[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook or Livejournal. (Although he did succumb to the lure of Google+.) He hates cell-phones.

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The Eccentricities of Timekeeping
For close to thirty years now, I have not had a portable means of timekeeping. In high school, I wore a succession of cheap digital watches but kept catching the band on things tearing up either the watch or my arm. I tried a pocket watch for a while, and while it appealed to my sense of affectation, I didn't really have a good place to keep it, since my personal style ran (and runs) more to jeans and t-shirts than waistcoats. That I do not make a habit of carrying a phone that tells time should be understood. What I realized fairly early on is that rarely is a portable timepiece needed. When I was in class, there was usually a clock. When I am at work, I'm usually sat in front of a computer. When I am at home, there are both clocks and a computer. If I am in transit, it rarely matters what time it is since I am in motion. Furthermore, if I'm driving there is a clock in the car. Since I've begun to commute by rail, I've learned that train stations are usually quite good about letting you know what time it is. The upshot of all of this is that I don't really feel the lack of a watch or watch-like object.

When I was volunteering at the York Minster Library, I was able to tell time in a more medieval fashion much of the time. I simply listened for the Minster bells to ring. They rang on the quarter hours, and the hour chime would often be an occasion to stop what I was doing for a moment and listen to the whole sequence. This is probably still my favorite way to tell time, but it has the rather severe limitation that one needs to be within earshot of a church that rings the hours.

These days we live near a train station, and I get a similar effect from the trains. Once you learn the schedule, you can tell time by the arrival of the trains in the station. In the morning, for instance, when the 0622 arrives, it's time for me to stop what I'm doing, and get my boots and jacket on, so I can catch the 0631. (I told you, we live near the station.)

It's not really about watches, or cathedral bells, or train whistles, though. It's about the rhythms of life. With bells and trains, it's about being in touch with the environment around you, even if that environment is to some extent artificial. It's about watching the days lengthen, and looking forward to the day when you can see Ely Cathedral over the waterfront from the train in the morning, because it's no longer dark when you arrive.

And on that thought, I will leave you with a short poem ...

The cathedral hides in the morning mist.
I know it is there.
I know where to look.
I pretend I can see the outline,
but I can't.
I see the memory of a building.
No matter.
It will be there when I return
When the mist has burned away.

Luddite'sLog, 25 February 2018
© 2017 Jeff Berry

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