Graffiti of Time

Coffee Talk With Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about age lately. Could be that the infamous five-oh has been staring me in the face since February. That’s when Time showed up. My birthday wasn’t until August but she would flare her red skirt in the shadows of my home, catching my attention. Then she’d leave. She (yes, Time is a she, at least in my story) would pop by before I’d have my coffee or at the end of a busy day, she’d catch me unaware, laugh, and sashay into whatever magical universe she came from.
The whole ‘mid-life crisis’ thing is starting to make sense. It is a scary thing. Retirement isn’t that shiny city in the distance anymore, it’s right up the street. And the big question is can you afford to buy in that neighborhood. And the body, it thinks its twenty years younger but the parts are showing the wear and tear of all fifty years. Maintenance takes more time and money and I’m beginning to think that being nearsighted isn’t such a bad thing, especially when looking in the mirror.
Time showing up is a reminder that she is in control. I couldn’t catch her so I thought I’d have a chat. Ask some questions. Whether she intended it or not, she started the conversation by not saying anything.
So I sit down with Time, me with my coffee, her with a mocking look.
We have words.
“You’re shortchanging me.”
“Everyone is doled out the exact amount of Time they are supposed to have. I’ve given you your quota.”
She smirks. She thinks she’s clever, I can tell.
I press on, not wanting to let her off the hook.
“Admit it, you have your favorites––the ones who run marathons when they’re sixty and don’t have to gulp down copious amounts of Ibuprofen as if they have shares in the company. And what about those people who can remember all kinds of things, the names of their best friends from elementary school, what they wore to their first dance and even what they had for dinner last night. They recall years and address and author’s names as if it was imprinted on their brains and not something they have to Google for the answer. And don’t forget those people who’ve become CEOs and parented two or more kids who didn’t turn out to be serial killers or politicians and make six figures and only need three hours of sleep. Three hours.”
At this point, I have to take a breath. I take a sip of my half-cup of coffee that got cold while I was ranting. Time is listening but I’m not sure she’s really getting me. So I keep talking.
“You know why they only need three hours of sleep? Cause you stretch time for them. You add seconds and minutes while they sleep or jog or get their hair done. You make it seem like they have the amount they’re supposed to have, but secretly, you hand them a golden Time ticket under the table. ‘Psst, I like you, let me show you how much,’ you say, and slide the embossed paper into their sweaty hands.”
Time taps her fingernail on the table and leans towards me. I think I’m getting through so I ask the question that is really burning in me.
“Why not give me a little extra? Huh?”
She has that smirk on her face again. Her fingernail taps once more and she says…
“You’re lucky I’ve given you what I have. You’re still here, still kicking, still creaking and moaning and loving and laughing,” she says, rising, red silk falling over the slope of her hip, “you should be thankful.”
She swings her long hair over her shoulder and disappears from my kitchen. I’ll admit it, I want to swear at her. But I don’t. How can you swear at the truth?
All this to say I’m still thinking about age and aging. But with a different perspective. Less dread and more thankfulness. But that doesn’t mean I’m inviting Time over for coffee any time soon. I’ve had enough of her for a while.
So what’s your experience with Time? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. As always, thanks for reading!

  • Michelle Sampson

    Time has touched me and turned me golden. She has. She gave me an incredible gift. But she didn’t just stop by to tell me about it, she showed me that gift. And before she unveiled the full bounty of it she made me pay a very high price for it. She took time away from me, she set up a trap that kept me impaled for very long periods of time with nothing to think about but all the time I’ve wasted being physically held down. When you’ve been forced to live in the prison of your body your mind takes off, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming about movement and physical freedom. Not once did it ever dream of physical beauty. It isn’t that I didn’t notice the physical change in form. My God, how could I not. It’s that I appreciated being able to see it from an upright position. Appreciation at the end of the day is the elusive thing we seek. Developing one’s inner light. Tapping into a higher power. Keeping a twinkle in one’s eye that shines brightly back at you in the reflection of the eyes of those you love. You can’t beat time minute by minute, but you can rise above her and beat her at her own game. She may take the beauty away but in its place, if you are lucky, you will find so much more there. Afterall we reside in the house of the soul, not in the face of the mirror.

    So work your magic work and do yourself a good deed. Take as good a care of yourself as is humanly possible but make sure to always spend just a little more time on your inner self. When Time comes back for that cup of coffee next, she will be most displeased to find that she is no longer held in a position of prominence but is taking a back seat to self-love and self-satisfaction. Face it, when ones’ looks go south and they surely will, the only thing left to lift you up is the spirit you present to the world. Make it mighty!

    August 31, 2018at6:27 am
  • Michelle Sampson

    So the first comment was in response to your request for comments. But I have to add this as well, I loved this piece. Just loved it. What it made me realize is that in the end we really all are the same and that we share that human experience pretty much the same way. Beautifully written, witty as hell, with so much description that I could feel the breeze she created as she walked right past me. Time. Elusive time. Thanks for sharing. This really was a special treat.

    August 31, 2018at6:34 am
  • Dawn Anne Kern

    Great piece, Carm! As for my experience with time – I have such mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I have a hard time reconciling what I see and feel physically with what I think and feel internally. On the other hand, I recognize and appreciate the gifts of my forties: not having to be right all the time, the freedom that comes with admitting when I’m wrong, being okay with unresolved questions, grasping the complexity of human beings, accepting other people’s points of view…

    And it’s with that appreciation that I anticipate (what I have heard referred to as) “The F&ck It Fifties” I feel them coming!

    Love ya girl – honoured to tango with Time on the same dancefloor as you!!

    August 31, 2018at8:52 pm
  • I. Love. This.

    You’ve only been staring this in the face for 6 months? I’m already staring at it 10 months out. Your post reminded me of Will Smith in Collateral Beauty… so angry at Time for taking his daughter that he wrote a letter, never expecting her to actually show up. Oh the injustice. How dare she. Time stops for no one. Hey it doesn’t even slow down. Rich, poor, happy, sad… Time keeps marching on… to the beat of her own freaking drum. But, like you, I’m ok with Time. She and I have an understanding, because I’ve been given a gift. There’s no where else I’d rather be or nothing else I’d rather do right now because this is MY moment in time!

    August 31, 2018at9:48 pm
  • Mary Izzo

    Awesome piece, Carm and a unique take on turning 50. For me, Time has always been fascinating. It’s been chasing me for 75 years now and I have an intimate relationship with IT. Maybe that’s why I have 76 clocks scattered throughout my tiny house. A reminder that time keeps moving forward and there’s no way to go back. What I do know about time and it’s inner workings is that it takes on a life of its own every single day, waiting for us to use it up.. By that I mean, we get to choose how we spend it — either idly or keeping busy — time doesn’t care either way.
    If you look at time, it’s almost like watching faces pressing against a window. Trying to deliver a message to us. Maybe there’s a way to stop it and start it whenever we choose. I’ve been trying to figure it out . No luck so far. But then again, the passing of time has nothing to do with luck.

    September 1, 2018at2:44 pm
  • Mary Izzo

    Awesome piece Carmen and a unique take on turning 50. Time has always been fascinating to me. Maybe that’s why I have 76 clocks stashed around my tiny house. I have to tell you that IT (time) has been chasing me for 75 years now – we go round and round like two old friends. I believe we have clocks and watches for a specific reason and if you really look hard, it’s almost as if their faces are pressing against a window, looking in and trying to get a message to us. Maybe it’s the secret to stopping and starting time at will.
    I spent an unreasonable amount of time browsing The Clock Doctors store, got to know the owners and they showed me how to repair my own watch. Fascinating stuff, all the inner workings and precision. I even devoted a whole chapter in my book to Time. I keep hoping I’ll learn the secret to stopping and starting it., maybe even find loved ones who are gone from this earth. But for now, I’ll just keep moving to “old” .

    September 1, 2018at3:12 pm

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