Real time implies communication. To understand any real-time process, we expand our sense of pace to include side-by-side time scales. With or without computers, we live complex lives. Maybe your finances are precarious enough to require tight synchronization with your creditors. If you can sign the check, lick the stamp, and toss the envelope onto the passing mail-room robot-cart just as you tell your caller, "It's in the mail," you have at least part of your life running in real time. The many embedded computers in an automobile work in real time. There would be no point in taking all that sensor input from wheels and brakes and calculating the likelihood of a skid that has already ended in a ditch. Real time means keeping up. A juggler performs computational brain work in real time. A televised baseball game is broadcast in real time, which is to say "live," notwithstanding its many "instant" replays, which arrive in virtual time. The language of real time is a perpetual present tense: where a newspaper's sports columnist has the luxury of historical reflection, the quick-witted play-by-play announcer needs a syntax suited to real time, when present becomes past before our eyes, again and again, instant by instant. Going . . . going . . . gone.