We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I don't know how to not be a prisoner of time. No matter what I do, time dictates so much of my life that I can't help but feel that I'm a prisoner of this abstract concept that some societies do not even have a word for. I wake up to an alarm, I get on a train which comes at 6:55. I leave by 4:10 so I can get the 4:15 subway and make the 4:50 train. When I jog I do it for 20 or 40 minutes. When I lift I wait 30 second between sets, 60 second between different exercises. This was all today. Just today. As I sit here now I see that the computer clock says it's 9:03. In order to get a good night sleep, I'll need to go to bed soon. I am a slave, the clock is the master.

How to escape? Do I remove all the clocks and watches in my life? Then how do I know how & when to get to and from work? Improbable move, losing all the clocks. But there has to be a better way than having the clock always displayed in the lower right hand corner of my computer monitor. Ok, how about this, I'll hide it. Right-click on the Windows toolbar, select Properties, then deselect the check box which says "Show the clock".

Ok, so now what? I suppose it's a step in the right direction. But it's only a small step. Perhaps I shouldn't wear my watch to work. But what about meetings? Am I doomed to miss them all because I don't know what time it is? I must look at some clock 300 times every day. I would bet it's more than that. Maybe 500. So if I hide my computer clock and stop wearing my watch, will I be more free? Or will I be disappointed when I find that it's only 10:00 when it feels like 11:30?

I suppose there must be a decompression of sorts that needs to happen first. Think about time and how we misperceive it. If you have an hour to get something done at work, it seems like you're under a major deadline. But try sitting on the floor for an hour and not moving. It then turns into an eternity. Time is one of those things that rules us, yet we entirely define it ourselves. An hour can seem like an eternity, or it can seem like the blink of an eye, all based on what we need or want to get done in that time.

An alternative is to leave society and start living on the land. But chances are I'll wake up when the sun rises and then get hungry often. Besides, if I do that I have no books, no music, stove, house, car, and so on. No, that's hardly an answer. Somewhere along the line I need to embrace the fact that it doesn't matter. If you live based on the time now versus the time you want it to be, then you miss the time between now and when that future time gets here. That's time you've lost forever.

I guess the answer to my own question is what I talked about last essay Being Here Now. If I'm here now, then I'm not worried about being elsewhere at some future moment. The natural question is, what if here sucks? The answer to that is to not be in a place that sucks. Which leads to making sure you get the most out of your job, free time, commute, and so on. Each and every time you really want to be elsewhere, it's time to question where you are. Is it the right place to be in? Are you in the right mindset for being where you are? More often than not, if you're in the same place 8 hours a day, 250 days a year, you're going to get sick of it from time to time. This is natural, this is life. Embrace it, be with it, and try to make it better.

How? I don't know. I'm working all that shit out myself which is why I feel the need to write stuff like this. It's all a learning process. Identifying the highs and lows makes it easier to address. And time is one of those issues I suppose I need to take a better look at.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Being Here Now

Being here now is one of the hardest things to do as a human being. On one hand, the notion that "wherever you go, there you are" is true for all of us. But so many of us live in our heads that we don't really know where we are, where we went, or where we're going. Try it next time you're in a crowd of people. Look around. The few people who seem alive will be ignored by everyone, since most people will avoid eye contact at all costs.

I see this on the train and subway a lot, a place I get to practice being here now every working day. The sad reality is that being on the train or subway in the moment isn't terribly enlightening. In fact, it mostly blows. Being on a train with people who generally want to have nothing to do with you is actually rather drab. So you quickly learn to enjoy your book, your music, or your podcast. Looking out the window is only enjoyable the first 100 train rides or so. Then it gets mundane.

So to keep my sanity, I attempt to be here now in other places in my life. I have found through experimentation that a glass of wine or a beer makes it easier. Wine sounds so much more sophisticated but some days a beer just hits the spot better. Either way you get there, relaxation aids the process, allows you to see where you are and what's going on around you at the moment. Or so it seems. I'm sure the AA people would flake out at the notion that alcohol can be of much good at all. But the AA people are too often busy getting their next cup of coffee to really notice what's here now.

I will eventually read the book Be Here Now by Ram Daas. I am currently reading the book Wherever You Go There You are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It's a good book, giving me solid hints how to, well, be where you are. I find that reading small bits at a time is best, otherwise you can easily miss the point. Yet the question remains. How do I make it stay? Much like Tom Robbins asked in Still Life With Woodpecker - how do you make love stay? - I ask the same sort of question, but with the ideas he puts forward in the book. So many obstacles sit in the path to being here now, or being where you are, that it's terribly easy to not be where you physically are, where your body says you are.

A big obstacle is sleep, or lack of it. A tired mind is a wandering mind. So should I be in bed? Should I base my being in bed, when I need to be in bed? Sleep holds so little for me, yet remains so necessary for a rich and rewarding life. That sounds so trite but it's beyond true. How do you enjoy life when you've moving in a fog? I suppose I answer my own question. The train and subway are fogs half the time. In order for me to enjoy my now I have to enjoy my being awake - a notion I find harder to realize these days. Perhaps the wine will help in that regard as well?

I have no conclusion to this entry. It's just a series of thoughts as they come to me, basically relating something that I believe a lot of people deal with. It's not a terrible thing. I'm not on the edge of the building, about to jump to end the misery. But I always strive to make it all better, to make every experience more worthwhile. Will the zombies at the Millington train station ever look me in the eye when we stand in line to get on the train? Or will they always live in that daze which leads them up the stairs to their seats? Will I ever break my own zombie trance and utter a "good morning" one of these days? I don't know the answers to these questions. Perhaps answering those, and getting to bed on time are good ways to get where I need to go - a place I suppose I'm already at.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Raking the leaves, raking the leaves...!

Title meant to be sung to Judas Priest's Breakin' the Law, with the ... and the ! as the pause and then heavy chord exclamation. I'm sure you're beyond thrilled. Bad 80's heavy metal, rock...rock on!

So today was raking the leaves day, something which isn't terribly poignant in anyone's life, I presume. This will not stop me from divulging my raking philosophy. Once a year I give the yard a once-over. Up til now I merely mowed the leaves with the lawnmower, an action which has caused this piece of machinery to run as if it had caviar, or any other foreign substance, in the fuel tank.

Today I still mowed the bulk of the leaves, an action my mower is looking at with increasing annoyance. But this time I raked the resulting mulch mess that had been starting to cover the yard to this point. I figure once a year is good to give the yard a solid cleaning - much like I do with my teeth! No, just kidding, I clean my teeth twice a year. The rest of the year is the mower for those too.

So I mow the leaves and rake the slop. It leaves the yard nice and fresh looking, and rather bald to be honest. We've got a lot of clay here, so the absence of leaves and sticks and whatnot makes the decided lack of full grass coverage more obvious. Maybe I should just leave the slop there. In addition to this I stoke up the chiminea and burn the trash while I mow and rake. It's really a rather holistic yard cleaning.

With the exception for a 30 minute lunch break and an hour bike ride, I was at it from 8:30 this morning until 5:00 tonight. I'm rather tired at this stage, to say the least. Waking up for work tomorrow is probably going to be a chore. But who cares? I digress. This is hardly a worthwhile blog entry. Given my tired state I suppose it's to be expected. It's not like a diary of my daily activities is really what you want to read.

So once a year I clean the gutters, rake the shed roof, and rake the yard to give it that oh-so-fresh feeling. Sadly I didn't finish, which means I have to try and get it done on Thursday when I work from home, since I might be away next weekend. Again, here I go with the useless discussion on my personal life. Did I mention I wore shorts and boots? I bet you care...a lot.

For all the wood burning I failed to really enjoy much of it. Nine and a half hours of chiminea later, and the only time I really grooved on it was when I was done, for 10 minutes. Sometimes it's easy to miss the good things in life. This is common for human beings. At least I can acknowledge I was missing it while I working. So much of my day was spent not really enjoying the moment. It's easy to do when you're trying to get as much done as you can. On the other hand, you wonder what you're spending your time for if you can't enjoy some portion of it. To be sure I did enjoy some of it. But I'd be lying if I said that it was pure enjoyment. The multiple blisters on both hands would be testament to that.

Anyway, there's my Sunday. I made pork medallions with miso-mushroom sauce for dinner after I knocked back a few Sierra Nevada Pale Ales. I wonder how my fantasy football team did today.

Accommodation in aviemore