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"Time seems altogether too unreliable of a regulator."

I'm always astounded when I consider that time moves at a constant pace, a sleepless, silent drummer setting the background rhythm for everyone's existence. The same for you as for me. The same for Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat as for The Muse. The same for the Queen of England as for the panhandler along the freeway exit. I do not experience time as such a dependable regulator. Some days seem to crawl while others sprint. I've spent fortnight-long afternoons and split-second months. Some nights seem endless while others hardly find a moment to wink in passing. I figure this variation must be about me, if time exclusively runs regularly.

I don't seem to run that irregularly.
I maintain a semblance of a schedule. I'm up at nearly the same time every pre-morning and down long before any midnight bell, and yet my days and the time slices within them seem anything but as regular as clockwork. Something more powerful and more pervasive than time must intrude into my space, gumming up the works.

Over supper last night, The Muse asked me if I was growing a beard. I'd noticed that I'd skipped shaving the prior few days, resulting in the start of what might become a beard. I hadn't considered the ramifications, so I shrugged, probably appearing evasive. This morning, she expanded on last night's comment. She wanted to know what it meant that I'd skipped shaving to the point of threatening a beard. It could mean, she continued, that I'm depressed because I've always been so habitual about shaving, and also taken pride in what I considered a family heritage of habitual shaving. I'd considered it a kind of responsibility to continue the tradition. I'd long before noticed that when I shaved first thing, I felt much better prepared for the day, bright-faced and leaning into the morning with a dab of toilet paper wicking a nick on my chin.

And here I'd gone a week at least without observing this almost holy ablution. The Muse's questions got me to thinking, too. Am I depressed? I understand how someone, even The Muse, might have to rely upon outward appearances to determine what's going on inside of me, but I never notice. My mirror should feature one of those transparent messages along the side, like the side mirrors on The Zoom Car: Images Here Might Appear More Familiar Than They Are. I had not noticed that most definitive evidence of the passing of time, a whiskery chin and fuzzy cheeks. Then I got to wondering, too. Am I growing a beard? Maybe a beard-ish instead.

Time seems altogether too unreliable of a regulator. My milestones seem both more informative and more regular than plain old largely invisible time. Time seems to skip ahead as I finish a piece of writing, shifting from absolute irrelevance back into something more like the movement of clock hands again. Through the day, light shifts in ways that only my proprioception notices. My conscious perceiving might shortly catch up, prompting my intellect to wonder what time "it" is, and check my wrist, resolving nothing. Time touches me before I notice her hand. She coaxes my whiskers to poke from out my chin while I wrestle through another interminable night, with me hardly noticing as I glance at that familiar alien figure in my misleading mirror to I consider whether I really need to shave again that following morning.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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