Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock… Be there at seven… Leave at nine… Finish this at ten… Start this at five… It’s twelve… I am late! Run out the door, speed drive to get there just in time… to find out it was too late.
Everything in society runs on time. If a person is late to school by ONE minute, he or she will have to stay THIRTY minutes after school in detention. How is that fair? If someone is late to work ONCE, their job is at stake. I understand why time is crucial to life. Without it, society would not be organized at all. When an individual waits outside in the blazing, hot sun for their friend, who arrives three hours later… that is a problem. But, ONE minute… the world is not going to end if someone is late by A MINUTE.
Sometimes I wonder, if people are speed driving to arrive on time, what happens if they receive a $200 speeding ticket, or if they never even make it to their destination? They are risking their whole life, just to get to their destination on time. Are the consequences received if they arrive late, worth putting their life in danger?
People may blame me for this problem, claiming that if I had woken up early in the first place, or had taken less time in the shower, I would make it on time. But, I am trying to point out the flaw in society that keeps everyone in chains. Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote, “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” At the time he was concerned about the government and people’s rights, but what if the “chains” he was talking about was society?
Our culture is obsessed with the most obscure moments in the world. The bell at school, for example, determines the student’s’ actions. First bell… the students rise from their seats. Second bell… the students rush to their class. Third bell… the students sit down to start their next class. One small sound that rings every time the clock reaches a certain time, transforms children ready to learn, to robots rising and sitting controlled by a man-made machine. If we are not in such a rush to get to places on time, maybe we would be doing so much more good deeds instead of rushing past a fallen child, or a grandma in need of assistance. Could it be a flaw in our culture or is the whole world obsessed with time?
When I visited Egypt, I learned a concept called “Egyptian Timing.” Egyptian timing can be arriving from half an hour to five hours later than intended. When my mom would tell me we had a long day ahead of us and we were leaving our hotel at 6:00 in the morning, I would end up waking up at 6:30 AM. This concept was implemented in the whole country: work, school, appointments, or even bus schedules.
The difference between the two cultures is one lets time control society’s actions, while in the second culture, society controls time. Before falling asleep, most people review their day, and then plan their schedule for the next day. I am also guilty of just laying in bed thinking, “I have to wake up at 8:00 AM tomorrow, so I can arrive at 9:00 AM, on time…” Each community has its own obsessions, and it is each individual’s responsibility not to get caught up in them. The universe’s obsession is supernaturalism. The world’s obsessions are basic needs, and America’s obsession is Time.