When Time Stood Still

In the knowledge economy, it is hard to imagine the concept of time standing still.  E-mail, instant messages, phone calls, voice mails, text messages, social networks – these all move time ahead at twenty-first century speed.

But time standing still?  That couldn’t happen.

12 days ago, I found out it could indeed happen.  Some of it played out in slow motion, and some of it happened very fast, so fast I barely recall it, and some of it disappeared into a void.

As many of you know from the obituary written by David Goldes last week, my father, S. Franklin (Fred) Spira,  passed away on September 2 at the age of 83.  (See also the New York Times obituary and a remembrance by Burt Keppler, Siegfried Franz Who?).

Nothing prepared me for this even though my father had been ill for several years.

E-mails piled up, my presence/awareness in Sametime continuously indicated “away” and my phone was permanently forwarded to voicemail.  I remained oblivious to all of this.

For ca. ten days, I stepped out of the knowledge economy (during this time my use of e-mail was limited to correspondence with friends and relatives about my father – if I haven’t gotten back to you yet, I will shortly but I sincerely appreciate all of the kind notes and expressions of sympathy I have received).  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel the need to check e-mail or worry about meetings.  Instead, there were many hours with friends and family, just talking.

I’m back in the knowledge economy now.  I think about my father (who was known to be a workaholic) a lot but I know that he would want me to be back at work and in the thick of things.  After all, that’s what he would have done.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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