I am not sure about the title. It’s sort of a reference to my most recent surf adventures, in which I frothed way too much, and suffered some embarrassment. Not what I am trying to write about at the moment, but I can’t help imagining how many surfers are asking, “Hey, did you see that asshole in the water?” And then… No, another time for that story. BUT, I must mention some old dude on the beach, while I was complaining about all the rigs pulling up, just had to tell me he used to get all over amped like I was, but then, when he got older… “Hey man, I’m 71, how old are you?” 73. “Okay.”
Dude did not go out.
Anyway, this might be the last thing I write for the Quilcene Community Center newsletter. The guy who runs it is leaving and… Here it is.
Check it out:
Theories on Time and Money and Doing Absolutely Nothing
We’re sliding headlong into October with August weather (pleasant, if you like warmth and dislike rain, drizzle, fog, or moisture of any kind). Unusual, when it seems like last year we had October weather in September, with a repeat in October, maybe a few October-ish days in November. It’s hard for me to remember exactly what the first full month of Autumn brought last year, but it somehow doesn’t seem like a very long time since the leaves started changing color and falling, the dawn coming later and the dusk earlier, and there was a sort of worry or wonder when our latest round of Daylight Savings Time would end.
I have a theory for why, as we age, time seems to move more quickly. It’s not like I spend a lot of time contemplating time and space and your or my place in the universe, and it is definitely not that I can prove this or any of several other theories.
And yet, sometimes when I’m driving a half hour here or there, and sometimes while I am painting, I get to thinking…
TIME may or may not be infinite. Humans couldn’t have invented time; we do try to monitor and measure it. Some submultiple of a wink, perhaps, some length of time it takes to take a footstep. Time and distance. We have lifespans that are finite, definite beginning and end (as in our physical, corporeal beings, not arguing before or afterlife here). Even if we make it to one hundred years of age, we are, sorry, a mere bleep or blip on, say, a thousand-year chunk of the presumably infinite line. If we go to a larger length of time, ten thousand years, for example, our existence is an even smaller blip. I don’t want to do the math. It doesn’t really matter. Smaller.
IT MAKES SENSE that, if summer vacation when you were twelve was 3/144th of your life (or 1/48th), and seemed long and glorious, but you’re now, let’s say, fifty, we’re talking, um, uh, calculating… 3/600th (or 1/200th) of your life to this point. No wonder this summer seemed so, let’s say, fleeting.
Neither our longevity nor our size in comparison to the incomprehensible vastness of the universe means we’re insignificant or unimportant. What our relative nothingness does mean is each of us has a certain (and mostly unknown) chunk of time to be cruising or snoozing or working or binge watching or shopping or worrying or being angry… whatever we chose to do with our time.
HERE’S WHAT got me thinking about some of this time allocation stuff: I surf. Surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca is fickle. When there is a chance of waves, a surfer desires to go. I work. Work is important. I do not, I must insist, live to work. However (see above) work is important and necessary. So, did I go recently when the surf, in a sea of flatness, was forecast to be rideable? Yes. Was the surf great? No. Worth the time and expense and the lack of the money that could have been earned? Hmmm. So, the question I have asked others enjoying (to a lesser or greater level than where I was on the guilt-to-bliss scale) this session: “How much money would it take for you not to go?”
A more accurate question is, “How much money have you taken not to go?” Probably not enough, though this varies, related to the quality of the surf. Fill in with your own leisure time activity.
MONEY, it’s what we trade our skills and our hours for, theoretically.
Another factor in my overthinking time is that we are in another election season, with ads for opposing candidates jammed together like an unmoderated debate Voting is often referred to as a ZERO SUM GAME, a vote for one candidate taken from the other. Time may be the ultimate of these games.
I don’t mean to suggest that having an “I’ll sleep when I die” attitude is appropriate, but it would seem being bored is not a good use of our time. Rest, sleep, recreation, gardening, sorting out our tools, doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING; these non-activities are sometimes the very best use of our time. I spent part of a day recently binge-watching the latest “Game of Thrones.” I was exhausted. Many speak highly of the rejuvenating effects of meditation.
I have thought about it.
If our earth, rotating and revolving, it seems like half of us are in the darkness and half in light. It also seems something like a third of humanity must or should be sleeping.
This should explain why I don’t, purposefully, meditate. Accidentally, yes.
THE GOOD NEWS for those of us who are farther along on our blip or bleep is that our stashes of memories and stories grows ever larger. My last theory is that remembering a story once helps to bring out the deeper cuts (album talk here), little, “Oh, yeah” moments. Then, in remembering or retelling the story, we have the advantage of remembering the original event and the edited, possibly enhanced, and/or embellished version. Helpful.
Thank you for spending some submultiple of your life reading this. Happy October.