Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Internal Clock

I had to get out of bed this morning at 4:45 to catch an early flight from San Antonio to St. Louis. In typical fashion, the alarm went off, I slapped the snooze. The phone rang with my automated wake-up call. I picked up and slammed it down. Then I spent the next 20 minutes trying to find that delicate balance between dozing and concentrating on not going past my “fail safe” time to actually get out of bed. Today that time was 5:20. The ability to sleep and concentrate on the clock simultaneously is an acquired taste much like a love of scotch; however, life would be easier if I were to just get out of bed when the alarm and phone first disturb me. That would be far too simple and thus not in line with my philosophy of life.

So anyway, back to the point of this post. Once my body semi-subconsciously decides it is time to rise and face the day with one-eye open, I have no problem. The internal clock is a magical device. If only I could harness that power in everyday life. For a more practical application consider the following: You’re at happy hour with colleagues. You are strategically holding off the first break-the-seal-pee until the conversation in which you’re engaged reaches its eight minute lull (that is the proven duration of the evolution of group conversation culminating into eight minutes of chatter before going deathly silent). Finally, you slide inconspicuously from the table and manage to make it to the urinal just before the geyser of urine spews forth in spectacular fashion. Ah, the internal clock dominates.

Or better yet, you have just had Kung-Pao Shrimp from PF Changs, your absolute favorite. You have enjoyed a nice evening with your wife of 8 yrs as you casually stroll out of the aforementioned establishment for a gentle early summer stroll. Your internal clock is ticking. It’s saying, get in the car and DRIVE…NOW. You mention we should probably head home first before going to Kohl’s to return that outfit she bought last week. On the way home, the clock is beginning to chime. The internal clock senses the distance, as if it is equipped with GPS navigation. You inch closer; one mile, then ½ mile…then you turn onto Stoney Creek Dr. Your hands are poised one on the belt buckle, one on the door handle. The garage door inches open as if time has no meaning and life will go on forever. The car makes it to the driveway and without even putting in park, you spring forth and bolt to the nearest…uh…rest-stop. You laugh, but we’ve all been there. The internal clock dominates.

Part friend, part enemy, part lover, part arch-rival…the internal clock both helps and debilitates us in perfect harmony. We should all sing the praises for our brilliant evolutionary trait which sets us apart from the animals…well that and our opposable thumbs. We hate it. We love it. No matter your preference du jour, we cannot live without it.

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