not a time-oriented person, and so I have had to force myself into these little constructed clock-boxes in order to capably carry out my teaching tasks.

It's healthy, I suppose, to impose such constraints on oneself, in order to attain a certain discipline. If it weren't for work, for example, I would stay up all night, as I am a creature of the nocturne. And if it weren't for routine, I would do nothing but surf the net - which is what I pretty much do anyway.

But really, my impulsive response to the concept of time, or, rather, the caging in of it, is, "screw time." I don't like it. I don't need it. My whimsically creative core resists and resents having to be dictated to by clocks.

So what's the point of my anti-time tirade? Nothing, really, other than to apologize for not getting Clockwise Cat out in a more "timely" manner.

I am trying to get it out every other month, but it's happening a bit more sporadically than that. Clockwise Cat is my passion, truly, and yet, my life is cluttered by too many damn time constraints.

And this is why I have cats - to remind me of the silly futility of clocks.


Holita said...

It certainly makes sense to me. Time is futile. Or is it of the essence? I can't figure it out either. All I know is that time is not my friend!

nadine sellers said...

i threw watches away, the way i did irons and bras, with gleeful rebellion.
something to do, something to mark this, my time on earth with fewer constraints.
i threw caps over the edge of formal writing, to mark the humility in humanity.
cats know, clocks don't, i keep on ticking away from convention, and so do you, apparently.

Daniel Wilcox said...

Clocks versus cats:-)

I knew you loved cats, didn't know you hated time constraints or were a teacher.

I can certainly understand as I taught literature and writing for 26 years before retiring early--couldn't take Bush's "no child left with a mind;-)"

Yes, to be a teacher is like being both a sprinter and a long distance runner. I used to pace myself by the clock in my room, minute by minute trying to get 3 hours done every hour an a half (because we were on block scheduling where students were supposed to learn a whole year in one semester of instruction. Yeah, right, sort of liking eating a steak in 10 minutes instead of 20 (only I don't since I am semi-vegetarian).

However my cat isn't. She loves smoked salmon. Everytime I get out the can opener in the kitchen she comes running:-)

Thanks for finding time to create The Clockwise Cat. I very much enjoy reading the issues.

Daniel Wilcox

Anonymous said...

There are two observations i have which lead me to believe that the ways we use to measure time are flawed anyway..

1. I seem to live on a 30 hour day. Without work, I'll stay up later and later day by day, and then all night, and then into the morning, until at very last within a month I've wound my way around the clock and have lived every shift.

2. If we make up a full day every four years (leap year) because our calendar years are really a quarter-day off, aren't we slowly drifting back in time for three years until we ::LURCH:: to make it all back up at once? This seems to be an unnatural way to do this. All are clocks are, then, always wrong except for the first minute after February 29th.

I rest my case.

opiumpoetry said...

I have difficulty reading the black script on purple background. Could you change the script to white? I bet I'm not the only person who has this problem.

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Chicago said it best, I'd say:

Does anybody really know what time it is?

Does anybody really care?

If so, I can't imagine why.

We've all got time enough to cry...

(I have to say, for forty years every time I've heard somebody ask what time it is, that lyric plays through my head...)