Just For The Tick


I've stopped: is it Hammer Time?

I’ve stopped: is it Hammer Time?

The clock in the exam room ticks, but fails to tell the time. The minute and hour hands are permanently frozen at fifteen minutes to twelve. The second hand ticks forward, then backward, then forward four ticks, then back five. Then forward, then backwards, then forward four ticks, then backwards one, then forward one, then backwards five, retracing the same steps over and over on the face of the clock without ever crossing the threshold of the minute hand.

I don’t know how long I stared at it. Many ticks.

The exam room had no windows. There was no way to tell the time except that it was after the clinician had gone out and before she came back. The time in between stood still. I wondered if it was the clock that was broken, or time itself. My thoughts seemed to be the only thing moving forward; which I took as consolation that the space-time dynamic was still functioning normally. I wondered if this was a sign.

The solution, of course, was to tell someone about it: to have the clinician or someone on the staff take the clock down and set it right like deus ex machina. It wouldn’t give me back the uncounted minutes, but at least it could start fresh.

This is the second clock that I’ve encountered keeping time to itself: earlier in the week, I set a wooden clock on my drawing board because I enjoyed the tick- only to discover that it too was failing to move forward with the pace of time. The second hand had gotten bowed slightly while in storage and was likewise caught up on the minute hand at two minutes after twelve.  One step back. One step forward. One step back. One step forward. I wondered if this was a sign.

The solution, of course, was simple: all I had to do was bend the second hand back into shape and it quickly resumed its course. It’s natural- and perhaps necessary, to get bent out of shape sometimes after a big moment, but it’s also a good way to get hung up on the same moment over and over again instead of moving forward.

Today I am on the mix stage listening in on a final mix for a film that I produced several summers ago. If ever there was a place where time stands still, it would be a mix stage: where sound repeats, repeats, repeats.

Tag. Tag. Tag. Tag, sorry. Tag, sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

Louder.

SORRY.

Woah- too much.

sorry.

It’s a natural factor of the process of mixing: the repetition and the variation until the right balance can be struck, but it does warp one’s sense of time. And it does seem to illustrate my sense of life these days: treading over the same few thoughts and the same few steps, back and forth until the sound erodes into it’s most abstract elements.

The solution, of course, is to find balance: to decide what sound to prioritize and what noise to eliminate and send into the background. If I am anywhere in my life at the moment, it is at a place where I am trying to find balance. What is important to bring forward? What do I need to roll of f the ends? How can I be sure that the emotional and philosophical dwelling that I’ve been treading back and forth across over the past few days is not preventing me from crossing the threshold into the next step? (Ironic to say, since yesterday I wrote about thresholds).

I’m not sure I’ve found that balance yet, just like I’m not sure that I’ve quite straightened myself out after being bent out of shape. Perhaps some Almighty hand will reach down and set things right, but even if it happens, I won’t get these passing ticks, so I should try to enjoy them and make them count. And soon, with luck, I will be able to move on.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on November 12, 2016.

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