We live in a very strange age, and as such I find myself wishing for things like a rewind button, a speed up button, or perhaps a “mark as read” for life.
Time, as someone or other said, is the strangest thing, starting with our perception of it, and ending with… well, our perception of it.
Some people posit, in fact, that there is no such thing as time outside human perception, and that everything happens, as it were simultaneously. The idea is so bizarre, I can’t picture it, and if you can you must have a very oddly arranged mind.
The nature of humans is to be sequential, of course. My personality today is not like my personality at 30, which in turn was quite different from my personality at 3, but if you arrange them sequentially you get a sense of “one of these things came from the others.”
I liked the idea of Heinlein’s story (Lifeline? I can’t remember the title. I have a problem with titles, including my own.) where each individual was a bright streak through time, worm like, with a definite beginning and end.
(One of the whole things that turns me off from the idea of uploading your personality, in case it wasn’t obvious from Darkship Renegades is this idea that your sense of self also gets uploaded, and more importantly, that it leaves the body you’re leaving in at the same time. That requires either the belief in souls — I do, but uploading your soul would seem to be more than a simple technical operation. Which reminds me I need to put up my son’s short story collection since one of them exactly plays with that idea. Because if souls exist it probably would also be evil to trap it in a machine — or a very odd idea of what the “ego” in the sense of that thing which is each of us is. And since I can’t see a mechanism to remove it from the living body, unless it’s a metaphysical one (Heinlein could write that, I think. Most of us couldn’t) how would the “me” in a machine evolve away/toward the me in the body, and how trapped would it feel?)
Moving right along, I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom the sense of time in childhood was incredibly extended. I swear an afternoon playing at my friend’s house lasted as long as a weekend now. Everyone I know reports the same thing. Older son says it’s because of the way experiences (new, versus old) impress on the brain. Some physicists a couple of years ago came up with the idea that time is accelerating. But for my money, I don’t think either is quite right. Because my time can still get bizarrely dilated when I dive headlong into writing a book. Sure, it seems like it was two hours, but once I emerge from the daze, it feels like months or years have passed, perhaps because the intense experience makes me feel like a completely different person.
Meanwhile, boring experiences also take forever to get through. I remember, after delivering #1 son and seeing he was alive, well, and frankly pissed about how long the whole process had taken, I wanted to push the forward button and take us to a place where I wasn’t so frigging exhausted and could move around and talk and think. So I did the next best thing and asked for help sleeping… and crashed for 24 hours, waking up to a very hungry baby.
Often when they were little, and I couldn’t sit down and eat two bites without a crisis in between, I wanted to fast forward to “when they can feed/clean themselves.” And I won’t lie and say that I don’t sometimes, now, wish I could rewind to some of the times when they were little, but in my defense, I’d just play “favorite times” over and over again, like the labor day weekend when we discovered Lakeside in Denver.
Perhaps because I was always a very unnatural mother, I’m not actually nostalgic for the diaper years, or the times when I needed to watch them every second, except for one or two truly exceptional days.
All this to say: it’s been a lot of fun having younger son live with us for three weeks, while between apartments. I feel a little guilty I co-opted him to work in the garden, but I couldn’t have got all the stuff done (from deforesting to planting flowers) by myself, and Dan’s knees, at the time, don’t permit him to do heavy stuff like that.
I look like a victim of domestic abuse (there’s bruises EVERYWHERE) and younger son has lost all the skin in his palms to blisters (builds character) but the backyard is halfway to looking civilized. It remains for me to run the sweeper and the dethatcher and then sometime in September, overseed.
Which brings me to why my writing has been so slow. In the wake of my coming back from being very ill, I had to deal with a bunch of things I’d normally have done in the house when we bought it (it was a foreclosure, remember?) before it got much worse. I still need to find a good, reliable handiman/builder, among other things to rebuild the second floor porch/balcony which has dry rotted supports and other issues and also buy a new oven-microwave unit to replace the one that died.
BUT in the mean time, it has intruded upon my attention that I’m managing my time very badly. I realized it this morning, when I ran everything I needed to do, from feeding and medicating felines to finishing planting, to putting out trash, to writing this blog. It was all supposed to be done by 9, and as you see I failed. I knew I would when I reviewed the list in my head. Because it’s impossible.
I needed to do it before 9 because son and I have been promising ourselves a few hours at the zoo while he was here, and he leaves tomorrow. So…
But as I realized I need to block off the writing time and hold it sacred (because there’s always another household care/maintenance task to do) I’m calling it taking half a day off. I’ll be working on Deep Pink come one pm.
That’s the new attempt. To formalize my relationship with writing time and make it x hours a day when it takes primacy. I used to do it when the boys were in school and writing time was from the moment I walked back home to moment I walked out to pick them up. It worked too, except for the week after 9/11.
I’m going to try to do the same again, before it’s too late. Because time is finite. And I have a lot of stuff to do that means much more to who I am than mere home maintenance, even though that also needs to be done, so it doesn’t fall down around my head.
And now, it’s time to get ready to go see the monkeys with the kid who used to be called Little Monkey. That is lost somewhere in the midst of times, but his adult self is quite nice, and we’ll enjoy a nice morning out.
Before it’s too late.