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Pajama Game copy


About Time—Rochelle Resets Her Clock

About Time — Rochelle Resets Her Clock

In the mid-1950s, I got to see the Broadway production of The Pajama Game and left the theater humming Hey There,” running to the store and buying the cast album so I could sing along to Hernando’s Hideaway” and Steam Heat.” The Adler and Ross show made its way to my summer camp, where we put on a production of The Pajama Game, forever imprinting into my actions the lyrics and obsessiveness of the musical number, Think Of The Time I Save.”

Some of the lyrics: I’m a time study man, and a time study man can’t waste time / For a time study man to waste time is a crime / So I’m ruled by the tick-tick-tock / And I live my life by the clock,” became more than a sing-a-long for me. 

Useful. Scheduling helped me get a lot done over the years, and I was rewarded for it. I met responsibilities while staying calm by checking stuff off my endless list — on which many things were simultaneous priorities. This served me well especially while working on projects in Japan where everyone I worked with was prompt. Being in sync was being respectful.

Self-imposed, I invented systems, like allowing an extra five minutes per person to get into the car so that we could leave on time. I became the family joke about checking in at the airport a day in advance, so that we wouldn’t miss the flight. About sitting in cars waiting for shops to open because we had arrived early.

As I aged, I didn’t need to be a physicist to understand how complicated and mysterious the concept of time is while I try to make shifts in my perception of that man-made construct. Some things I finally realized: for me, now, time is not money; on time” is different than early. Daylight savings time is not more or less time. And I have replaced deadlines with priorities.