The recent passing of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who famously wrote A Brief History of Time, had me thinking about, well … time.
My students often complain when, upon being late to class, I am undeterred from marking them tardy.
“But I’m only a few minutes late,” they plead.
Which is all I need to hoist myself onto my soapbox. “When I was in television, I had to be in my seat when the red camera light blinked on. I couldn’t be one second late. And when I referee a football game, what if I’m late while the players, coaches, and fans are all waiting for kickoff? What if my students arrive at my classroom and I’m not there to let them in?
My young charges roll their eyes.
“You have to be on time,” I say. “If you’re the worker who’s always punctual, no one wants to fire you. It shows you care about being professional and not imposing on your co-workers.”
Here is where I admit that my nightmares consist mainly of me unsuccessfully trying to get somewhere on time. Whether it be a TV set, a classroom, a ballgame, or an airport, the scenario is always the same. I am late, horrified at the prospect, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get where I need to be on time.
Just a few days ago, I was revisited by the terrors of being tardy. My student reporters were in a contest with a deadline. We were six minutes out. I found myself repeatedly checking the second hand on the classroom clock … tick, tick, tick … as we tried to rectify the software glitch that was holding up delivery of our final product. I flashed back to those days when I had to run onto the news set, heart racing, and slide into my chair while pasting on a smile.
My students made their deadline, and the flashback gave me pause.
I will retire from teaching in two years, and I’d like to think those deadline dreams will diminish. But, it seems, I might have another time-related problem.
“I worry about you when you retire,” my long-time beau has said more than once.
“Why, my sweetie pie?”
“I’m afraid you will not have enough to do.”
I consider his concern.
“You don’t know how to relax,” he says. “You always have to be busy.”
“I will have plenty to do in retirement,” I say. “No worries.”
But he doesn’t look convinced.
While I do plan, upon retirement, to hammer to death the obnoxious alarm clock that has pestered me for decades, I’m not really sure just how I’ll respond to a world with far fewer deadlines.
As Hawking famously said, “Only time (whatever that may be) will tell.”
Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other? The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.