It’s About Time

A couple of months ago, I posted a story about heel pain. I had developed an excruciatingly painful condition called Plantar Fasciosis.  I have just finished an eight week course of what I call foot jack hammering (shockwave treatment). I am delighted to report that my foot is finally pain free. About time!

And co-incidentally himself is at the tail end of two months of nurse home  visits to clean and dress the cavern that was in his shoulder that started out as a very nasty abscess needing surgical removal. That has finally – almost – healed. About time!

Which leads me nicely to today’s topic – time.

Man has been keeping tabs of time since, well, time immemorial. Way back to the Ancient Egyptians who used the obelisk to track the sun and divided the day into two 12 hours periods. Water clocks, hour glasses, sticks, sundials were some of the devices  used in various cultures from China and Japan to Greece, the UK and Europe.

I wonder what the cave men used? Was it a wheel and a stick?

Time of course is a man-made construct. Probably nowhere else in all of creation is time divided into years, months, weeks, days, hours,  minutes and seconds.

The earliest known clock was a device  that operated with a  water-powered escapement mechanism and dates back to the 3rd century BC in Ancient Greece.  The Chinese invented clocks that were powered with mercury instead of water in the 10th century.  Clocks driven by gears and weights were introduced by the Iranians in the 11th century.

Europe entered the field of time keeping with mechanical clocks that operated with a balance wheel in the 14th century which became the standard until the pendulum clock, invented in 1656, appeared on the scene. It was closely followed by the pocket watch. No gentleman of means wanted to be seen without one of those modern day marvels in his watch pocket. Accuracy of timekeeping remained an issue however, until the introduction of the balance wheel in the mid 17th century.

Surprisingly, the pendulum clock remained the most accurate time keeper until the 1930’s.  That’s when quartz oscillators came on the scene  and are used to callibrate other clocks world wide. Why we need to be so spernickety about time is beyond me. I’m sure there is some very serious sci-ency reason for it.

This is where it also starts to get a bit tricky. You see the world is divided into time zones. Yep. But you probably knew that already.  It is done for legal, commercial and social reasons. And convenience. Out of curiosity I checked out how many time zones there are on this world of ours. Eighty eight!!! Can you believe that. How on earth does anyone keep tabs on what time zone they are in –  Papa , Zulu, Foxtrot, Charlie or some other zone…

But it does not stop there. Oh no, it does not. The waters are muddied even further  by the introduction of daylight savings. This is a magical thing that happens every year, where you get extra day light hours at the end of the day to enjoy the summer sunshine. How good is that!  Here in Australia, for instance, not every state has daylight savings. I’m not sure how you apply to the sun for it or how approvals and exemptions are made. But I do know that working out the time differences can drive people potty especially if they are in business. As apparently it does cows who do not know when milking time is. And curtains, which fade more quickly I am told, if they live in a daylight savings zone. I’m not sure how the sun handles all of that. It must get awfully confusing.

It seems to me that the civilised world has become a slave to time. Lives are run by the clock.  People hurry and scurry here, there and everywhere forever chasing their tails.  When my brother and his family lived in New Guinea, he often spoke about ‘New Guinea time’. Nothing ran to timed schedule. To the frustration of those who ran their lives by strictly timed schedules, the indigenous attitude to time drove them nuts. Seems a much healthier and stress free existence to me.

Of course, now that we are living a life of retired leisure,time has once again taken a different turn in our lives.  I have stopped wearing a watch. If I need to know the time, I can check it on my mobile phone.That’s good enough for me.  This last fortnight has been interesting though. For some reason both our internal clocks have gone haywire. We have forgotten appointments. We have turned up two hours early. Or on the wrong day.  What is going on here?

I do recall when I was still a working girl in mental health, some guru decided we needed a time and motion study. So we could be more efficient. Do more with less. So one day a very serious looking research person turned up with clipboard in hand and sat to observe us staff as we went about our business. What they did not take into account is that mental health nursing is not so task related. It is about connecting with people. Sitting and talking to them. Not running around changing dressings, making beds and all the million and one tasks hospital based nurses are required to do. They gave up in frustration. The data made no sense other than to make us appear incredibly unproductive.

Raili Tanska

From the house of No Time


18 thoughts on “It’s About Time

    1. Mine was more chronic and needed heavy duty treatment. It was not pleasant, but then, it worked. I have now bought a TENS/EMS machine for use at home – for various aches and pains.

  1. I’m glad to see you are both doing better!
    That is interesting about your mental health nursing days. It frustrates me too, the way we define what is “worthwhile”.

  2. Like button has disappeared AGAIN! So I’m just letting you know I read your posts and a like them ALL!

  3. GAH! Time, Raili!!!
    I think my head’s on New Guinea Time, my body’s on Downhill Time, the Place of W is on ‘Unreasonable Time’ and the world around is on ‘Spinning Out Of Control Time’!
    Interesting points on time, however, which I enjoyed reading. You mentioned the cavemen and their wheels and sticks… I have a question. Who invented the stick?
    Good to hear about your maladies, that must be a relief… and remember enjoy your time. However it may be running! 😀

  4. Pleased to hear you’re now mended. Those studies, like the time and motion study, do a great job of making the person conducting the study ‘a very important person’, and very little else. Great for a booster on their resume at promotion time, and the outcome they achieved will be all rosy and positive. Wish they’d ask the people at the coal face the outcome of such studies, and changes implemented as the result of them. I suspect demotions would become more the order of the day!

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