Lost in Time

Last evening, for just a minute, I mentally lost track of the days. I normally don’t keep track if I go for long periods with nothing planned, so I frequently don’t know what day it is, but I generally have a sense of where I am in the week, whether it is at the beginning, middle, or end. But yesterday, I hadn’t a clue.

It was a bit disorienting, sort of like being on the verge of waking up from a deep sleep and thinking you have to go to school then you remember it’s Saturday and anyway, you’ve been out of school for decades. I couldn’t immediately go check my phone to find out the day of the week, so I tried to think of something I did during the day to give me an idea of where I was.

I finally remembered I emailed my time sheet that morning, something I do only on Thursdays, so I was able to reorient myself. But yikes. What a strange feeling that was, being lost in time.

It makes me wonder how important time is for our well-being.

[I had to pause here to look up the spelling of well-being. I wanted to use two words without a hyphen, but spellcheck insisted it was one, unhyphenated word. It turns out that the hyphen is correct because when you combine an adjective and a verb, the hyphen is necessary for the words to become one. It used to be that the hyphenated version was correct in the USA and Canada, and the non-hyphenated version prevalent in other English-speaking countries, but the word has started to lose its hyphen in North America now.]

Whether knowing where I am in time is important for my well-being, obviously, being grammatically correct is.

Before there were days of the week to keep track of, maybe it didn’t matter. People were always where they were supposed to be, in their family or clan or tribe or whatever, so it didn’t really matter what day it was. Until increasing populations and civilization made days of the week and calendars imperative, I imagine there were no days but today and yesterday and perhaps tomorrow.

[Why isn’t it tomorrowday? I had to stop to find out this vital fact. “Morrow” is an archaic word meaning “the following day,” so tomorrowday would be redundant. Tomorrow used to be hyphenated — to-morrow — until the fifteenth century when it became one word, so losing hyphens isn’t simply a sign of modern laziness.]

I seem to have strayed far from my topic, which is . . . me. Well, me being lost in time. So far today, I know exactly where I am. Saturday, perhaps. Or maybe it’s Sunday. I’m joking; actually, it’s Friday. I think.

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Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Yay! Back to Isolation!

I am so lost in time that I have no idea what day it is. I thought it was Tuesday. Then I reminded myself it was Wednesday. Then I decided it was still several days until Thursday when — perhaps — the garage construction workers will return.

It turns out this is Tuesday, after all. At least, I think it is.

I don’t really need to worry about time since one day is much like the one before and the one before that and probably tomorrow and many tomorrows to come, but I have to be careful to drive my car occasionally. In the winter, I can get by with driving every ten days, but when the temperatures hit the nineties, the ethanol in the gas dries out and bad gas ruins the hoses, so I have to drive about every five days. When the garage is finished, I should be able to fudge a little on driving since I won’t have to deal with the hot sun beating up my car, but meantime, I have to count the days between trips around town.

Today was a driving day, but I should have stayed home. Although I do believe that The Bob does not merit all the damage caused by closing the economy, I am still careful to maintain a safe distance from people. It’s not just because of The Bob, which isn’t a problem here, but because so many people are sick from various other ailments, and because . . . because I want to and now I have an excuse for not getting too close to strangers.

Unfortunately, this was not a good day for staying away from folks.

I limped my way into one store using my trekking pole for a cane, and a woman held the inner door for me. I stopped a few feet from her, but she continued to hold. What weird times we live in when a kind gesture becomes . . . obnoxious. I finally said, “Just go.” Then the whole Bob thing must have dawned on her because she gave me a sheepish smile and hurried away.

When I left the store, a scruffy fellow came up to me to talk about my VW Bug. He got so close I had to hold him off with my pole. He too gave a sheepish smile, but remained standing just outside the pole’s four-foot range.

Then, as I was leaving the parking lot, a car came charging out of the Dairy Queen drive thru and barely stopped in time to keep from hitting me.

Needless to say, I was glad to get safely back to the cocoon of my isolation.

I had a surprise waiting for me — although my larkspur flowers were all purple last year, this year they are coming up pink and white and purple and lavender. It was hard to get a photo of all the different colors because they seemed to also practice some sort of distancing.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.