Archive for November, 2008

creature(s) of habit

November 12, 2008

I walk/run three days during the week—Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—plus Saturdays and Sundays. I’m somewhat very regimented about it, which translates to a fairly consistent departure time.  Couple the CDT with my fairly consistent pace, my consistent choice of music, and my consistent route (which only changes on the weekends when I add 1.5 miles) and you get a workout that enables me to reduce the variables and focus on the particulars.  This system is good for my science-y brain—I like to create a “control” against which to evaluate new data (the chronos against which kairos can emerge? the background against which the pattern emerges?—whatever, choose your metaphor.)

One of the patterns I’ve been noticing recently is less a variable per se and more part of the control, but I wouldn’t have noticed had I not seen it day after day after day.

The white-haired, stoutish man with glasses, walking his two small terriers, who smiles and waves at me without fail; the youngish man waiting at the bus stop; the admins in the optician’s office, pulling files for the day; the men at the old-school auto-body, enjoying a morning smoke; the school busses waiting, the woman who walks faster than me yet has shorter legs,  the man at the bagel shop sitting in the same seat near the window every day, the young woman eating her McDonald’s before work at the fabric store.

I’m not exactly sure what I want to say about this phenomenon, other than to wonder if others experience the same patterns.  Also, I wonder:  who are these people?  What are their lives like?  Do they notice me, too?  Do they realize we share these repeated moments on the space/time grid???

On most days, I spend my walk/run/observation sessions making mental notes about the flora and foliage.  If anyone asked me why I get up to walk/run, I would explain my need to “check in” on everyone’s garden.  Seriously.  If too many days go by I worry that I’ll miss someone’s lilies blooming, or, now, that the beautiful locust leaves will drop before I get my fill of their perfectly uniform golden ovals.  Until yesterday, I was obsessed with a series of small trees that line a street.  The leaves have gone from green to gold to gone, leaving huge crimson berries against brown branches.

Lately, I’ve been running in anticipation of seeing these people, these markers.  Will they be there?  Will they be doing their things?

And that’s all I’ve got.  I’m not writing, knitting, or reading.  I’m teaching, administrating, and searching.  And running.

(I always wave and smile back at the man.  Seeing him brightens my day, no matter what.)



November 2, 2008

I know I’m in a very, very small minority here, but I LOVE the fall daylight saving change.  I love the thin, pale blue light of early winter mornings and the fact that sunset occurs before 6:00.  There’s something so archaic about these darkened evenings, so pioneer, as if all the technology in the world can’t stop the cycles of the earth and sun.  On a personal level,  I feel that the new schedule gives me permission to rise super-early (which I love) and to hunker down around 7:00 pm (which is when we all should stop working anyway, goddammit!!!!!)  I also find the early dark more convivial and cozy—somehow the fact that we all have to be inside together leaves me longing for cocktail parties and scrabble and small intimate gatherings.

This year, daylight saving time came a week later, which disappointed me.  However, the reason for the change cracks me up!  Of course, the politicians will tell you that this format saves energy, but I’ve heard several reports about the candy industry and Halloween which indicate that candy lobbyists (seriously, what a job THAT would be!) have been pushing hard for the change as it ensures “more” Halloween and therefore huge profits.

But if you google “daylight saving candy” you can find others.

So, if you’re depressed, blame M&M/Mars, I guess… or eat some: there’s serotonin in chocolate, right?