Tick Tock People

“The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen all at once.”   – Albert Einstein

TicToc Katherine Streeter for NPR I think a lot about time. You probably know that, because I write a lot about it. I’m kind of obsessive. I think about time and memory, time and conscious and unconscious thought, time ahead, time past, time better spent, time for change, how time doesn’t change, how quickly things change, the transient nature of reality from moment to moment.

Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

My cousin just had a baby boy, and his next few years will be measured by all sorts of time standards – not only will his life be segmented in days and then months, but in hours until he has to be fed, how much time has lapsed since he’s urinated, how long he sleeps, milestones he reaches early, punctually, late, or not at all. The minute we pop out of the womb (we count on nine months of gestation, but due dates are kind of arbitrary, since we can time the birth according to need and convenience), we are beholden to clock or calender.

My life is compelled forward by bells that measure time, what is over and what is to begin: alarm clocks, school bells, wedding bells, blue bells of spring, telephones that ring (or don’t), door bells, bells that toll. Even thoughts are measured by time – “the first time I discovered”; “I should have known then”; “I didn’t realize until”; “it has often been said.” Indeed, by the first time I thought these thoughts, those I have just written down, Poe had already said them with music and form.(http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/bells.) Pink Floyd used bells in the poetry of the beautiful song “Time.”

By the time you think a thought, it’s a thought already thunk; by the time your bell is rung, it’s a song already sung. By the time you write a poem about time, you know that poems shouldn’t always rhyme.

Winston Smith, tragic hero of 1984, is obsessed with a nursery rhyme about the bells in different churches of London; it ends with the line “here comes a chopper to chop off your head.” Time’s up! Perhaps our greatest collective fear is that time will run out too soon.

We have Circadian rhythms and biological clocks. We have diseases that lay dormant like ticking time bombs, and mysterious powers of regeneration, and time sensitive skills, abilities and opportunities. Recently I read that not only do we have a master clock in our bodies that controls our natural sleep cycle, but that we also have little clock in virtually every organ and even cell, and that those clocks sync up and tick in unison, or we suffer drag or go too fast. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/03/10/389596946/circadian-surprise-how-our-body-clocks-help-shape-our-waistlines

I have come up with this conclusion: time is important.

The thing is, when you look at time in relation to an individual, it does have a heightened significance, because time has a bearing on a person; we are products of our time, or we are anachronisms, or we need time to evolve into another aspect of ourselves. In an individual, time is finite and duplicitous; sometimes it crawls; others, it sprints. But on a larger scale, time is infinite, much bigger than an individual, a family, generations, an era. Time is vast and doesn’t flow linearly. Time has its own life, regardless of you and me, so measuring ourselves in relation to something that is beyond the confines of numbers or units is ridiculous; yet, this is what we do. We think: by this time, I should have accomplished this, or I need to acquire that, or I want to be here. And when we fall short of these goals, we are sad or anxious.Time is so important to us, but really, what does it matter? All things will happen, in time. If we stop worrying about the past and the future, we can pay attention to the time that is right now. We can become part of time, instead of trying to control or beat it. We don’t have to be time fighters.

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, easily measured in years, decades, scores and even centuries.Half a century, anyway. I thought that at this point in my life, I would be different than I am, and that my life would have taken turns that would have brought me to a place that I am not. I don’t regret very many things I have done, but I am wistful about some of the things I didn’t do. At this birthday, I took stock of the past, and, for the first time that I can really recall, I thought of the future. I should be making plans, setting goals I need to reach sooner rather than later. I should plan ahead, so others won’t have to plan for me. Really, when I think about it, what have I been doing all of this time? I wonder what it all means. I have lived a glorious life…but what does it amount to? Am I just passing through? Am I missing something that, once realized, will be forever mourned?

I had a party at the museum. There was beauty everywhere, from all time periods, representational of different movements, the ebb and flow of tastes and sensibilities.Friends came. Family came. There were people who have known me since I was born, and people I have known since their first breaths. Friends came from my various jobs and schools, from when I was wild and when I was tame, some who knew me as a child, some who recognize me only as an adult. There were people who have seen me cry and who have cried with me, and  who have brought me joy, insight, strength and inspiration. I have laughed and cackled and dances and sang at the top of my lungs with these people. Some of the friends I ran around with as kids brought their kids. I invited friends I know intimately and new friends I have just discovered. I thought of people who I am tied to who were not physically there, but who I felt with me, who I feel with me often.

I don’t know what time means. Sometimes I don’t recognize who I have been, or understand who I am, or am unable to conceive of who I will be. But looking out on a room full of relationships, of people who I love, and knowing that I am loved; when I look out, or I look in, and I feel gratitude and acceptance, and I see beauty and complexity and hope; when I realize that no matter how much time I have left, in the end, I will be happy, fulfilled and thankful; then I know that so far, I’ve used my time well.

Happy birthday, Ryan Robert. You have some splendid years ahead. And happy birthday to me, because I know I do, too.

Thanks to all of you who have given me five decades of goodness, and Happy Birthday to all the Pisces -Aries Peeps: Harper, KW, ED, Brandon, JWB, Em, Joe, June, Perry, BDT, Ed, Jen the C and David, Mollie and Robert, KSJW, and my godson, Raphe. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out!

Lost and Found

It’s been almost a month since I have written. It’s not that I have lost the will; lately, I haven’t found the time. Thanks to Becky for noticing I was gone! Anyway, here are some other things I have lost or found since I last checked in.

Found: First robin’s eggs, in various shades of Tiffany’s box, officially marking the most glorious season of all, Spring! I think finding one unexpectedly means good luck, and I pick them up and cradle them carefully all the way home, where I put them in a small square vase. Every time I look at them, I’m struck. They are so delicate and thin, but are colored so lushly and extravagantly. Admiring them, I feel like surely the good and the wondrous are everywhere, and that possibility is bursting forth all the time.

Found: A story by Robert Coover in an old NewYorker. I love me some Coover. He is a professor at Brown University who has been described as a “metafiction fabulist”. I don’t know what that means, but it’s a pretty cool way to be described, right? I first read him in a college anthology in the post-modernists section, which again, means-nothing-but-fun-to-say. The story, which was written in 1969, the year I joined the good folks of the Daisy Mae Yahoo Ranch for the Progressively Evolving and Hopelessly Deconstructed*,  was called “The Babysitter”, and I have already written about it in this blog, so if you want to read it or readmore of what I have to say about it, find it in that weird word cloud or the tag list. Anyway, I found this new story, “Going For A Beer”, and yes, ladies and germs, even when not tripping balls with the hipsters of my youth, I still love me some Coover! He does a lot of strange things with temporal perception; his stories always remind me of that Super Elastic Bubble Plastic stuff I used to play with as a kid, but which was so much fun, but which I guess was actually toxic, as I haven’t seen it in at least twenty years.Must See TV presents “Coover Town”, starring your friend, Courtney Cox! It’s an angst-ridden, hilarious pre-natal, post-partum, pre-pubescent, frustrated adolescent, shamefully narcissistic, fleetingly satisfied, achingly longing, grindingly monotonous, dutifully perormed,  pseudo-psycho-sexual, post-modern-fabulist romp through the fads and foibles of middle aged depressive light hearted tragicomedy! RAWR!!!!

* None of that meant anything either, but there is something so satisfying about spewing ridiculous misinformation as if it was the truth, for no reason except to just do it! Good times!


Then, when I was looking for the link above for you lucky lamb chops, I found this article on my boyfriend, David Eagleman, from another old New Yorker, and it’s all about time, which you know I love to obsess on, and I know you love to read me obsess about! Man-O-Man! O ye gods of serendipitous synchronicity, receive my huzzahs and exultations as I fall on bended knee to praise your bad-assedness! It doesn’t get much better than this! http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/04/25/110425fa_fact_bilger

*BtDubs: the article is long, but it really is fascinating. The Coover story is short, but is a perfect companion for the article, as it looks at time like the dilation and constriction of an eye, expanding between past and present, or narrowing sharply to focus on a moment. Outstanding!

Found: Lots of plants in my garden that I did NOT plant, but that are growing magnificently on their own intrinsic motivation! The technical gardener word for plants like this are “volunteers”, but I like to call them “Palinesque”, because they just go rogue and pop up whether you want them or not. Fortunately, my tomatoes, cantaloupes, peppers and basil aren’t assholes from Alaska, so it’s all very exciting. I also have beans, radishes, Japanese eggplants, turnips, onions, roses, cosmos, daisies, asparagus, carnations, carrots (oh boy!), and herbs galore!

Found: Music to look forward to! My friend has a band who put out a cd and I like it, which is kind of rare. I mean, I love my friends, and some of them are really talented, but lots of times their stuff is …well, you know, to each her own, right? I can’t help it; even though I don’t know anything about music and have no right to judge, I’m picky. But, I can honestly say I love this cd. It’s called “Dirty”, and the band is the Electro-Magnetics. Go here to listen to some of  it: http://www.theelectromagnetics.com/#!__songs. For still more titillation, (Grrr! Now there’s a word that means business!) here’s a photo:

Watching the band from under the tableAlways leave ’em wanting more, that’s what I say! No, seriously folks, here’s a better picture:

Oh, snap, suckah! I played you again! Guess you’ll just have to check them out for yourselves!

Also, that band I told you about from Austin, Okkerville River, are putting out a new cd on May 10. I realize that they are not for everybody, but I am a fan, and I can’t wait! Listen to that cd here:


Lost: My ability to sleep through the night. It’s been touch and go for awhile, but it’s all over now. Thank goodness for the BBC. And Nyquil, or as I like to call it, “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” I am growing fond of the mild hallucinations I succumb to during the day, so the sleep deprivation really isn’t all that bad.

Lost: My patience. I am so glad the school year is almost over, because I am really finding it difficult to be tactful or polite to those I work with every day. A boy told me he didn’t know why he couldn’t remember to bring paper to school with him, and it was all I could do not to tell him that the obvious reason that he had these lapses was because he was very, very stupid, and that I have known that ever since I met him last year, when he was a freshman for the first time. I told my principal that I had to break protocol by calling an ambulance for a student that couldn’t breathe and was having chest pains instead of taking her to the clinic because the nurse is incompetent and doesn’t have the authority to hand out aspirin, and that she could stick her protocol in her protocolon. OK, I didn’t actually say that, but I thought it really loudly. And finally, I told these kids who have been shyly flirting with each other for the entire year to go ahead and get a room and get it over with, because their pent-up hormonal desire was becoming tiresome and quasi-distasteful to me. Oh, all right! Again, I guess the word ‘told’ is a little strong here, as no actual words escaped my throat. Still and all, I really feel like I’m gonna blow soon, fo’ reals!

Found: I found a field full of fireflies. If you haven’t seen one lately, it is every bit as wondrous and delightful as you remember it to be.

Found: Under my bed, a shirt I have never laid eyes upon. That’s odd. It’s a little big and definitely not mine, but I do LOVE gifties, so I will accept it with pleasure.

Dear Universe,

Thank you for the shirt! It was very thoughtful of you, and I frequently find myself in situations in which it behooves me to not be naked, so I will be able to use it often. You always know just what I like! Love ya like a sis, and stay sweet,                                                                                                                                   AVR

Found: In TIME magazine, it was reported that Americans purchased approximately 330 million cases of wine in 2010, making us for the first time the world’s largest wine-consuming nation. USA! USA! I really had to step up my own personal boozing to help us kick some French wino ass, but I’m a patriot, and I do what I can, selflessly, so here’s to me! Of course, I didn’t do it alone, and so I’d like to thank a few of those that helped me achieve this honor:
Please note that most of these lushes are three fisted drinkers, and only one of them is still able to stand. Everyone meant to show how much fun they were having for the photo, but their mouth muscles were too drunk to smile. It happens.

I think someone slipped a tiny oil slick into this glass. That’s all right. A little BP additive just lubes the throat and helps everything slide down real quicklike.

When I drank this glass, I saw drunk people! Creepy, right?

Anyhow, I know I am forgetting someone or something, but that’s the beauty of being hammered.

So, all things considered, many gains to few losses; it’s been a terrific month! I did miss you, though…

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! I also found a dog! I found him at the pound, where, coincidentally, I was looking for him.

Congratulations to Bonnie and Matthew on their wedding, and to Big Salty on her upcoming birthday! Also, Happy-So-Close-To-Being-A-Full-On-Mom to JR and to all you Big, Bad Muthas out there, Happy, happy day to you!