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January 9, 2009

When Time was Stolen


It may have well been a dream because I canít think of what else it could have been--that someone would actually pull off a heist like that--stealing Time!

I said it may have been a dream because Iím not sure if I went to bed thinking about it or if I actually dreamt it from scratch.

It happened before, during or after I fell asleep reading the second chapter of Heart of Darkness--it was one of those books that I always started and never finished but felt compelled to read it for whatever reason. That is when my mind began to drift as I read those boring words about this ship and this sea and sailor this and seaman that. God I think I had enough of dead men who wrote about the sea!

So here it was--the Earth--and someone made off with Time and that is where everything began to go haywire. I said began but it really never began come to think of it, because with Time stolen there was no way to start anything. I watched all the goings on from somewhere--donít know where really, but watched I did and what I noticed was that people were speaking really funny. Their tenses were all messed up--they spoke of stuff that had happened which was going to happen which never did, but having already happened left little hope for it happening, and since it couldnít happen because it did happen which I already explained how it never did, left their very sentences so disjointed that no one spoke.

I saw people trying to sit down but they remained standing since the only way someone could sit is after they were standing, and with no Time to gauge which is before and after they sort of remained suspended and sort of dumbfounded.

Businesses flopped everywhere, especially restaurants. I watched that pretentious little cafť on 57th Street just dissolve into nothingness, because normally before they serve you there was a waiting period for a table, so all their customers just waited in a line forever and never did all at once. It happened really weird like, because though they cued up for a really long time they just the same sat down to dinner instantly and was out before they could pay their check, and their food was overcooked and raw all at once, but the cafť went out of business mostly because it lost its allure of not having to wait in a line to get a table, whereby people could show how well they could dress and how important each other was.

People couldnít boast about how much money they made in the stock market because they werenít able to leave it long enough to collect the dividends, and left it so long that the companies went into bankruptcy leaving their shareholders with worthless stock and so much that everyone had all and no one had little enough to make the ones which had enough too much that the rich became poor and the poor were in no hurry to become rich so they didnít buy any products and if they did, they didnít pay for them on time and the whole stock market crashed even if it never did.

Everyoneís mortgage matured instantly but not fast enough to close, and the brokers received no fees since the escrows froze and the banks never got paid but interest rates multiplied so much that it disappeared and the whole real estate industry collapsed as it exploded.

With me seeing all this happen I thought it would be a great opportunity to capitalize on some lucrative business venture to set myself up for a comfortable retirement. However, by the time I thought of one good idea the opportunity was lost, and it took so long for me to execute the plan that it got stale and worthless so I couldnít make a killing on anything and yet I had it all so much so that I had no use for anything and I saw the whole world that man created just crumbling to dust as it grew out of control.

I already told you that it was weird like crazy so I donít even know if Iím explaining it right. I saw every man, woman and child screaming in horror as they laughed themselves silly. But jokes werenít funny because the punch line was revealed already and the whole Comedy Club business went under. And besides, there was enough to make everyone laugh for free from the things that made them cry.

I saw this building burn to the ground because the fire trucks took too long to get to it but then it was too wet to burn because they put too much water on it without even having a fire to put out.

I watched it all and began to laugh hysterically but I found my sadness hard to bear since I was already laughing forever and couldnít express my sorrow efficiently.

I thought that I shouldnít worry since I was creating this chaos with just my mere thoughts and all I had to do was get a solid grip on my mind, but I couldnít set a firm time to stop what I started and pursue what good intensions I never conceived to turn back that which never began.

"These were only thoughts", I tried to convince myself. I reasoned that just like I did create the thief of Time with my thoughts, just so I could find the culprit and bid him to return the wretched thing back in its rightful place.

I saw clearly the way to recover Time and it was resolute in my mind. I felt at ease for the chaos was nauseating and I longed for normalcy. But in one corner of my eye I noticed that the Sun scribed a steadfast path across the sky and I noticed that the trees swayed naturally with a passing breeze and all their branches leaned when the breeze pushed and not before, and not too late to deceive the passage of the Wind. Then I noticed a bird landing on a branch only after it did and not before, and so was a squirrelís progress across a tidy lawn and even a fly marking itís motion natural and true--their world was still wholesome regardless of Time.

I noticed that the clouds were still clouds in their own solemn way--everything was harmonious if I kept my gaze on the animals and trees and clouds and breeze.

I became reluctant to restore Time because I saw the beauty of the world without that dreadful disease.

I wanted to ask one little bird how come it managed so well without Time. How you, my little friend, got about your day so well as it seem, with no Time to mark every flap of your wing? How do you know when to stop scratching your ear? How will your eggs hatch, donít you need to measure the days?

I stopped even if I never started because the answers came even never they did since I asked too many questions and none before I spoke during which I did and ended in the middle of the beginning of the end which came initially before the last so I forced myself to stare at the clouds and only then did I find harmony.

Now I am awake and Iím staring at my clock and I see the hands moving in normal course. I placed my hand on my chest and felt the breath entering and leaving my lungs. Even if I feel that all is normal yet I feel a certain heaviness brought on by some sort of burdensome force which oozed from the observation of that dreaded Time.

I feel like Iím happy that itís back and that my happiness can be measured and I even feel content that with Time back on the job I can look forward to my next day off, and my next paycheck, and my next satisfying meal, and ultimately my timely death.

But what my little experience has left most markedly on my mind is that the animals may truly be immune to the tiresome drag that Time seems to deposit on us. Presently I truly wish that to be so--that the course of the Sun shall never be an item to be bought and sold. Wish I now do that every man who is willing to unshackle himself from the encumbrance of Time get to experience the delicious lightness of existence just like that little bird flitting about the treetops.

Originally written January 5, 2007. Photograph at the top of the page is sunset at Riverside Park, and just above is Palemale on Cedar Hill - Jan 4, 2009.

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