The Bureaucracy Of Time

I was listening to RTE Gold in my favourite hospital waiting room. Perhaps time was my enemy, I said to myself. Perhaps time waits behind every door; a horror story of endless time lurking spectrally down at the end of every dusty corridor. An untold weight of time waiting to rush in and crush me. No matter which way I turned it would catch up with me and run me down.



Time sometimes seems to press in on us from all sides. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that. Time pressing in like that. It’s like standing in a vast empty plain that seems to go on forever. It’s like being in a deserted office building full of corridors that you’re frightened to go down. You’d like to run and hide yourself away in the smallest room you can find but you know that no matter how small the space time would still be waiting for you there. It will explode in your face when you least expect it, leaving you back in that vast deserted plain.



The Time-Like universe will unfold prodigiously out of nowhere and unpack itself at break-neck speed all around you. You’ll be walking down those endless corridors looking for the right waiting room, the waiting room that doesn’t exist. Eventually you’ll find it – you’ll take a ticket from the machine on the wall and you will sit down for the long wait. The room is empty apart from you – the room was meant just for you, the whole deserted building meant just for you. Time has finally caught up with you and there’s nowhere left to hide!



I’m in my favourite waiting room, listening to RTE Gold. I said to myself, without really knowing what I was saying. I was in an environment that was specifically designed to validate my idea of myself. Everything in that room said my name, said something about me. Everything in the room told me who I was, reminded me of who I was. ‘You can’t get away now’, the room told me. The room was me. The room was everything about me. It was my own dream.



Outside in the corridor, time waited patiently for me. It could wait forever. It was forever, bureaucratic and impersonal, full of forms needing to be filled in. You can keep on filling in those forms forever but you still won’t get anywhere. Your soul will be forfeit. You haven’t filled in the correct application form to be allocated a permit for a soul. I’m listening to RTE Gold of course. I’m always listening to RTE Gold. ‘Was there ever a time when I wasn’t listening to RTE Gold?’ I asked myself. If there was then I don’t remember it.



I was suffocating slowly under the oppressive weight of the bureaucracy of time. The whole building reeked of it. It was a very old smell, I noticed. Old and bad. It had been around too long and it would continue to be around too long. It could not be defeated. Minutes went by slowly – measured out precisely by the machinery of the organization’s policies and procedures. They accumulate in great dusty piles around the room. Time was stagnating all around me.



Every now and again frenetic little dreams would find their way into my head and take my consciousness away on a strange journey. Where, I cannot tell you. Perhaps to some other world, some other universe where the bureaucracy of time didn’t hold sway. Some parallel universe where life is still allowed, where life still gets to happen. Creatures live in that other world – sleek, brightly-coloured, fast-moving creatures that flit here and there when you’re not looking. You can view them out of the corner of your eye, if you’re careful. They are Fire Salamanders and they gamble ceaselessly. They are doing their dance. They spin around and around in fiery circles forever, chasing their own flaming tails. They devour themselves and give birth to themselves. They partake in Eternity.



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