Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tempus Fugit

Lots has happened, yet nothing has happened. Things are the same, but things are different. What was is not now. What is now, is not so.

Or in the words of Hamlet - the readiness is all.

Then again, Hamlet was a Danish manic-depressive with mother issues. Joy. Why would anybody listen to him (other than he sounds pretty)

The universe appears to be having a laugh at the moment.

Life has become a surreal chapter from "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy."

Well, that's what it feels like.

So, picture this. Pandora, in a bit of a strop, just out from a mandatory information session at her consultancy, stands at the tram stop in the middle of the road on Collins Street, red back pack filled with damp, festering gym gear from a run in the morning. The evening is incredibly balmy for August - it's around eighteen degrees celsius - bizarre weather.

Waiting for trams is not one of my favorite things - particularly when I'm running late for dream group, been at work since 7.30 am (though saying this, from 7.35-8.45 a.m. I was running along the Yarra with a workmate, Desi, which was particularly pleasant on this stunning winter morning). The day had me getting bawled out by somebody outside of my team, endless meetings in which I played devil's advocate and silent witness and finally, the professional development session - at which I'm obliged to show my face. A very long day.

Standing at the tram stop, waiting for the tram, I have a few moments to myself. My mind turns to my favorite current fantasies - the Traralgon Football Player's bum. Time suddenly stretches for a bit and I relax. For what appears an eternity, I'm subjected to a little bit of bliss. Why is it, when you're doing something you either shouldn't be or you love, time appears to go slowly.

(And yes, I know it is not terribly politically correct to confess to checking out your workmate's posterior - but it happens and this one is rather cute for an ageing football player from Traralgon. Then again, I've already had a couple of people comment on my chook legs - so it's out there - you can't work in an office and not be noticed. You just have to make sure you don't stare.)

Tempus Fugit. Time flies. Especially when you're having fun.

I've been pondering the time continuum at lot of late. We were sitting talking about it at Masons the other night at supper. Beryl, my little white-haired grandmother substitute was sitting there discussing how time appeared to be speeding up. Beryl's sister, Pearl, a leaner, but just as sprightly woman piped up - "The modern 24 hours is equivalent to 16 hours of thirty years ago."

I tend to agree with her even though I have no idea how she can prove it.

Thirty years ago I was twelve. I remember time dragging. I remember being able to see an hour go by and watch the minutes. I always wondered how it could be that there were some days where things would fly past, and other days where they would drag. Strangely, summer days always appeared to linger. I liked winter days, counting time by how many stumps got placed on the open fire or how many books got read or how many times I had to let the dog in or out. The day was started by pulling on some old clothes, feeding a handful of poddy calves before showering, changing, grabbing my school bag and waiting for the large yellow school bus, driven by Mrs Gwennie came to pick me up. The bus collected me at quarter to eight.

And life seemed simpler back then.

The counts were different. The markers of time were nothing like the ones of today. Time was marked by Fat Cat going to bed - an institution in Adelaide. This is when good boys and girls used to go to bed at a decent hour. Fat Cat used to wish the boys and girls of Adelaide goodnight at seven thirty - since taken off the television as cats are not indigenous to Australia and man in a fat bandicoot suit would not be the same. I knew it was bath time at the end of Hogan's Heroes. Jerry Lewis marked Sunday afternoons - after a boring session at the Myponga Uniting Church earlier in the morning. I'm still unsure why I ever went to church as a kid. My parents never went. I never quite got what they were going on about Jesus. Church sucked.

Now I look at life and time in other ways.

Time is to be filled, balanced, checked and arranged. Sleep is that commodity that comes between the hours of midnight and six thirty. Calendars are there to be filled, updated and rearranged. There are people to meet, things to do, appointments to keep. Fitting in everything that I want to do is impossible.

I'm training for a half marathon at the moment, so I need to get every kilometre in my legs that I can. Thankfully, Desi presented herself this week in need of a trainer. She's training for the 10 km event on the same day - so we have similar goals - though Desi has only been running for a few months. She's proving a worthy running mate. But then I have to do the long runs as well. So that has to be fitted in. Plus hill and sprint training - but the hills can be done at the 1000 Steps and the sprints can be done on the treadmill at the gym.

Then there are friends to be seen. There is book group once a month. There is masons once or twice a month, depending on the month. There are movies with friends. I have to fit in a session with Pinochet to keep me honest. There are lunches with friends. There is the personal admin that has to be taken care of - and finding time with my hairdresser is akin to making an appointment to see the Pope.

And somehow I also have to go to work, do my washing and ironing and cleaning, and cooking ..... because I have to do the first thing to keep a roof over my head and I need to do the second because there is nobody else to do it - and I'm buggered if I'm hiring a cleaning lady or living on take-away.

I also ask myself if I'm keeping myself intentionally busy because there is nobody there at home. Or am I so busy because I'm avoiding letting other things in. Other things that might include love and money and hell knows what else.

Oh, and I'm editing a book at the moment as well. Did I tell you that?

So how is it, that with all this time poverty, I feel bad about missing things? Aren't I doing enough? Has time really shrunk like Pearl has said it has.

And when do I get a bit of time for me - says she who deliberately pencils in Sunday evening from 5 pm as me time - I do nothing, I go nowhere, that is my time to do with as I wish - why do I feel guilty? No friends, no appointments, nothing more than me in my trakkie dacks and slippers filing my nails or writing or ironing or watching the telly.

I feel guilty about relaxing. It's stupid.

Then I take stock of the last calendar year and I've done so much - lost a heap of weight, got really fit, travelled the world for five weeks, made new friends, got made redundant, had an operation, recovered from injury, seen the death of a beloved Aunt, driven to and from Adelaide, started a new job.

I then think to my maternal grandfather who in his 85 years of life never left Australia and worked for the same company for his whole working career - although he did relocate on numerous occasions. My grandfather expected dinner on the table at six'o'clock at night. My grandfather built wooden boats in his spare time.

He had quite a bit of it.

So now I find myself at a tram stop, relishing a few minutes before I have to climb on a tram, thinking about the lovely rounded rear end of a footballer. Ah - some peace.

And then the universe plays it's biggest joke of all.

"Hello, Pandora - what are you doing here at this time. Been working out?"

Standing a foot away, my green eyes meet a pair of intelligent, quizzical brown eyes. Traralgon is standing there. Tie loosened, back pack over his shoulder.

I find my composure. I feel like I've been sprung - not that anybody would know anything. I've just been staring off into the distance with and insipid smile on my face, waiting for the tram on a balmy night. Nobody knows what I've been thinking. Thank goodness the evening light hides my blushing cheeks.

"Nah. Just been at a session at the consultancy. What about you?"
"Meeting friends for dinner.'
"Ah. Well, have a lovely night."
"You too."

Traralgon flashes me a smile and crosses the road. His suit jacket covers his rump.



Kath Lockett said...

'Me time' is always the first thing to go and yet it's the most important, isn't it?

Mr Traralgon - any possibilities there or just a plaything for daydreaming at tramstops?

Pandora Behr said...

Thankfully running time is me time - but I need more down time too - rhough I've had a lovely few hours writing - not that it was a great effort.

You've missed some freaky weather here - roamed around in a t-shirt today.

Mr Traralgon is daydream fodder for tram stops. Anything more would be just too, too messy and have to be filed under things just a bit wrong.