Thursday, March 5, 2009


Racing down the second floor hall of Building 300 to my Shakespeare Studies class I wondered, “Am I late?” Ha, a clock, I’m saved. My question could be answered, a student’s pot-o’-gold. No, wait. The time on one side is different than the other.

Stepping closer to the clock I must have entered a shortcut through space and time because facing west the time was 10:49 and 21 seconds and facing east it was 4:06 and 42 seconds thus keeping perfect time in reverse to reason. Does time really flow in only one direction anyway I wondered? I expected to hear a ‘Cuckoo—Cuckoo’, but all the chronometer could do was not tell time. Apparently, non-operational clocks have been a timeless problem at Chabot.

Almost two decades ago Instructor Barbara Pope mused it would be nice to get the clocks right at least once a year. Nick Pereira, then head of the college’s Maintenance and Operations division, explained our clocks are tied to a central clock, which automatically sets the time. He had replaced the ‘mother clock’ with a digital devise two years before former student Marc DeSaussure interviewed him in 1991. Pereira went on to say, “Obviously, this isn’t working…. ” and added, “Unfortunately the school’s clocks are already around 20 years old and probably don’t work properly…(they) have worn out signal wires.” Replacement would have cost the college between $150,000 and $250,000 then. Almost forty years of “whatever” ticking later, not much has changed.

But, one mustn’t complain without solutions.
1) Take the clocks out, they’re not clocks, clocks tell time, it’s better not to have clocks;
2) Mount a contest to see who could embellish “time” more than it already does on its own. Prizes could be awarded for the most inventive, colorful or thought-provoking clock and there are hundreds to choose from;
3) Make “Any Time Is The Right Time” the school’s official policy. If a student shows up late for an exam they must be given the full three hours to complete the test, after all they were on time according to some clock at Chabot;
4) In 2000 B.C. the sundial answered the need for marking time. Chabot has talented metal and stone artists. We have physicists. Start building.
5) Satellite clocks stay accurate. I just got one free for subscribing to a magazine. Start subscribing;
6) Go Japanese. Feng Shui informs us that clocks are powerful generators of energy and if you just sit near or under a clock that doesn’t work it creates stagnancy, nothing happens. If you sit near a clock or under a clock you are always under pressure, never seem to have enough time to complete projects;
7) Design and wear “Start Clocks, Not War” buttons.

Running under the wall clock to my Shakespeare class again I recalled Hamlet’s proclamation, “The time is out of joint. Oh, cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right.”

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