Take Your Time

“Do I really need to do this?” Jamison asked when the doctor handed him a cup.

“Do you not have to go?” the doctor asked like she was genuinely curious.

“I do,” said Jameson after some consideration, “but this whole enterprise seems unnecessary.”

The doctor waved her blue-gloved hand. “The restroom is over there. Please collect the sample mid-stream.” Then she busied herself with some equipment.

Jamison was looking for a debate, but no one was interested. The decision was made, the votes were cast. Most of them, Jamison suspected, jokingly or in protest, but you couldn’t go back on democracy, so the new institution was cemented. He entered the little bathroom and did his business, catching the cup partway into the stream when it was good and going. He flushed the remainder, twisted the lid on the sample, and left.

A nurse appeared and took the sample without a word. Everyone was so busy, constantly glancing at wristwatches. There was a clock on the wall–all three hands pointed straight to the roof and didn’t move. The doctor explained that the clocks would set for Jamison once his results came in. Until then, all the clocks were wrong. Everyone else saw a different time based on their biological clocks. 7am was whatever time they generally woke at, 10pm was whatever time they tended to go to bed. Sometimes 7am was when the sun was highest in the sky, and 10pm was when it was just beginning to rise.

People were too confused by changing time zones, and a universal time was confusing for its own reasons, and besides that not everyone operated on the same schedule. Morning people and night owls lived very differently, for example, and people started seeing that as unfair, forcing the population into 9-5 jobs no matter what their biological preferences. Nowadays, everyone was special, and no one liked to be judged for living a little differently. To discriminate was to be discriminated against.

The hands of the clock began to move. Jamison thought it was time for lunch, so they stayed mostly the same location, but the second hand started ticking. Not a second at a time, though. A tick every few seconds. Jamison lived his life on his own schedule, taking his time to do things right. There was no rush. Even the clocks didn’t rush. He crossed the street to a sandwich shop and ate thoughtfully, chewing his food throughout the lunch hour one slow bite at a time.

Outside, the sun rose and arched and sank, and nobody cared.






Day 358’s three random writing prompt categories were, “All the clocks are wrong,” “Urine in a cup,” and, “Judgement.”

Seven more days.

– H.

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