The wheel of timeI wear the uniform of the character I will be playing for the rest of the day. There are times I wonder how an act so distant from the cravings of the heart could define existence.
The alarm bell rings and I reluctantly open one of my eyes to look at the mobile device responsible for the sound. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I spent money on this little pollutant just to let it take over the strings of my life.
I slowly get up and make my way to the bathroom, with one eye still closed. The lights are off but my memory helps me navigate my way through the bathroom door and in front of the commode. For about a minute, I find myself engulfed in the darkness as I empty my fluids all the while listening to the cooing of pigeons that live on the other side of the ventilation. After I finish, I make my way back to the comforts of my bed but only after taking a detour to turn the lights on.
The first thing I do is open my Facebook feed and start scrolling with no particular intention in mind. I see links and pictures of events unfolding in places I couldn’t point in a map and yet I find myself taking deep curiosity—which in this day and age means pausing for three seconds, reading the headlines, browsing the comment section and forming a half-boiled political opinion that can later be shared to boast in front of an apolitical audience. Granted this might not be the best way to start the day, but such an exercise does gradually take the sleep out of me.
After all these months of going to work in the morning, I’d have thought alarms would be made redundant by habit. But alas, I don’t see even the slightest possibility of me being able to take the risk. Long ago it would be my mother pulling the blanket, then it was a teacher at my hostel who’d keep banging the metal locker until we all got out of bed, and now I have my phone blaring the alarm which pierces not just through my sleep but through my very spirit. Being an ardent supporter of autonomy, I am not sure how I feel about my inability to get rid of this dependence altogether.
There are mornings in which I wake up wanting to turn off the alarm but I am quick to squash such mutinous temptations birthed by impulse. Such a revolt would see me taking sole control over the rudder of my life. The only problem is that I would be left without a map. As such, I’d find myself in a deep state of contemplation, the escape from which would require even deeper contemplation, and over time I will have lingered in a state of inertia for so long that it would be near impossible to escape the realms of my thoughts and get back into the world that requires actions. What such rumination without decisions will ultimately lead to, I reckon, is either poverty or explicit dependence on another human being who can finance my inaction. And that for me would mark the final stage of a regressive metamorphosis upon the completion of which I’d take the form of a virus.
Before I can think any longer the second alarm rings, telling me to get up from my bed and head for the bathroom if I am to not initiate a series of events that could lead to my dismissal. I take another big yawn and I proceed to do my morning business after which I reemerge out of the toilet the same way I entered it—with a hint of lethargy and the mobile device on one hand. Sometimes I feel that the clock for people like me should run the other way around—start from 24 and then approach zero.
There is a difference between time and a timer and it is the latter that I am acquainted with—because as you see six o’clock is never six o’clock for me. What it is is 10 minutes before I have to get myself to the bus stop and 20 minutes before I need to be on my way. As such I always find myself living in anticipation of the future that beckons instead of, what many call, “living in the present”. Then again, what is present but a transition to the past unfolding right in front of you when looked through the eyes of a device as ruthless and unforgiving as a watch?
I strip my clothes physically and my personality mentally before I wear the uniform of the character I will be playing for the rest of the day. There are times I wonder how an act so distant from the cravings of the heart could define existence. In this day and age, the question about who you are tends to be answered quite prevalently by your profession. Who is that person? They are an engineer or a doctor or whatever. But is that who they truly are? It seems as if not knowing makes us so restless and nervous that we’d rather settle for a convenient answer instead of waiting for a timely and accurate revelation. Question marks resemble uncertainty and that is something the modern human can’t seem to live with.
My alarm rings yet again, thankfully for the final time this day, and I find myself in preparation to leave this box that I call my room. I go over to the door, feel out my pockets to see if I still have my purse—the value of which depends upon my ability to adhere to this timer. After confirmation, I turn the lights off and make my way to the stop. I look at my phone after taking a few steps which then turns into long strides as I am warned I only have five minutes left to get there.
Oh, how the days have changed! Not long ago I could use the inaccuracy of my wristwatch, which I would sometimes initiate myself by spinning the needle, to make up lame excuses for my inability to be punctual. Alas, the internet stripped that away from me and now I have to be in sync with the rest of the world whether I want to or not. I step out of the building and take a deep sigh before I start jogging. That is when I feel the second mutinous temptation creeping up on my subconsciousness. It is telling me to run but to not stop where I have to. I look at my phone and I take a deep sigh. I still have four minutes left to decide.