The passage of time

Time in an office environment seems to pass in two distinct modes, each of them strangely unlike the manner in which time passes anywhere else:

A) Time screams past in great leaps and bounds. This can be exemplified by the deep-hack-mode effect where one gets so far into a task that the outside world disappears, just after lunch for example, and reappears only when the task is complete, in a dark, silent office at 8:00pm, for example.
This can also happen in an exponential way: the snowballing deadline-crisis, where seemingly brief, simple tasks swell to fill unaccountably large amounts of time, and the working day shrinks incrementally until a very slight lateness becomes a vast and insurmountable slippage.

B) Time opens out like ones sense of space when driving out of a deep canyon into the open desert. The space of time between the present and an hour hence seems like a desolate unending trek to rival Sam and Frodo marching into Mordor. Seemingly solid, satisfying tasks melt like butter on a hot day and slip through ones fingers, either because they are blocked, or because they suddenly become trivial, and are done before you can blink. Tedious, frustrating tasks with no clearly defined goal or conclusion are abundant, but they do not satisfy, nor fulfil. All your favourite time-wasting blogs are mysteriously bereft of new posts for what seems like eternity. RSS feeds trickle to a stop and run dry. Google suddenly only returns places you’ve been before. A feeling of temporal agoraphobia sets in, leaving you feeling stranded and exposed, far from cover and visible to high, wheeling predators. There is nowhere to hide, and 5:00pm is impossibly far away.

It’s times like the latter, much too early on a Friday afternoon, when there’s nothing else left to do but turn to your own blog and blather. 🙂

Then, just as you’re about to post your blatherings, for all the world to see, the screen goes blue. Not the familiar blue of the blue-screen-of-death, but an unnerving pale sky-blue. Your computer responds to keystrokes, mouse-clicks, and even jabs at the power button with indifferent beeps. Eventually you manage to shut it down, and then to restart it, cursing all the while at the lost work. Time seems narrow again for a little while: your computer is too slow! It takes too damn long to boot! But then it’s booted, and once again there’s nothing to do but finish that blather.

Someone is trying to tell me something. I just wish I knew what it was…

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