Time and place

Time and place

One of my friends said that when you do not see people you know on a daily basis, after a while it is as if they didn’t exist. You slide into your own world, bounded by the people you actually interact with and the places that you go. This is also something that happens to people who travel for extended periods for a living. They live in two worlds; one with restaurant meals, hotels, maid service and endless meetings with strangers. The other world is where the lawn needs cutting, you pick up after yourself, help with the cooking and dishes and spend time with people who actually care about you. This is where the people and things that really matter to you are located. It’s a good idea to remind yourself of this from time to time.

You may think that you have this isolation thing beat because of email and Facebook. Well, people don’t write the way they talk. They become long-winded and say controversial things that they would never say to your face. You are a captive audience to a written message; you can’t interrupt or tell them to shut up. It is hard to indicate nuances when communicating in what is basically a monotone.

Emailers often do not bother with capitalization and many leave out punctuation and spell phonetically. They dash off their thoughts and send them in the blink of an eye. Sometimes they are a bit scary, sometimes stupid and sometimes hurtful. It used to be that talking face-to-face was when you got your foot in your mouth.

Getting back to the separation thing, I am often amazed, after only a year, how much people have changed. Why did they do that? I didn’t change. I am still the same 35-year-old (in my head), fun-loving, life of the party. Here, watch, I will do my Jackie Gleason imitation. What do you mean, “Who is Jackie Gleason?”


Did I drop off for a minute there? I was up late last night; around 10 o’clock. Oh, gee, is that pizza? I can’t really eat pizza these days, same for spaghetti. You got any Cream of Wheat? Play a game outside? What have you got that doesn’t require a lot of jumping and running? How about Gin Rummy on a picnic table?

Before you know it, it is time to return to your regular world where the changes are insidious; working like rust under paint until one day the paint falls off revealing the damage. (That’s funny. These pants fit me last year).

I wonder if I still have that can of Rustoleum hair spray.

Bill Abrams resides in Pine Plains, from where he sometimes attempts to make time stand still.