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Worldwide Ace » Time

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Time

12 December, 2013 (18:26) | Work

time

I’m a nonbeliever. Nothing you can say or do will convince me otherwise.

Time is illusory.

And yet, I constantly fall to its whims and fancies. The minutes and hours slip past unnoticed and I’m left wondering what happened to the time. Never is this more true than Winter.

My alarm croaks through the dimness at 5:30. Depending on whether or not I need to shave to meet the grooming standards, I may hit snooze for 15 minutes. My next hour and half is spent preparing: I shower, dress, pack, cook, make coffee, and either bike through frigid temperatures, wander to the bus, or await my ride. I spend between thirty-five minutes and an hour making my way up to the slopes, before jumping headlong into my day.

This is where things get weird. It’s important for the mountain to have enough instructors to cover all the lessons they get each day. This isn’t always a simple matter, as it’s only estimates. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to pay an instructor not to teach a lesson, so that means we get a paltry sum (around $4) for showing up just in case, and if they have a lesson, then we get paid to teach.

In the early part of the season, not a lot of people are coming up and taking lessons, and the management likes to spread the wealth among the instructors showing up, so it’s hard to teach every day. When I don’t teach, I’ve been dragging my laptop up, doing research on schools and scholarships, reading, and trying to better myself. I try to ski every day I come up, but the waiting sometimes drains my energy more than skiing.

As the season progresses, extra work starts appearing: setting up signs and fences where the groomers ran, booting and teching equipment, and greeting customers or basic maintenance. After my first season, I was labeled King of the Sunkid, our beginner magic carpet, because I arrived early each day to set up flags, fences and pieces of flare. Now it’s habit to be early, have time to help out, and take a little unrushed me-time to brush my teeth and get geared up.

Right now, it feels like I have all the time in the world. An hour of downtime here and an hour of downtime there start to add up. And yet it’s never enough to feel truly productive. I was able to whip out a scholarship essay during a 45 minute stretch one morning, but one success is hardly enough. More often, I find myself chatting with my coworkers also trying to spell the time.

When lessons don’t come in, we’re at our leisure. We can ski, take a clinic to better ourselves, or head down the mountain to complete chores. Finding other work, however, is more difficult. Some instructors keep evening jobs, but when you don’t know if you’ll be needed to teach all day, getting off around four in the afternoon, or if you’ll be released at ten in the morning, it’s hard to plan an alternative schedule.

Most instructors have other jobs. Eldora boasts more than 200 instructors on staff, which is large for a mountain this size, but only about 40 of us are full timers. Even fewer, a handful at best, are like me and up there nearly every day.

By the time I get home, it’s already dark out once more. I leave my home in darkness and return in darkness. I generally have enough energy to make some dinner before crawling into bed and doing it all again the next day.

I don’t mind spending two hours commuting daily. I don’t mind waking up extra early to cook breakfast for myself and my compatriots. I don’t mind not working some days, instead getting to train or relax or free ski (it is one of the perks of the job). But it drives me nuts that my life, in so many ways, is nonexistent outside of my job in the winter.

And that is a matter of time.

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  • TheOldBear

    Some Thoughts about Time

    More than the invention of wheels or agriculture, perhaps even more than the control of fire, the knowledge of defeat has pointed the way for human civilization. Somewhere in the remote past, humans had learned to anticipate the future in reasonable detail, and to see limitations and potential failures in every direction. … There is no telling precisely when an individual first grasped the notion that if all other creatures eventually died, and if the oldest, grayest people he knew always died within a few dozen lunar cycles, and if there existed no one older than the old grays, then death might not be something that happened only to everyone else. Ahead of him he began to see the end of all things, an unavoidable defeat, beyond which lay a great unknown.

    If one could approximate how many spring seasons he had seen and compare those with the approximate age of the tribal elders, he cold also estimate how may spring seasons remained before his own death became inevitable. The discovery of time could not have followed far behind the discovery of death. For all we know, it might have preceded the discovery of fire.

    The Babylonians invented birth certificates and could henceforth assign numbers to the ages of their oldest citizens. Under very favorable conditions if disease, famine, or violence did not strike first, one might reach the age of seventy years. And thus do the first birth certificates echo down to us: “The days of our years are three score and ten.”

    If indeed man once dwelled in ignorance of both time and death, then for all our forefathers knew, they truly were eternal, in the same sense that our cats, if they think of it at all, are unaware that they are not everlasting. In biological terms, the explosive growth of human brains during the past million years guaranteed that sooner or later human minds would be capable of gaining knowledge; and with knowledge, death entered the world.

    Man, who knows death, is obsessed with time.

    — Charles Pellegrino