Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I note the passing of time

Time passes differently for me than it does for most people...I think.

I work twelve-hour night shifts.  Four days out of every eight, with overtime when I can get it.  On days when I am working, I effectively "do not exist."  There is very little That I can do outside of working, commuting, eating, sleeping, and getting ready for work.  For people who work "normal" eight- or nine-hour days* the afternoon provides plenty of opportunities to go shopping, mow the lawn, do projects around the house, and so on.**  But for me, and for other people on my schedule, all our "afternoons" have to be crammed into our days off, which are also the equivalent of other people's "weekends."  Overtime, of course, takes away from these available days.

The odd thing is, my perception of time tends to leapfrog over working days.  Work is work, a thing I do for money in a windowless, brightly-lit room.  Any day is very like another, even though every day brings its own weird problems.  But on the outside world the grass grows, the leaves change, the rain and snow fall.  People have birthdays, anniversaries.  Holidays march along.  I switch into work mode one day and four or five or six days later I switch out of it and see that the world has moved along.

My house was robbed nearly two months ago.  That may seem like a long time ago to you, but to me only two weeks or so seem to have passed.  Temperatures have gone in that time from too hot to paint outside to too cold to paint outside, which means my porch will probably have to wait until next year to get painted.  When I had security consultants stop by in August to review my situation, I felt ridiculous for still having my decorated Christmas tree up in a corner of a room; now, with less than two months to go until I would normally put it up, it seems ridiculous to take it down.

I don't feel like I'm getting older, but I know I must be, because I see everyone around me getting older, and I see entropy having its way with the things around me.  I see longer-term changes, too, in society, in the economy, in the environment, things that other people might not notice as they are absorbed in their own day-to-day business.***  The first gray hairs started to appear in my moustache in Spring 2006, during my last visit to Ireland. (When I was having dinner with my sister and a friend of hers the day of my return, my sister tried to discretely inform me that I had something on my moustache, under my nose; I had to tell her that those were gray hairs, not nasal discharge.)  Now my goatee is streaked with silver, giving me a distinguished look that may be either beneficial or detrimental during my upcoming job search.

Time has passed even as I have written this.  And now it is time for me to wrap this up, as I have places to go and things to do.

*Note to any readers in France:  yes, this is considered "normal" around these parts.
**But you are not able to go to the bank or post office.  These things are reserved for the unemployed.
***In a discussion of the current terror threat in Europe, I heard a CNN anchor say to an expert who had just referred to "Mumbai-style attacks" that many people might not recall the terrorist attack in Mumbai in late 2008.  Really?  Is that even possible?

TITLE REFERENCE:  Line from "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" by Talking Heads, from their 1983 album Speaking in Tongues.  1983, twenty-seven years ago...

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