The designs of those clocks were marvelous, but my half-baked brain could not slip behind their minimalist beauty to figure out what time it was. They looked like all those math calculations on a blackboard that I used to stare at hopelessly in school. The Arabic numerals had been beautiful then, and the design of those clocks was beautiful now.

Perhaps their point, their message, is to forget about time, it being a linear intrusion, an inconvenience, and our obsession with it an obscenity. Yes, I decided, that was the message, and if it wasn`t, I`d pretend it was. Isn`t that what life is about, anyway? Pretending things are not what they clearly are?

How can one live in a capitalist society otherwise? We have to pretend, don`t we, that everything, especially our immortal souls, depends on us buying as much as we can to uphold the world`s economy. Isn`t that our patriotic duty? Otherwise, we`re just capitalist pigs, right?

As I continued enjoying the shop`s air conditioning I happened on an elegant six-sided ballpoint pen. It being important to me to have pens and notebooks I`m fond of, I thought of buying this little gem. But then I noticed it had no cartridge. What if I couldn`t find the right cartridge? Ha, I mused to myself, this pen is pointless. Like so much else in a society devoted to clutter.

Upstairs was Chinese artist Song Dong`s profoundly disturbing commentary on acquisitiveness and clutter "a vast spread of household objects, a macrocosm of every attic and basement. Obscene and tawdry, an unforgettable indictment of capitalist decadence.

But in the shop it was acquisitiveness as usual. It was always time to buy, even if a frazzled brain couldn`t tell exactly what time it was.