• Richard Scrimger

time tide and hair


It takes years for a day to go by, and then three months pass in the twinkling of a toe. In my experience the difference lies in who needs you and how seriously.  So, when I am meandering through my pages, reading what I like or writing something that has no deadline, adding a line here and taking out a line there, beholden to no one and nothing, time is as it were suspended.  It is an infinitely stretched summer day.  BUT when the obligations pile up, when editors and students and children are clamouring for pages, comments, suggestions, advice, decisions, school fees, when my boat of life is being heaved towards the leeward shore of ruin by an implacable setting tide of deadlines, THEN, then time passes at an Olympic bobsled pace, and every time I look up I have fallen another several hundredths of a second behind the leaders.  The crisis passes, the work is delivered more or less complete, appointments filled, decisions taken or postponed, school fees paid, and time resumes its more leisured aspect.  Until the next crisis. This ebb and flow, wax and wane, give and take, relativity of time is old news, of course -- Professor Einstein is not the first to comment.  My case is probably not as extreme as I think it is.  What I now realize (being in a relatively slow period, and therefore with leisure to ponder in) is that the idea of time passing NORMALLY has no meaning.  It's like asking the ocean, When is the tide NORMAL?   Since it is always making or setting, all tides are normal.  See?


(I must have learned all this in elementary school but I can't recall any of it) So when I was juggling copy edits on three books at once, sleeping little and drinking too much coffee, when fall passed in a blur and Christmas came in what I would have thought was October, that was normal.  As is now, with the books off my desk, finishing a term of teaching, waiting for a contract, starting the next project. I've been in stasis for what seems like months, even though it's only been about a week.


The only constants are reading and coffee.  Oh, and needing a haircut -- that'll be for next time

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada