When the Heck are We?

“OMG. It’s almost the end of the week.
I need to get my weekly posts done.”

Um, no. At the moment of this panicked-but-mistaken realization, it was only mid-week: Wednesday, in fact. So why did it feel like a Friday or Saturday? Because the next day was Christmas Eve, the appointed day for turkey dinner in my household, to which tradition (and household) we are strictly sticking this year.

I guess with that endpoint in mind, I came unstuck from the flow of the week. Hardly surprising: This one-day-after-another business is pretty complex. I’m not too disturbed: I’ve had similar experiences when the week’s pattern was disrupted in some other way.

No, the disturbing bit came earlier.

“How long have you been doing that physio?”
– Doctor, just looking for the facts
in our over-the-phone consultation
in mid-December

I think for a moment and find a hook of some sort to win at Name that Month.

” Oh, a long time.”
– Me, playing for time

“Since, um, September?”
– Me, uncertainly

I’m uncertain because something about that feels wrong.

“September this year?”
– Doctor, trying to identify the uncertainty she hears –
is it about the month
(since, well, September isn’t that long ago)
or the year (which seems ridiculous)

I consider and reject that timeline out of hand: It’s not September this year, for goodness sake. I’ve been traipsing forth to and back from physio for FOREVER.

“No, it’s been a long time.
It must be September 2019.”
– Me, confidently

“2019?”
– Doctor, carefully managing her tone

I hear that careful tone and stop to consider all that has happened since September 2019. That was in the Before Times, right? The times when we made trips out West to see family for Christmas, sojourned in Phoenix after the New Year, sojourned abbreviatedly in Myrtle Beach, isolated ourselves for two weeks upon our return to Canada, received irregular and unpredictable grocery deliveries at home, spent months and months in lockdown,  traversed a long hot summer, and, well, saw another September.

“Oh. No. I guess . . . just this September.”
– Me, reluctantly

But although it’s clearly the correct, the accurate, the true answer, I don’t just sound reluctant: I am reluctant. As right as it must be, it seems . . . wrong. How can this interminable period in my head be just a few months?

I guess with no endpoint in view, I have come unstuck from the flow of the year. Hardly surprising: This one-month-after-another business is pretty complex.

 

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8 Responses to When the Heck are We?

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Isabel
    The flow of the year…time…struggling to get unstuck…trying to figure it all out is confounding.

    2020 was most intriguing. I just read Dave Barry’s review of 2020. He opens by writing, “We’re trying to think of something nice to say about 2020. Okay, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know. That’s pretty much it.”

    Of course, Barry says much more. But there’s a start for your quest!
    Tom

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Yeah, the murder hornets seem to have been over-hyped. In truth, I do think there were some good things (there always are) but my sense of time is seriously discombobulated.

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    Isabel, there are a number of ways you can keep track of days and dates.
    Check the calendar dial on your watch. Shake your watch to make sure it’s still going. Then check the date again.
    Check the upper-right corner of your computer screen, unless you’ve lost your wi-fi connection, of course.
    Listen to CBC radio at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time (check your watch to make sure it’s still running).
    Mark off the days on the calendar on your refrigerator door.
    Mark off the days with a pencil on the wall of your office.
    Say the hell with it and miss a deadline (as per Douglas Adams).

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Well, I always did pretty well tracking where I was in the year, so I never developed any coping mechanisms. Thanks for the list.

    • barbara carlson says:

      I turned on CBC FM radio this morning and heard: “This is CBC Weekend” — they aren’t helping! It’s MONDAY, right?

      • Isabel Gibson says:

        Barbara – LOL. Yes, it’s Monday, until I hear differently. I think they have hosts from across the country and from different shows subbing in – maybe that was it. Or they could have just been messing with you.

  3. The sound going through our ears is our biological timepiece. Our brains become accustomed to certain routines that carve meaning into that sound stream in the temporal lobes, of which two lobes the left one is supposed to dominate thanks to the right ear stream of sound and its more direct link to the left-brain. You can upset that timing device in various ways.
    1. Shutting out the flow of sound through the ear(s), which happens when we fall asleep. Or by some other type of blockage or malfunction of some part of the ear, especially the right ear.
    2. Reducing the amount of available sound, which these isolating measures necessary to stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus tend to do. The same thing happens to cloistered monks and nuns, to inhabitants of remote/wilderness locations, to grad students stranded in their carrels, and to folks like us who work from home in a rural setting.
    3. By interfering with the external devices that keep us in touch with socialized routines such as going to work, going to school, meeting deadlines, or shepherding others through such routines — Jim T’s list of cue-givers.

    When I first came to the country, my loss of day-sense was profoundly upsetting. Then, the children’s school routines structured my days again. Then, we quit going to church and they left home so my day-structure slid sideways and pretty much stayed there. Now, that worries me only if I fear a doctor in an emergency department will think me mentally unfit if I don’t know what day it is. The day/month calendars I always keep became almost useless this year, too, as COVID-19 cancelled almost all appointments. To my husband’s annoyance, I keep the classical music station playing 24/7 because I think all of us need the sound energy.

    I do worry about vast numbers of people losing so much of their normal amounts of sound-input. Certainly, this situation is going to affect interpersonal relationships, energy levels, ability to organize and to cope, and mood quite apart from the monumental traumas some are facing.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – A few years ago, when I went back for a check on my new hearing aids, the technician looked at the record they contained of my wearings and hearings, and said, “You live in a quiet environment.” I hadn’t thought about it, but it’s true. And truer this year. Sound: Something else to add to the self-help toolkit.

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