Unwinding Time

I’ve written before about the capricious nature of time and how I suspect it passes at different speeds in specific locations like currents of water speeding through rapids and slowing in protected inlets. I won’t bore you by repeating all that, but I had an embarrassing realization this morning, and my posts haven’t been particularly funny lately, so I thought I’d share my humiliation for your entertainment.

Kalen surprised me with a massage earlier this week. Not surprise as in “he jumped out from behind a bush with a Super Soaker full of baby oil and started boxing my back,” but as in “he secretly made an appointment at a local spa and paid for it in advance,” which is both very thoughtful and considerably more effective at relaxing me than the alternative method.

While both very appreciative and excited about the massage, I was also a little nervous. You see, I’m not really a spa kind of girl. I can count on one hand the number of manicures and pedicures I’ve had (thankfully the manicures incorporated both hands; imagine if they’d only manicured one hand). Before this, I’d only had two or three professional massages. I don’t color my hair and only get a haircut two or three times a year (because my hair is long and no one notices anyway), and since the pandemic started, I’ve found I can cut my own hair for free with about the same level of satisfaction as I get from a fancy salon. No one has told me that it looks like I cut my own hair, so hopefully they’re not just sparing my feelings.

I’m not disrespecting stylists. What they do is hard and requires real skill. I’m just picky and a lot of the general salon experience (small talk, being forced to look at myself in that backwards cape with my hair all sodden from washing, and strong chemical smells from too many hair products) makes me uncomfortable. When you combine my unfamiliarity with the whole “salon and day spa” thing and my bodily insecurities, you can see that I had a little trepidation about the massage.

I reminded myself that the massage therapist is a professional and wouldn’t be judging me. All the same I made sure that I got my workout in early in the day so that I could thoroughly shower and make sure my legs were free of scratchy stubble. I avoided specific foods to minimize the ever-present risk of a fart sneaking out while I relaxed. I broke out the belt sander to address the dry calluses on my heels (You got me, we don’t have a belt sander; it was just a pumice stone. Give me some creative license, alright?)

I arrived with plenty of time to fill out the requested paperwork and relax with a cup of tea before the massage, and then enjoyed an indulgent and relaxing massage, resolving to book another as a reward when I lose ten more pounds.

This morning I was walking Pippin and we walked past the construction site. One of the construction workers’ trucks has scrawled on the back window, in the timeless style of teenagers, “Class of 2022.” I’ve walked past this truck for months always vaguely wondering if the worker’s kid is a senior, and why the kid would write that on a vehicle that isn’t at school with him, or if it’s the kid’s truck, why isn’t he at school? Why is he at this construction site every day? Today, in the middle of October, I realized that the faded lettering almost certainly indicates that the driver was in the class of 2022, graduated five months ago, and is now working at this site, because that’s how graduation years, and time in general, work.

It was at this point that I realized, in all my efforts to mitigate embarrassment, I signed and dated yesterday’s paperwork for the massage with last year’s date. We are more than three quarters of the way through 2022 and I dated paperwork (in at least three places) 2021.

As a kid I thought it was so weird when my grandma took a few extra seconds to calculate how old she was, and I remember my mom commenting that, when she had been my age, she had thought how silly it was to not know your own age, but she understood it more and more every year. I guess I’ve progressed to that middle level where I certainly understand needing a little extra time to double check what year it is and subtract my birth year before spitting out the first number that comes to mind and then correcting myself a couple of times.

The really ironic part is that when I worked at the library, I was so accustomed to telling patrons when their books were due back that I always felt like I was about two weeks ahead of the current calendar date. New and updated accounts always got a note to re-verify contact information in one year’s time, reaffirming which year is which. And completely separate from the library, I’ve always been pretty good at calculating the time in various time zones, helping me to keep track of friends and events across the country and the wider world.

But apparently I have, like Billy Pilgrim, come unstuck in time. Or maybe I accidentally fell into a freezer tube like Fry. Or it’s just my mind trying to reclaim all the time and experiences lost to the pandemic (not unlike being in a freezer tube, I guess). I’m not sure which of those is most preferable. I just hope I don’t suffer any horrible accidents, for obvious reasons, but also because when they check for brain damage they ask what year it is and who is the president. I can’t remember what year it is when I’m at my best and what if the doctor asking is one of those election denier nutjobs? Can you all vouch for me, and explain that that’s not a fair question because I didn’t know what year it was to start with? Thanks, you’re the best.

2 responses to “Unwinding Time”

  1. Oh, my goodness! I love this one! Toooo funny! And give that Kalen an extra hug for being such a thoughtful spouse! And yes, I would vouch for you any day! 🤪

    1. He’s a good one, I think I’ll keep him!

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