Sunday, December 19, 2004

Only-Interesting-To-Me Factoid About Me #314

I'm obsessed with time.

I'm the most on-time guy you'll ever meet/read-about. I'm almost never late. I'm almost never early. I'm pretty much right on time, all the time. It's kind of spooky.

Years ago, I once agreed to meet a friend in St. Louis. We picked a date and a time of 5:00pm. I then drove from San Francisco to St. Louis, a distance of over 2000 miles, over a period of several days. I arrived at her apartment on the given date, at 5:01 and 30 seconds. Those 90 seconds eat at me to this day.

I think this time obsession is also the main motivator behind all this damn running I do. It can't be that I'm particularly interested in being fit or muscley since I can't really be bothered to go to a gym or lift a single weight. Have you tried lifting those things. They're way heavy.

Nor do I run because I enjoy it. I do not care for it in the slightest. If the run is astonishingly beautiful and hilly, then I might enjoy a couple minutes of the downhill part, but as for the other 99.9% of the miles I log, each one is a chore.

I've been compelled to run, though, for about 20 years, off and on. The only possible reason I can think of is because it's one of the purest ways to pit man against time. Run this course as fast as I can? YES! MUST RUN COURSE AS FAST AS I CAN! AAAAAAAH!!! Crikey, that's a sorry reason for a pathetic hobby. It completely possesses me though. Here's what I wrote a couple days before running the Chicago Marathon this year. Maybe I could find other time-restricted ways to inflict pain upon myself. I could see how long it takes to stick 100 splinters under my fingernails, then try to beat that record. Hmmmmm.

Time even comes into play in one of my other hobbies, Scrabble. I'm a decent Scrabble player while sitting around the kitchen table. There are plenty of words that I play because I've memorized them off of a list and I have no idea what they mean. That's a key differentiator between the casual Scrabble player and the club/tournament player. In general, however, most of the other club and tournament Scrabble players have memorized more word lists and are better at spotting words on their rack than I am. Really, my own advantage in a tournament game is the fact that it's timed. Each player has a total of 25 minutes in which to make all their moves, and I'm pretty darn good at spending those minutes wisely. I never run out of time. Consequently, I have a surprisingly good Scrabble rating of over 1400. I can assure you that the vast majority of the other 1400+ players are much more adept at the whole "word" part of the game.

Mostly, it's a sickness.

Really, the only time question I cannot answer is this: How long before my wife divorces me for constantly saying things like, "Hey! You've only got 17 and a half minutes before we have to leave!" ?


amy said...

My favorite word in the Scrabble game to use (and also to really piss off my sister) is: QAT. I have no idea the meaning but it is a word and a good one in those last minute tight spots at the end of the game.

Mike said...


QAT is a great word! I play it all the time too. That and EAU seem to solve problems that I often have in my rack. In fact, I play QAT so often, that I actually bothered to learn what it means. It's an evergreen shrub. Ooooh, perhaps that's what I should decorate for Winter Tree Present Day! Maybe it should be Winter Qat Present Day. That's the missing geeky link.

tinyhands said...

Umm, IF your wife were to leave you because of "time" issues, I don't think it'll be about getting ready to go somewhere. You say you're almost never early, so that shouldn't be a problem. :)

Mike said...

Whoop! Whoop! Euphemism alert! Whoop whoop!

tinyhands said...