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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.