‘Five minutes’ is a funny thing.
Driving down the motorway, with the drone of tyres under your stir-crazed legs, it can drag out for an eternity.
At drunken parties, that leave you dazed in the 5am sunlight, it's a darting sequence of seconds.
On the whole, our ability to accurately gauge time is fairly shambolic.
It’s this skewed perception that the creators of the ‘DURR’ – a device that alerts you every time five minutes passes – want to play with.
An inventive Norwegian product design duo, collectively known as Skrekkøgle, they chucked together a rough prototype before heading out for post-work beers, deciding to try and feel the tangibility of time.
It’s an interesting concept. We’re being repeatedly told that we’re all too absorbed in smart phones and social media sharing to live in the present.
Days whir and blur, and the feeling that weeks go past without really registering them is constant.
I decide to give it a try.
Aesthetically, DURR is inoffensive. The simple strap with a school gym blue ‘face’ is isn’t going to get any weird looks. It’s essentially a watch with no hands, dials or characters.
I strap it on.
I get my first buzz as I’m dawdling over tea and chatting with my housemate. It’s quiet, which is a relief – I was slightly concerned about being the office irritant if I emanated the sound of a pissed-off bee 12 times an hour.
And it does the trick. I’m aware of my lack of urgency when I need to be out of the house.
My unforgivably slow bus journey is made more acutely painful by the reminders that only five minutes have gone.
But as I tap away at work, DURR comes into its own. The time has a rhythm to it and gives me an awareness that lets me feel like one of those alpha types who never has to stay up all night to get everything finished.
It’s also the daydreamer's best friend. Prone as I am to elaborate late-afternoon mind wanderings, the buzz that summons me back to the present makes me more productive.
Back at home and putting away last weekend’s wine dregs with my housemates, again I’m, for once, in control of the hours that scramble away and bid for unregulated freedom.
I am triumphant. I am no longer a slave to time. Time is my bitch.
The problem comes at night.
The note enclosed with my sample said the ‘on/off’ switch was a bit hard. My lack of dexterity thwarts me. I cannot turn it off.
Durr, durr durr. The noise is louder in a dark, otherwise silent bedroom.
DURR gets consigned to the landing, like an incessantly bleating Furby that gets locked in the airing cupboard.
My next day is DURR-free.
It immediately goes tits-up.
I linger over breakfast. I dawdle to the bus. I am late to work.
Come 4pm, I dissolve into an elaborate daydream at my desk, in which I complete an MBA and win an entrepreneurship grant. I feel guilty. I don’t even want to be an entrepreneur.
DURR would never have let me get away with this.
Already, I am an addict. I crave DURR’s rhythmic, soothing reminders like some kind of over sized baby.
Tomorrow, I’m bringing my DURR back.