Time was

When an event is announced at Church, I don’t understand what the date means. It goes the same way at work. And with family.

“We’ll have this retreat weekend for the Church’s men’s group on November 13.”


Unless I just happened to glance at a calendar or the top of a newspaper the moment before the men’s retreat was announced, I have no idea when the event is. November could be another year from now. The retreat could be tomorrow. Dates are meaningless to me.

Dates are meaningless because I don’t know what time of year I’m in. This ignorance transcends the Roman dating system. People at work comment on the weather and I can only nod. I don’t know if they’re suggesting the air should be getting cooler or warmer outside. I don’t know what they’re talking about because I usually don’t know what time of year it is.

“It’s colder now than it was in May.”

“Mmm…” I answer. Inside: “He must expect it to be warmer than it is. He thinks it’s summer, I guess. And since I don’t ever know the season, I’ll assume it’s summer.”

“Yeah,” I finally say, “Summer is usually warmer. I guess May was warmer this time.” Real slick, smart guy.

But I only deduced it was Summer. I still had no idea what month we were stuck in.

I’m trying to say that I don’t get the passage of time. The changing of the seasons, the flipping of the calendars. It’s all very mysterious to me. I get that we’re rolling around this orbital path around the sun. And sometimes the top part of our world is turned a little more toward the sun than the bottom half and sometimes the bottom half is turned a little more toward the sun than the top half.

What is mysterious to me is that some people seem to have data transmitted directly to their brains. They just always know when they are.

Like the sun is sending messages to them. And, really, I guess it is doing just that. When the leaves fall, you know it’s fall. That’s an easy one because the word is the same. When it’s cold outside…see this one is tricky to me. I know Motown better than I know meteorology. So when I hear, “When it’s cold outside,” I start thinking of the month of May. And it’s not cold in the month of May. Smoky was being poetic when he wrote those words.

The sun sends these messages. The month we’re in is indicated by the weather. Now here’s a very practical explanation of my problem. I don’t go outside. Wherever I am, it’s 70 F.

I leave the house to go to work. Barely awake, I take absolutely no notice of the weather. The sun’s not even up when I go to work anyway. When I leave work, it’s usually warm. But I always guessed that had to do with my post-work mood being so lousy.

Remember when the Doctor visited Van Gogh? The Doctor and Amy had to wait around for Van Gogh to make a painting and the Doctor was super impatient. “Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly, in the right order?”

Not for me, man.

If I felt something emotionally powerful – like, powerful enough to recall – it feels like it was yesterday. It could have been fifteen years ago, but because it resonates I can feel it as if it only happened yesterday. An event that may have actually happened recently may feel like it ancient history.

I met my wife nearly eight years ago. It is emotionally resonant so it feels like it happened recently.

Another resonance that a memory can sound is intellectual. Maybe even philosophical. So, events that happened that engaged a part of my mind that was well-developed will seem as though they happened recently.

Whew. That’s a tough one to explain.

Okay. I have the same understanding about Hitchcock that I had when I was a kid. I watched most of his movies when I was 10-18. I remember the first time I watched Psycho and Notorious and North by Northwest. Even though I’m nearly thirty now, those viewings do not feel like they happened one or two decades ago. I remember them as if they occurred last week. I know they didn’t because I know I watched them at my parents’ home and I haven’t lived there in years. But it feels as if it just happened because I think about Hitchcock, and maybe movies generally, in the same way now that I did then.

My opinion on work has changed dramatically in the past five years. In fact, it evolves frequently. A week or so ago, I just started thinking about a new (to me) concept about work. Because of this new idea, my memories of working that reference events ANYTIME before this new concept popped up feel as though they happened years and years ago. Events that happened two weeks ago feel like they’re from a lifetime ago.

So if it’s intellectually, philosophically, or emotionally resonant, I remember it like it was yesterday.

If it’s intellectually, philosophically, or emotionally dull, I remember it only vaguely, as if it were part of someone else’s life.


One thought on “Time was

  1. My mind works in a similar way. I can remember event like they are a video replay if they really struck me. Also, when I am in a situation that occurs with regularity (i.e. going to work), I feel as though I have never done anything but be at work. The rest of my life apart from work seems like unreality. It was the same for each teacher I had in school. If I had the same teacher for one period in school each day of all four high school years, it felt as though (while in the class) that I had never been anywhere but that class. It’s strange how our minds automatically lump together similar experiences.

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