I surrendered this Sunday.
It came with concessions, mostly to reality. The reality of time.
My bedroom clock has been set a few minutes ahead of the actual time for about as long as I can remember. Since I was allowed to be in charge of my own devices, I have moved the hands forward in hopes of fooling myself into believing that I am late. And ever since I was allowed to move those hands forward, I have been susceptible to this ruse. I am so clever, and yet, I am so gullible.
At first, it was just four minutes. That was just enough to keep me honest. Or confused. I would see that minute hand creeping past the top of the hour and I would feel a twinge. Where did the time go? I was sure I had plenty of time.
At least four more minutes.
Of course, when I showed up in that near empty room, I was early. Such a relief. Which was probably a reaction to showing up late for those commitments managed by my father. His clocks were not set forward. Or if they were, he had figured out a way to surmount this imaginary obstacle. My father was no prisoner of time. Even if the rest of his family was.
And so those four minutes became my friend. They were the difference between living in my father's rushabout world and the world in which I found myself with my pick of seats in a theater, at the front of the line, ready to work.
Maintaining this ruse meant that I had to remember to get that extra nudge each time I reset my clock for daylight savings time, or after a power outage. That and the mild embarrassment of having to explain my chrono-peculiarity to anyone who asked, "Do you know your clock is wrong?"
Ultimately, I became surrounded by clocks. The one on my arm. The one on my computer. The one on my phone. The one inside our Google assistant. The one on the microwave. But, as it turns out, the most important one was inside my head. That one is always running fast. So I gave up those extra minutes on my night stand. I gave up the extra math and the manipulations of hardware. I have given up. I know what time it is. More or less.