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JWR 3.30 - Cesium 133


Sometimes I get confused and catch myself briefly thinking that pressing the handle on the toilet will turn out the lights and I should flip the light switch to first flush the toilet and then press the handle on the toilet to turn out the lights.  Itís not a long period of time that I think this, barely a noticeable pause as my hand begins its journey to the toilet handle and summarily pauses part way there (barely noticeable) before continuing to finish the task.  Barely noticeable, barely worth mentioning.


What is time?  Like everything else we rely on, itís just a manmade construct; just like everything else we rely on, itís unreliable.  Itís not perfect and it can break down.  This is why we have leap years and imperfect calendars.


What is a second?  You can say ďI love youĒ in a second and really make it sound like you mean it, not like saying it as you walk out the door without looking back.  Those kinds of...well, goodbyes, really, take maybe half a second and then the door shutting erases the rest of the Doppler effect of the emotion, like cutting a radio transmission.  What I mean is a full second filled with three small syllables with a sight pause in between each to give the other personís brain ample time to wonder what the next word will be.




I will be seeing you.  I hate monkeys.  I of the tiger.


ďI.  Love.Ē


I love CSI.  I love Adam Ant.  I love rainy nights.


ďI.  Love.  You.Ē


One second.  Donít leave the room again without saying that.


What it time?  I donít wear a watch on weekends.  I donít care what time it is.  You can guess, but not knowing exactly for much of the time is a quiet liberty.  Wake at dawn; sleep at night.


Wake at 6:45AM.  Leave for work at 7:20AM.  Arrive at work at 7:30AM.  Leave for lunch at 11:30AM.  Return from lunch at 12:30PM.  Leave work at 4:30 PM.   Eat dinner at 6:00PM.  Sleep at 11:00PM.


Thereís no description in there about the few seconds it takes to read an email that puts a smile on your face for uncounted more seconds.  Thereís no description about the seconds you spend dislodging a husk from a kernel of corn from between your teeth.  And the few seconds of relief you feel before lodging it back in there again.


A second is all it takes for a bullet fired from a gun to travel and do itís undoable damage.  A second will knock a child from a bike run into by a truck.  In a second you can fall in love.  A second shares a kiss with both of you.


A second is an entity traveling beside you each day seeing what you see, doing what you do.  It is your accomplice, your witness, your conscience.  It shares all your secrets and threatens to expose them to the world...if only you donít hurry.


A second is your mother.  It is your father.  It is your best friend.  Itís your bitter enemy.  Sheís your lover.  It is your god.


A second is poetry.


A second, a pure, perfect second, is 9,192,631,770 vibrations of a Cesium 133 atom in a vacuum.  Personally (itís all personal, isnít it?) I think the physicists got lazy.  What are the chances that the number of vibrations would end in a zero?  What, one in ten...maybe.  They should have put more heart into it, the way I put mine into telling you these insignificant things.


Whoís lovable, now?




Beware of the strange girl, whose lips drip as honeycomb, whose mouth is smoother than oil.  -Proverbs


Copyright © 2003 John Lemut