Tick, tock...tick, tock Lankan time
By Dilini Algama
Finally, exams can be spoken of in the past tense. The computer may now be switched on for frivolous reasons of chatting and checking mail other than for assignments and searching the internet for information about Joseph Conrad and other such writers that students don’t read voluntarily.
If I stay up till 2:00 a.m. in the morning it’s for the pleasant reason of having read an ‘unputdownable’ book or having gone through a magazine till then and not because I had to memorize the differences between one confounded theory and another.
Half the stress is from keeping to exam time tables, studying one thing when you really feel like studying something else.
There are times when you don’t want to study at all and all you want to do is to go wake your parents up from their afternoon nap because the house is too quiet and you want some noise even if it’s the sound of two annoyed people throwing pillows at you while threatening to take much pleasure in breaking your limbs.
All this makes me wonder whether humans were ever really programmed to work according to schedules. Back when we had to work according to the school time table it never really did cross our minds that at 12:40 p.m. we would have Social Studies and History.
We just knew that at 1:20 p.m. it would be over.
The honking and bad words in morning traffic make me say a rather vehement ‘no’. If the bus stops somewhere for a long while, passengers will look at their watches, even give them a good shake (as if that would help things) and look about sighing to catch the eyes of someone who’s doing the same thing.
The clock hung on the back wall of our church is not for the convenience of the congregation, although brave souls will turn back to look at it, but for the pastor giving the sermon; it’s because he can see from the pulpit that really, he should have finished the sermon fifteen minutes ago.
But see, even pastors don’t like to work according to schedules. They do not like time frames and restrictions being the free souls that they are. They want to go on and on ceaselessly and the more watch-regarding the congregation becomes the happier they are.
Try scheduling choir practices at any given time, just to see what will happen. Of course I can let you know what will happen just here.
If you ask the choristers to come to church at 6:30 p.m. the first chorister will only appear at about 7:30 p.m. and the last will slowly walk up the isle at about 9:00p.m. and that too will be the choir leader.
And an hour and a lot of bickering later choir practice will finally start. Annoyed parents will be told that they can collect their children at 11:00 p.m. and even after 12:15 a.m. choristers will still be belting out Christmas carols and sleepy, yawning parents will be seen outside talking to each other about the importance of proper scheduling.
You can even take nature for an example of not sticking to schedules.
Now it rains when it shouldn’t and doesn’t when it should and half the dams built to catch water could substitute for cricket grounds. Of course, this is not entirely the fault of the weather, you see, I’m pretty sure that the weather anchors have a hand in this.
There they are all nicely saying that it’ll rain ‘tehmoreuw’ in ‘kilambeuw’ and that probably works as a summoning charm. If they were to say that there’ll be bit of a ‘droi’ spell, well a dry spell it’ll be. You can even take the TV actually.
Programmes will go on for ages past their scheduled times. Teledramas will take more than their allotted thirty minutes to finish. Another thing is that most of the childrens’ favourite programmes like Robin Hood and other such things were totally dispensed with whenever there was some minister giving a special speech.
That was so unfair, especially when you were a child who already had a wooden sword, crudely constructed yes, yet a wooden sword it was, under your bed and plenty of garden foliage to drape around yourself (and itch later for). Watching the prince of thieves was really the highlight of the week (meaning Robin Hood, that is).
See? Schedules are just not done. Man wants to be free, but then he also wants to be Brad Pitt and he can’t. So there are certain things man has to live with. Schedules will never be followed. I’ve been to weddings where bridegrooms have been over an hour late to get to church and we are talking about the guy who does not have to be late to make an impression. It is the bridegroom. Choir leaders will be late.
Sermons will go on. Favourite programmes will be scrapped to show uninteresting human beings spraying spit onto microphones and emitting speech as a by-product. And of course, this is all because someone very pompously declared that things should be different.
They give out TV schedules with Sunday papers saying that they’ll show some programme at a certain time and people come to expect it. Someone thought it would be a good idea to spread the good word that choir practices will be held at a certain time.
You see, that’s where it has all gone wrong. You must never give anyone the opportunity to expect things. Because if you fail to deliver, then you have failed to deliver and you don’t want to be in that position.
You were never meant to be in that position anyway. Scheduling is probably an alien concept to the human population. It was probably brought down to us in one of those flying saucers that some believe in and some don’t. Or possibly it was something that was in that box which Pandora opened and may be it got away with the rest before the lid closed down on hope, although how hope survived there with all that evil is beyond my comprehension. But then many things are. And scheduling is possibly one of them.
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Sunday, September 30, 2007
Tick, tock...tick, tock Lankan time