Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Time's Arrow

I feel like I used to be better at time.  I used to have a little kid who required a lot of attention, which I happily gave.  Now I have a tween kid whom I rarely see because, I believe, she has some sort of inter-dimensional portal in her room that takes her to a land of magic and wonder - a place where there are no Trumps and wifi fucking everywhere.  I used to update my blog a couple of times a week and managed to find time to write a book.  Now I just hit this blog monthly or so when something big happens like Don turns 50 or I come up with some elaborately strained metaphor.  Once I found the time (and it was so much time) to learn how to play Moonlight Sonata on my cute little spinet.  Now I can barely be bothered to get to the end of a song on Spotify before I skip to the next one.

Is this a symptom of age?  I thought when we got older we were supposed to be better at this kind of stuff.  Actually, I thought we were supposed to be better at all the stuff except maybe metabolizing food. It turns out you retain amateur status well into mid-life.  What's up with that?

I believe I've written about this here before, but help me out: once I read this book about a town where everything was real nice and then out of nowhere these furtive strangers showed up. I can't remember the name of the story (which is what I'm hoping you'll help me out with), but I picture the strangers looking like the evil aliens from Star Trek TNG's Time's Arrow.  Here's a visual if you're not cool enough (that's right!  I said "cool enough") to know without one:

The furtive strangers made bargains with the townspeople.  They'd grant you one of your dearest wishes in exchange for a little of your time.  But you wouldn't remember making the deal.  Instead, all of the sudden you'd just have less time. But then you'd make another wish and then have less time.  And so everyone started rushing everywhere and no one knew why. And the nice little town was no longer a nice town. There was one hold-out, though.  One guy refused to make the deal and, instead, just slowly spent his days sweeping the streets, with all the time in the world.  Have you read this story?  And, if you have, what was it?  Also, did you wonder why the one hold-out didn't think of something better to do with all his ample time than sweep the damn street?  I mean Beethoven wrote a TON of stuff he could have taken the time to learn to play.  He could have read Ulysses.

I have no plans to spend what little time I have left after I've traded so much to the Time Bandits or whatever on Ulysses. I started it once.  I'm pretty sure Joyce is playing some kind of an elaborate practical joke.

(Was the story I'm thinking of Time Bandits?  That was a movie, right?  Did they steal time in that movie?  Was there a guy sweeping the streets, strangely pleased with his weird career choice?)

I suppose the secret is, as it is so often, to quit worrying about it so much.  Also: aggressive scheduling.  It's a bit hard to put those two things together.  Aggressive scheduling does not, generally, pair well with a laissez-faire attitude. But I'm confident I can figure it out.

After all, I'm the only one of you dummies smart enough to have sussed out that James Joyce was just fucking with us on that whole Ulysses thing.