It’s intriguing to me how quickly we label things. The passing of one minute into the next hour equals an entirely new day. Fresh and bright with the prospects of forgetting and remembering anew in the same timespace. And yet, this label doesn’t change the night. Nor does it protect and honor the day. Putting everything a day means into a little box neither improves its inherent ‘day-hood’ or creates a better space for that time to occupy. Nor a bigger place in our stories.
My best friend noted today as she began work in China, “people don’t seem to move to a schedule here.” I had to laugh a little because I’m not sure how much of a schedule I follow some days, or why I would want to on others. Then again, I live in the South, in the heart of the Bible Belt and near the liver of the Sun Belt. (It amazes me how the two work so closely together some days. There I go again, labels.) So I suppose most think I should be moving with all the schedule of molasses dripping down a piece of pine on a cold day. Or a cool bourbon down a parched throat in the unbearable summer.
If a schedule were something tangible, some craftsman of reality, how could it be that we would all have the same version everywhere in the world? Postmodernism teaches us that any minute difference in language or culture or psychological space creates a separation in narrative. For instance, the Spanish siesta. This part of Florida owes a great deal to Spanish culture, and yet as slow as we move, we have not taken on the beautiful nap. We both slur our words in a somewhat pleasant way, we both prefer sweet drinks over bitter, and we even have some of their words lining our avenues. Why not rest our big hearts a few hours in the heat of the day? Perhaps it would do this bloated liver some good.
Many of us take on the libation-enriched night-owl lifestyle of the current generation. We are in constant communication and in constant connection with much of the rest of the world–friends, Romans, other-countrymen. We work, we eat, some of us sleep. And then, we’re up again for coffee.
We remain in a constant state of multi-task on a very constant basis. Our play is often blended so perfectly with our work that the two are much one and the same. No time for a lounge in the hammock for 90 minutes around 3. Instead, let’s take b12. It feels like we rested. There are entire industries built around avoiding this natural instinct to reach the bottom of a sine curve and work our way back up again. Just ‘five more hours’ and I’ll be fine…
When did we forget about the value of a few hours rest and reflection? We take on other values from our mother cultures readily, but perhaps it is us who has a strange concept of ‘schedule.’ After all, China is quickly becoming a dominant force in the world. Their manufacturing has become the source for much of the world’s physical goods. Perhaps their concept of time is the right one. And ours is the one failing us.
It is much the same way we have a street called Cervantes here, but refer to it as Sir-van-teez. Or Tarragonna has become Terra-go-nuh.
If life is a narrative then I leave the reader with a few questions to help build their own. Have you ever vacationed with someone that planned every single second of your time that is supposed to be spent ‘relaxing?’ Or how about going to a new place with no plan at all? What are you doing for dinner tomorrow? And what is happening on Thursday at 845am?
If you can’t tell already, I rather enjoy having time unfold before me. I have often found myself at odds with individuals who allow time’s narrow hands to rule their lives. I have no opinion on which works better, though I think the choice decides much of the flow in our narratives and which characters we will meet as we flip the pages. What comes after Sundays? What doesn’t?