It all began when his mates Isla and Jeb moved house and in the midst of chaos Jeb had set up his computer system. After a day of lunking boxes he’d emerged from beneath his desk, wrestling with the usual spaghetti, to note the time on his digital clock was 9h:9. Too knackered to even begin to make sense of it, he’d given it the finger and hit the sack, but not before Isla had grabbed a shot on her phone and texted it to her mate KOG, quoting Jeb, “Now what the hell is wrong with that clock?”
For KOG it had been a Damascus moment, he’d nearly wet himself with joy, the ultimate victory, an anarchist’s wet dream.
Recently retired, KOG was in the process of reclaiming his life from all that time represents, the orderliness of work, appointments, schedules and a slavish obedience to order which was none of his own. Now 66 he resented every external routine that had ever controlled his life. What use was time to an ageing hippy with anarchist pretensions? Time was now his own, but that was a misconception, still ruled by rules he despised. Fuck time, it was his own life he wanted. And Jeb, friend and computer genius, had cracked it in one moment of knackered inattention and ramped himself up to inadvertent hero status in KOG’s life.
Time, KOG mused, is the orthodoxy of our time and has been since the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the factory, the machine and thus enslavement to time. Time has all the characteristics of the blind unquestioning following of a religious cult to which KOG now aspired to become an apostate.
In response to Isla’s email KOG had immediately turned his digital alarm clock upside down to thus enjoy its now meaningless symbols of his once enslavement. Glancing up he noticed that it was just past midnight 50:0, or SOD. Perfect in its meaninglessness. Every time he glanced at it he was presented with an ever changing display of linear nonsense which delighted him.
Years ago KOG had discovered that the human experience of time is not an orderly linear progression. Our experience of time speeds up over time. A newborn of course has no concept of time, but in her first year experiences an infinite extent of time. By her second birthday a year represents 50% of the entirety of her experience. But at 66 KOG’s 67th year only represented a 66th of the entirety of his lived experience and the years were racing by at an ever increasing rate. That’s where time goes as we grow older, it truncates as Christmases come and go with what feels like ever decreasing time in between.
If he was ever reduced by age and no longer capable of looking after himself, KOG might find himself in a care home, something he contemplated with horror, imagining some well meaning member of staff asking him if he knew what day it was. As if days mattered to him, or even weeks or months. The passing seasons impressed themselves upon him as the wholly natural cycle of nature, in which the surest clock was a window or simply opening a door and stepping outside. No longer a marketable commodity, he had not much use for time, other than for visits to the doctors or hospital. Time was function for others in which he fitted when he had to.
In latter years KOG had turned to political activism, though he disliked the term. He had no time for television or whiling away his time in sedentary meaninglessness. Retirement did not mean an end to work, it just meant an end to work within the silly constraints of political polemic, at which the current government excelled and therefore got up his nose enough to write to the pointless incumbent of number 10 Downing Street about policies aimed at ridding the world of useless eaters like himself.
He saw David Cameron (for it was he), an over privileged, badly educated, fool in life, as an affront to human dignity. KOG was, by disposition, sanguine about fools as long as they kept their foolishness to themselves, Cameron was not one of those fools and the Internet had opened up a whole new world as a platform for the voices of ordinary people and KOG used it with alacrity. History, as they say, belongs to the victors, or to quote Braveheart, “history is written by those who have hanged heroes”, but the present now belongs to ordinary people, something despised by the rattled ruling elites who leave no stone unturned in their denigration of ordinary people in their attempts to silence them through division and derision and policies of attrition.
His time his own, KOG went on the attack, burning himself out in the process. He found himself leaning ever further towards anarchy, the democratised self and the exercise of inalienable human rights to speak, to think and express creatively, a social bottom up order of being instead of the oppression of top down feudal throwbacks and the inventors of the clocking in machine, a heinous affliction on the lives of workers.
So with boundless gratitude, KOG raised a delighted toast to Jeb and a life in which 9h:9 was a fitting symbol of liberation and contempt for those who are hounding and killing the living for profit.
What does 9h:9 mean? Nothing, glorious nothing. And everything.
KOG. 21 March 1027
(Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely gratuitous.)