I never know the time here. I guess it’s about 6 or 7 pm on the ninth of July and I’ve been up basically all night. I slept for a while with my coat over me to block out the morning sun. I must have looked like a Halloween ghost wearing the wrong colours, slouched in the passenger seat.
On the subject of time, it seems to me that the clock is the ultimate fascist. Everything is a race; the alarm sounds and you get up or you hit snooze and it harasses you back to consciousness again five minutes later. Then you rush to get a bus or you sit in your car, tapping your steering wheel in traffic, eyes flitting to the digital display on the dashboard every thirty seconds, checking the time all the way to work. Inside the office, the dictatorship of the clock is in full effect.
God, how the seconds drag; you experience a mind-numbing restriction of personal liberty until the clock informs you that your slog is over, then it’s a battle through rush hour packed roads to get home and cooked and to get whatever errands you need to do out the way, so you can squeeze in a little time for you and that’ll be however long you can wrestle from the hour hand before you have to sleep.
Your birth and death are both announced in relation to clocks. You live according to them. A machine, a mechanism, is the deciding factor in when you do things. At least, it’s the messenger for a society convinced that progress and development are intimately and necessarily linked with consumption and a full schedule. Dead things have been invented to help us organise life. They are unnecessary. At least, they were until the neolithic revolution and we were doing just fine up until that point. There were no masters then. Not like we know them now.
Maybe I’m overstating the case; the clock has become a tool of oppression.
I’d rather live to natural rhythms. The sun and moon. The tides and seasons. I get that out here. Civilisation demands that we ignore our natural inclinations and our animal clock, those things aren’t compatible with the economic system. It requires we abandon that which every other life system is wedded to. I don’t have to in the Highlands. My phone is rarely switched on. There’s no watch on my wrist. I hardly know the day of the week or the date but who cares for arbitrarily lines?
How many people would be buying anti-ageing products if they didn’t have an exacting measure down to the millisecond of their own journey toward the grave?