Tag Archives: time

1943. A train to catch

I was scurrying to the train station to catch my usual morning transport. I was running late because I had spilt coffee on my trousers (thank goodness it had cooled) and had to get changed. In my haste I forgot to take my phone out of the wet trouser pocket, so I didn’t know by how much I was running late.

The clock on the town tower was renowned for its unreliability. Going by what it said I had five minutes to get to the station to get on the train to take me to work. I work as a bank manager, and today the big boss is coming for an important meeting. VERY important, he had said on the phone.

Only four minutes to go. I thought I’d start to run; actually trot along, as I didn’t want to be all sweaty during the VERY important meeting.

Two minutes to go. I simply cannot afford to miss that train. What the heck! I’ll have to run, sweaty or not! I can explain to the boss why I’m perspiring so profusely. And…

Made it! Phew! That was close! I got a seat too. No sooner had I sat than the doors closed and the train began to noiselessly slide away from the station.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said a voice over the intercom. “Welcome to the non-stop day trip to the capital city. Refreshments are available throughout the trip in the cafeteria carriage.”

I was on the wrong train. It was going the wrong way and it would take all day to get there.

1769. Wasting time

Lloyd would reheat a mug of coffee twice a day. He would place the mug in the microwave, press the one minute button, and start.

Every time he would impatiently pace up and down in front of the microwave; this was one minute of his life wasted. One minute wasted! How things would add up! Reheating twice a day meant two minutes wasted a day. That was almost quarter of an hour a week. Multiply that by the number of weeks in a year and it would come to thirteen hours. In round numbers that was one whole day wasted every two years. In a decade that would be five days. In fifty years it would amount to a month or so.

How he would appreciate that extra month at the end of his life! “Hey!” said God. “You didn’t waste two minutes a day reheating your coffee. You drank your coffee cold. You saved a month! Here’s that extra month tacked onto the end of your life!”

Time went by. The end was near. Lloyd lay on his hospital bed wracked with bone cancer. The pain was excruciating. Things dragged on for an extra month.

1529: Monica’s lucky escape

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Yvonne of Hello World. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

Monica didn’t know that her clock was ten minutes slow. It meant that she left home for work ten minutes late. It didn’t greatly matter because her boss at work was flexible.

What Monica didn’t know was what would have happened if she had left on time. If she had left on time, while driving down Park Avenue she would get caught in the middle of a high speed chase. The police car would ram into her car on the passenger side. Monica would suffer minor injuries. She would be patched up in hospital and released. The car however would be a write-off. Luckily it was insured.

So what a fortunate escape! By NOT leaving on time, we the writer with a God’s-eye view know what a tragedy it could have been. The main thing, of course, is the shock. There were a few minor scratches but the whole experience of an accident can become surreal. Thankfully Monica, by leaving home ten minutes late, was spared. Praise the Lord!

But Monica never left home at the right time, so none of this happened. Instead Monica left her home ten minutes late, oblivious to the sequence of events Providence had spared her from. Driving out of her gate Monica was hit by a stray bullet from a gun that accidentally went off in the neighbourhood. The funeral’s on Friday.

1310. Sage advice

My mother is like really nosey about my private life. Last night I went out with Jeff and my mother wasn’t like very happy about it. Jeff’s the one that got Sheree pregnant. And he’s the center midfielder in the school’s football team. Anyway my mother said, “Now listen Carol, if Jeff tries any funny business, clock him.”

Well I tried, but it was all over before I had time to even look at my watch. I don’t know why my mother needs to know this stuff, so I made it up and told her it took about three quarters of an hour.

(I’ve just realized that this story might not make sense to some: Brit and Austral and NZ: to strike, esp on the face or head; to strike sharply or heavily: e.g. clocked him in the face. )

Poem 74: From the top of the hill on Good Friday

(This poem continues my decision this month to post poems I wrote fifty plus years ago – this week’s poem was written around about when I was 17.)

The hills cringed green, blood-green.
They were thorn-throbbed, twisted; silent down a
Crumpled valley, torn green to the sea
Where two ships lay silvered and
Waiting for another. And on,
On where the ocean turned with the sky
Clouds jarred to royal purple with the mountains.
The air too choked thin and weak as the
Sun sank crippled at three o’clock.

Is there something here which does not pass?
Answer!
Is there something here which does not pass?
Is there nothing still?

I went down the hill and
Wrote what past I had before it fled.

1277. Chimes and charm

Little D’Arcy was only four, but he could tell the time. His mother’s clock would chime and D’Arcy would count out loud: ONE TWO THREE EIGHT! ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE EIGHT! It was always eight o’clock.

Oh! He was soo cute. His parents would bring him out as a bit of entertainment when they had guests. ONE TWO THREE EIGHT!

“Oooh he’s soo cute!” exclaimed the guests. “Oh what a delightful boy!”

ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE EIGHT!

These days D’Arcy is all grown up. It’s a shame his parents were too busy to do anything about his lisp.

1174. Timed to perfection

Lambert was determined to adjust the time on his grandfather clock to perfection. When he started to fine-tune it, it was gaining three minutes every two weeks.

With a little adjustment, it was losing just over thirty seconds every week.

And then perfection came! The clock maintained perfect time when he measured it weekly for four weeks. That was when the earthquake (only a little one) tipped the clock over and smashed it to smithereens.

Poem 36: Grandfather Clock

(The poetic form selected for this month is the Burns stanza. However, even though I liked what I’d written it was a bit “hard-hitting” and I decided that some readers would get offended – so I wrote something modelled on the ghazal instead!!)

Once wound I am ignored, the old clock chimes.
Once loved and once adored, the old clock chimes.

Too weak and frail to spring from bed at dawn,
Men wait in old age ward. The old clock chimes.

Three! Three! Three at last! Thank God Almighty!
School is out! Praise the Lord! the old clock chimes!

Four times she runs late for work, just this week;
It’s what she can’t afford, the old clock chimes.

Five-green-bottles-hanging-on-the-wall song:
In which one is time stored? the old clock chimes.

Six steps on toes the ballerina goes,
Major lift, minor chord, the old clock chimes.

Severn is the river through Shrewsbury.
So? Just for the record, the old clock chimes.

Ate eight big eggs for breakfast, fried in fat,
And greasy bacon gnawed. The old clock chimes.

Nein, the Germans say. No! Trains leave on time!
Delay is much abhorred! The old clock chimes!

Tender are most maternal hearts, and kind;
Kids leave to go abroad, the old clock chimes.

Eleven days make way for dozens more.
In none is bliss forestalled. The old clock chimes.

Twelve heralds in the darkest midnight hour.
I’m timeworn… slow… and bored… The old clock chimes.

987. Tick tock

987tick

Mike inherited an old wall clock from his grandfather. It must’ve been decades old; older than that even. It had weights that needed pulling up once a week. It would chime on the hour and ring out the o’clock.

For Mike the hourly chiming of the clock was like an old friend. Once, when the clock broke down and a part had to be replaced (these old clock hands should never be turned back because it harms the mechanism; simply stop the clock for the appropriate number of hours if it runs fast) he missed its comforting chimes. “Chime-Charm”, Mike called it.

It always chimed seven while he was have breakfast, because that’s when he had breakfast! And then he started saying funny things to himself while it chimed:

– If the toast doesn’t pop up in the toaster before the seven chimes finish chiming, then it’s going to be an unlucky day for me
– If the kettle doesn’t boil before the chimes stop, then I’ll possibly have a terrible car accident in the coming week
– If … if … if …

Mike knew he had to do something about this silly neurotic fixation he was developing. He must get away from the clock for a while. He took his plate of breakfast muesli out onto his balcony where he couldn’t hear the chimes.

– If I don’t see a seagull fly overhead before I finish the muesli…
– If … if … if …

(Note – please feel free to comment, but I am having a break from commenting or responding to comments. Thanks. Have a happy day!)