By What Measure?

It’s much easier to account for the time I spend waiting for the light to change now that they’ve retrofitted a countdown timer to the crosswalk post. Keeping in synch with the beat of the universe is one of the ways that we evade the clutches of chaos–just as we do when we methodically label all the freezer meat, or when we listen to the only slightly irregular tone of our heart monitor in the ICU. These timers are so useful that I’m surprised that they haven’t shown up in more places. There’s certainly opportunity.

Imagine a register that displayed the number of mornings remaining that you would continue to enjoy that same brand of cereal. Or any cereal. Or the number of mornings you had at all. A comb monitor would keep a count of how many hairs were left in your head–a few more last November, but then back down again by early January. Knee-graphs would keep a running measure of the thickness of the cartilage between your bones, with an optional secondary display showing the number of steps you had left to step.

How many days left sitting in your cubicle at work? How many times yelled at? What would be the number of times you’d be frightened, or even more revealing, the number of times yet that you would find occasion to smile?

These are the things that call out to be measured, to be counted, to be tracked. Otherwise are we to merely guess how many orgasms, how many more trips, how many breaths, how many days until the best day of your life–or how long since? Not being able to quantify these things seems almost cruel now that they put up the crosswalk timers. And in point of fact, though I find my frustration mounting, I’m afraid that I can’t tell you just how high.

Comments are closed.