It is appropriate that I am writing this on an extreme deadline – I have less than an hour before I need to get ready to start my day of picking up children, meeting with clients and going to court. Almost every tick of the clock today is going to entail me interacting with and depending on the people around me. Just the simple act of getting out of bed, walking downstairs, reading the paper, drinking and preparing a warm glass of liquid and sitting down to write this little blog post and I’ve relied on countless individuals.
I usually only get these thoughts when I have a moment for quiet reflection and the effect is always extreme humility. I can’t do anything by myself without help. I sit now at a table that I don’t even know who manufactured and built, who shipped the table and which store sold the table to my wife before I was ever even in the picture. So my laptop is propped up by factory workers, lumpers, and a retail sales staff – not much independence there. I did not even mention all the parts of the laptop, the history of computing and science that developed the technology to allow me to write this in the hour before I go to work in the morning and post it for essentially the entire world before breakfast compliments of ISPs, digital theoreticians, Hewlett and Packard, Thomas Edison and my seventh grade typing teacher, whose name I can’t remember and who taught me how to type in a room full of Selectrics from IBM, so I guess IBM deserves some credit (or blame) as well.
Time keeps ticking. As totally dependent as I am on the entirety of human existence that has preceded me, the dependence on the ticking clock is what really enslaves me. I want to contribute to the massive flood of interdependence that is the human condition and to make the slightest ripple on the surface of surging existence I need time – and I don’t have any.
Nurturing relationships takes time. Making a living takes time. Raising children takes time. Developing a career takes time. The simple act of reading the paper takes time. Getting Thanksgiving dinner takes time. Getting into shape and staying healthy takes time. Reading takes time. An all time great thief of time – writing.
Time is all about taking.
I’m always humbled by the fact that if someone is bothering to read this I’ve taken their time. This morning I’ve read Philip Roth, various articles in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman and JulieAnn (my wife and author) – all before 6:30 a.m. In fact it was the New York Times that inspired this riff on time and interdependence. Sometime before 5:00 a.m. my Kindle downloads the New York Times on my digital doorstep with a digital thunk on my bedside table. I’m compelled to read the paper. I want to read Friedman on the latest economic meltdown. I want to read about the Obama transition team’s exploits. I want to read about how Philip Roth’s publisher has placed a moratorium on acquiring new books and how his Roth’s last three books sold less than 75,000 copies in hardback. I want to think about what that means to an aspiring writer who is masquerading as an attorney and happens to be one of the less than 75,000 that bought Roth’s books.
I’m caught in the cross currents of time and interdependence. Time constraints pull me in various directions, while interdependence goes in another and the swirl can require every effort to try and create a modicum of self-determination in the direction I’m heading. Right now, I’m headed to the showers – a cliched sports metaphor and the reality of my day.