Tag Archives: time

Late

17 Jan

time storm

I hate being late. And by “hate,” I mean honest-to-goodness hate. For most of my childhood, I had what was pretty damn near a phobia of being late. To school. To a friend’s house. To a movie. If my mother went to get concessions after we’ve picked our seats, I’d stare back at the auditorium doors in frozen, petrified, high-pitched-whine kind of fear until she got back. Because what if the line was really long and she didn’t get back till after the movie started? What if they didn’t let her in because they’d already closed the auditorium doors??? (I didn’t quite understand the way that movie theaters worked back at age seven…) Same thing happened if we were flying somewhere. What if we got the airport too late and didn’t make it through security on time??? I basically held my breath through the entire line. And then once we got to the gate, I practically refused to let anyone, especially my mother, leave to – oh, say, got to the bathroom, or get breakfast. Because what if she didn’t make it back on time and the plane left without her??? I always carried with me some sense of dread foreboding, that being late was either going to bring irrepudiation crashing down on me in a burning criticism of my evident laziness or would otherwise cause something to go horridly, painfully wrong. It’s like if I were late to something, than life turned into a scary, ravenous monster that was going to tear apart me and my hopes and dreams with its gnashing teeth and then gobble down all the fragments.

I was a very imaginative child.

Sure, I’ve gotten a *bit* less neurotically anxious about the whole “being a few minutes late” thing. But still, there is the preference in me to be absurdly early than even the tiniest bit tardy. And when life happens and I pass the “few minutes late” threshold, I still haven’t entirely figured out how to handle it.

Like… I still expect to be forevermore considered a terrible human being (or employee or volunteer or friend or whatever) for showing up late. Egregiously late. Like this morning, when I somehow managed to miss my 8:20 am alarm (did I sleep through it? did my phone lie to me last night about the alarm being set? did the alarm just never go off this morning? who knows…) and woke up to some random 9:20 am alarm that I’d set for several days ago.

“Oh, great!” you might be thinking. “So you did at least wake up to one alarm!”

Yeah, ONE ALARM THAT WENT OFF TWENTY MINUTES AFTER I WAS ALREADY SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK!!!

There was a great deal of groaning and panicking and frustration and indecision in the few minutes more I remained in my bed, eyes tightly clasped shut and hands clenched into fists around my blankets as if I could will the world to go back an hour. I’d awoken from yet another stream of nightmares (dearest brain of mine, what the fuck is wrong???) and felt pretty pummeled. So, you know, my usual morning start. But hey, I’d slept through an alarm while presumable trapped in one of my sickening nightmares, and woken up with a bit of a raw feeling in my throat. Again, typical and after one downed cup of coffee I’d be functional, but not exactly the picture of health, at least mentally so.

So, I’m lying there in bed, seething with regret at the iniquity that was my having over slept, wondering what the fuck I should do about work. I only had a two hour shift that morning, 9 to 11, and it was already 9:30. By the time I’d get to work, it would be 9:40. Aaaaagh.

Should I call my supervisor and explained that I’d overslept and was feeling a bit under the weather (I’d done that before, when I’d awoken two hours late to find myself dripping with sinus infection, and hey, my mental state certainly wasn’t sporting the brightest of blue skies) and that sorry, I wouldn’t be coming in today? Should I try to obliterate myself back into unconsciousness and email my supervisor later with basically the same spiel? Should I whip my ass out of bed and hurtle it across campus and offer as penitent an apology as I could muster?

Some of you might be sitting there at your computers (or smartphones) with raised eyebrows wondering, “What’s the big deal? You were late. You’re human, it happens. Suck it up and just go to work.”

To which I respond, you all are entirely reasonable. Yes. That “what’s the big deal” statement is in fact the correct answer. Especially since my supervisor is one of the nicest, most understanding women I know. I am not in fact entirely certain whether she actually even has the capability of raising her voice at well-meaning employees who normally are on top of their shit but occasionally have issues with the whole “non-disordered sleeping” business.

So yeah, eventually I did get my ass out of bed and into jeans and across campus to my job by 9:40 am. And my punishment for such a tardy appearance? A good-natured laugh from my supervisor. The slim Asian woman did not in fact turn into an unappeasable time monster waiting to rip me into morsel-sized shreds. Go figure.

I think my remaining trepidation about being late is a continued vestige of my tendency towards the all-or-nothing kind of thinking. I either know how to figure out a homework problem or I’m afraid to even start trying. I’m either a brilliant employee who’s always on time or a mess of a wasted paycheck. I’m either gloriously happy in my relationship or cripplingly insecure.

Sure, a lot of this all-or-nothingness is constrained – might I say bottled? – within me, so it doesn’t actually get outwardly expressed in actions. It’s not like I’m always toggling between chanting “om” and flipping a shit about falling sky. Outwardly, there’s mediation.

But holy fuck is there a tempest inside.

And I know when I’m being all-or-nothing. Putting on those negative lenses. Responding irrationally in the feels department. I know the what’s going on with the weather forecast, but being able to psychologically categorize what’s going on doesn’t mean the rain’s pelting the windows to my soul any less hard. My frame still thunders and rattles and shakes. I still worry that I will be stormed off my hinges.

I think that I worry so about being late because I am afraid that one day, I really am going to miss something important. And then, I will be left out in the open with the storm and the waste-laying time monster.

And then, there will be no more seconds left to run.

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Ain’t Nobody Got TIME For That

18 Dec

TIME logo

Lovely readers, I have a confession. I kind of hate news. I am a writer, a creative writer, not a journalist. It’s not so much that I hate knowing what’s actually going on in the world that’s of any importance – that I highly value – but honestly, the majority of news sites are either really just celebrity gossip columns or the articles could all sport one headline, “Terrible Thing Happens in This Place.” Bombing. Another bombing. Car crash. Oh hey, that war in that place is still going on. Yup. Not much has changed. For the most part, my newspaper from today looks the same as my newspaper from yesterday, and from last week, and from last year. Go back five years and maybe the country and politician names will have changed, but it’s all just the same crap of people blundering around the world and being idiots to each other.

However. There are a few news sites that’ll make me perk up my mental ears and listen to what they’re saying. Buy their newspaper from a stack at Starbucks, click on that link that showed up in my facebook feed, spend a boring lecture browsing their articles on my cell phone…

You know. The big names. New York Times. Scientific American. National Geographic. Smithsonian. TIME Magazine.

Ahem, about TIME Magazine… for years, it’s been a interestingly written purveyor of impactful news across culture, technology, and current events. If an article came from TIME, it was legit. Probably. Often enough for name “TIME” to carry some weight.

But today, today I had to unfollow TIME on facebook. Because for the past few months, 99% of the TIME posts promoted to my newsfeed have been utter crap.

Okay, sure, maybe some of them were worthy of a giggle or a two-second “aawww.” Something about a puppy. A family rapping their Christmas card. I dunno. I assume those would have been if I’d actually clicked on them.

But I don’t follow TIME for giggles and aaww’s. I follow TIME for news. You know, the important stuff. I don’t give a crap about what Miley Cyrus has to say about her break up, whenever the hell that was, and I’d appreciate it if my supposed news page didn’t keep sticking shit like that on my feed.

Based on the comments I’ve seen on promoted TIME facebook posts over the past few months, it’s not just my feed that’s been infested. There are dozens – possibly hundreds, if I actually cared to look through all the contentless fluff that much – of other disgruntled commenters telling TIME that they’re unfollowing, unsubscribing, un-fuck-why-did-we-ever-think-that-TIME-was-legit-ing.

And I understand why. Please, I hear enough about sad puppies or happy puppies or neurotic puppies from all the animal rescue pages I follow. I can probably keep up with Miley Cyrus just as well by unthinkingly glancing at tabloid headlines while I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store.

But… I’m not content to just flip TIME off and call it a day. Because TIME has produced quality content for so long, and I don’t want to just give that up. I mean, if you actually pay to get their magazine, or browse their website, or even actually visit their facebook wall, there is still real content. The time we readers actually do have time for. Or, you know, make time for during boring lectures. But for whatever reason, TIME’s social media person has decided that apparently it’s more important to promote “trending” fluff than information of actual consequence. So all the crap flows onto people’s facebook feeds, and none of the hard stuff gets featured, resulting in a massive distortion of TIME’s image and content procurement.

Uh, yeah. I’d really like that to stop.

So, I emailed TIME’s editor. Did some search engine hustling and managed to find one generic email address to write my concerns to. And then, I decided that perhaps said editor hearing even more well-spoken complaints (instead of just angry “fuck you’s” left as facebook comments) might be useful. Might actually change something. It might not, but hey, at least then I’ll still know that I wasn’t just sitting back on my ass wishing TIME would get their shit together without actually giving them any impetus to do so.

If you honestly don’t care about TIME, that’s fine. I mean hey, throw a Wall Street Journal at me and I’m just gonna wrinkle my nose and chuck it back at your head. But if you do care about TIME and want to voice your opinion, I’ve tried to remove some of the energy barrier to doing so for you. I’m not calling for some massive movement, I’m just offering help to those who would like to at least get their own opinionated fingers wagging.

Ooookay. So, I’ve posted the message that I sent below. Feel free to copy-paste it into your own shiny new “compose email” box and send it as is. Warning, it is written in me-speak. I mean, one of the more professional dialects of me-speak, but it’s still my own voice. So. You could also change the wording a bit – or entirely – if ya want to. Yup yup.

Damn this is getting long. Okay, I’ll just plot the rest of the info below. Go ahead and check it out if you, too, are displeased with TIME’s recent content shift and want to tell the magazine – ain’t nobody got TIME for that.

 

Email: letters@time.com

Message:

Dear Editor,
Up till just recently I’ve been an unabashed fan of TIME. But since approximately two months ago, on TIME’s Facebook at least, it seems that TIME is diverging from its old reputation of “source of legitimate newsworthy, culturally poignant information” and has started to become just another tabloid magazine, full of trivial GIF’s or cutesy posts, like the “Christmas card family rap.” My feed has been flooded with uninteresting fluff and “entertainment” (a.k.a. celebrity gossip) pieces, like the “article” about Miley Cyrus’s break up statements. There are still noteworthy pieces linked to from the TIME Facebook wall, but few to none of those actually get promoted to followers’ news feeds. I’ve noticed from the comments on posts that other readers are feeling the same way, and that most of us eschew this change from news to nonsense. A quality, impact-based distillation of content would be much appreciation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
(Your Name Here)

The Dowager Queen

1 Aug

dowager queen

She was the dowager queen, they said,
never married at all but once.
But I have seen the wrinkles in her eyes
and know they are faded
far beyond the skin of time.

Boys will be fair, she said one day
while I sat at her knee,
and men may be kind,
but life is cruel
and in the end a heart can break
more than once.

I looked up at her,
the questions in my eyes,
and for once
there was no disguise
for the pain behind the laugh lines
and the crow’s feet
and the bags
that so often escape the notice
of those who do not look for life’s weight.

 
She smiled,
the only cruel mockery
time had left her
of a once whole heart,
shook her head,
and sighed.

 
In the end they will disappoint you, my dear,
the lovers, the suitors, the husbands, the friends.
They will murmur sweet words
while they lay in your bed
but the days always come
when the dream will end,
and you will be left
with the scent on your pillow
and nothing but the excuse of their lips.
And even should the sweetest stay,
in the end this world will have its way
and the lips will turn cold
even if the heart does not –
and time will do a man’s job for him
should he refuse.
If he does not leave,
then he will be taken.

 
I raised my face to protest
but there was nothing to say,
not when the dowager looked that way.
Not with the memories tearing through her eyes
and ripping across her face,
her old, veined hands trembling,
held by a thousand ghosts.

 
They say the dowager was only married but once.
But I,
I say that she has been married forever –
or not at all.