As my left eye creaked open this morning all I saw was the laminated red number 9 on my bedside clock. It was the last number of the time because my ever present water bottle was covering the first part of the digital display. So I began trying to decide what time it was without actually lifting my head and looking at the entire clock. It was light out so it had to be after 4 a.m. but it wasn’t bright bright light so it had to be before 7. Then as I looked at the clock again the nine had turned into a one. Hey, wait, where did the zero go? It should have been like five fifty nine then 6 o’clock. Six zero, zero, but now I was looking at a one. I know I didn’t look away for more than a few seconds, where did that minute plus go? I missed a whole minute that I would never get back. How many times during my life has that happened? If you take the time to count to sixty, slowly, consuming a whole minute, it’s really quite a long period of time. So how many of those minutes would we like to have back to spend again?
There are a few minutes in time I wouldn’t mind getting back. Maybe that one this morning could be my wakeup call. It was morning after all, a good time for a wakeup call. I cannot imagine trying to capture and make each and every minute of my time into something memorable. There are some minutes that are supposed to be just minutes. Like those passed while you are in the, uh, bathroom. Or those sixty second time frames that come when you get caught blowing your nose. You think you are being discreet sitting there at your table in the restaurant and your poor nose is running faster than you can sniffle due to the hot peppers in your chimichanga. So you grab up your oh so fine paper napkin, blow the darn thing causing a noise that gets an immediate response from a low flying duck looking for a mate. It is then you notice you are the center of attention of the diners around you. Ya those kind of minutes you might want to get back and re-do a different way.
If time were actually something we could re-spend if we didn’t like the way it was spent the first time would that be a good thing? Off the cuff you might think that being able to go back and pick up those minutes you used poorly is a good idea. But… Say for instance telling your sister to just lay on the ground and you will ride around her on your new blue bike that you have named Tornado because it is so fast. Then just at the last moment you get scared and drive right over the middle of your sister… I was the one on the ground, younger and dumber. Would I like to re-coop those minutes and spend them differently? Maybe with me being the one on the bike. Why? I would lose that memory. That coughing, choking and gasping for air memory from my childhood.
In reality if we spent all of our time re-cooping and re-spending bad minutes we would miss the good ones we have every single day. Like running into good friends just by chance. Saying in passing to a good friend out my car window, “Hey good lookin’, what’s cooking?” As she is putting her groceries in her car she looks up and smiles and waves a hello back at me. Or seeing four baby Killdeer birds being born, pecking their way out of their shells and into life, while tucked in a nest dug out in a pile of gravel so they are hidden from predators. How wonderful those minutes are and how fragile time is. Why waste it trying to recapture minutes that have slipped past without notice or that have occurred in a not so user friendly fashion.
It’s kind of like thinking about marriage. A good one has years that feel like but moments, but it also has heart stopping moments that feel like they last for years…
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.