Time Thievery

Lila: Someday I will be four.
AJ: Someday you will be twenty-four!
Lila: Not today, AJ.
AJ: No, Lila. Not today.
Naples Zoo - 2/11
Today I got stood up. I drove about a half-hour downtown to get to the house I was showing fifteen minutes early, and I was ready and waiting at 11.30am with the house lit up, brochures in-hand, and a belly full of iced Cafe Americano. But I was left high and dry. (Rather, miffed, overly awake, and needing to pee.) I called the agent at 12.45pm, but to no avail, and ended up leaving an unfortunately unaffected message mentioning the fact that I'd been "waiting an hour and fifteen minutes" but "we can just reschedule at your leisure, because it's totally cool, no worries.'' Perhaps I need lessons from Charlie Sheen on how to be more assertive. And winning, duhhh.

Now, during the time I was waiting, I suppose I could have worked on my taxes, maybe read up on the history of Libya, eaten a normal-for-everyone-else chicken salad sandwich, spruced up my manicure, corresponded with freelance writing clients, researched healthy meals for toddlers...No. What I did do during my one-point-five hours of alone time was stare off into the bright fuschia Bouganvilla, suck down a milk chocolate Slim-Fast, and ponder the most extraneous of bullshit. Seriously. I pondered whether or not The Bachelor has a chance for a lasting relationship with Emily. I wondered why residents in Naples, and Florida in general, prefer small dogs to the larger purebreds preferred by New Englanders. My thoughts travelled, as they randomly often do, to the show CSI: "I'm right-handed, but wear my watch on my right wrist. Therefore, it should never be deemed 100% correct that right-handed people wear their watches on their left wrist. But CSI does. They're wrong." "I have three earring holes in my left earlobe, two of which I haven't worn an earring in in over 15 years, but the holes still go all the way through. The Las Vegas CSI crew found an earring and assumed it wasn't some chick's because her holes must have closed up since she hasn't worn earrings for years and, well, they're dead wrong." "I wonder if the producers of CSI will pay me to be a researcher."

Was I wasting time?

About two weeks ago, I was crossing the street in downtown Naples (on my way to Starbucks, go figure) and an odd thing happened. My eyes lit upon a sign that read "Naples Nursing Specialists" or something like that. Within an instant, my mind whispered to me: "That would be a great place for mom [who is a retired nurse] to work and then she could be with me and have an entire 40-year career down here where I live and be near me and she and I could be young together. She'll be a nurse and I'll write and we'll have a lifetime as friends." The thought took less than one half of one millionth of a second, and it can't possibly be written exactly as I thought it. Because in my mind, it was real. And it could possibly happen.

Thinking about it now, ohh... It's like my real "inside" self longs for more time.

And my wonderful dad. My memory has a habit of creating beautiful photographs of him that enmesh decades. He holds my chubby toddler hand at the very exact time he's sitting at the kitchen table, helping me with my algebra homework. My little five-year-old feet light upon his big shiny oxford shoes as we dance to the music at my wedding. He's giving me advice on how to deal with playground meanies at the exact moment he's kissing my forehead, congratulating me on the birth of my twins...

Time's an odd character. Today he's on my side, but tomorrow he could become rebellious. I'm grateful for this moment. The one right now. Yes, while you are reading this very word. And I'm going to have to say... If it takes me an hour-and-a-half to contemplate CSI producers' silly oversights to get over Reality's sucker punch, well then... It's time well spent. Because at the end of the day, I danced with my dad, worked down the street from my mom, and appreciated every. single. second.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~ Carl Sandburg


Michele Peppe said…
This one made me cry---really cry...sob. I am lucky, my mom DOES live & work and spend time with me right here in Naples---and my dad has held my children's hands in my thoughts their entire lives...As always Jen, thank you for sharing. I love you.
michele ~Muah!

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