No matter where you are at any given moment today it’s either tomorrow or yesterday somewhere else. Years ago I visited Sweden which is nine hours ahead of California. I returned to work and a colleague handed me a fax sent from Stockholm. He pointed to the date and time.
“Here’s a message from tomorrow,” he chuckled.
I shared this story with Maggie, my 7th grader, who worried about the end of the Mayan calendar December 21st (2012).
“The world can’t end,” she sniffed. “I want to grow up and open a beachfront café. I have a lot to do.”
I tested faith-based rationale. “Only God knows when the world ends,” I soothed.
“No worries, kid. It’s already tomorrow in Australia. If the world was ending, it would be on the news by now.” She smiled and hopped upstairs.
The imminent New Year gave me reason to pause. We expend time in blocks of minutes, days, or years. They often pass by without our noticing. Consider one minute, when either a decision we make or action we take possibly affects our life’s outcome. In only a minute we can miss a plane and an opportunity. We can make or lose fortunes. We can lose, or gain, a loved one.
My wife Hun gifted me time one Christmas. She told me exactly what she wanted, where to get it, and saved me from playing shopping roulette. She pined for a work-bench vise, preferably one to clamp two-by-four’s and not my skull.
I executed operation-sweep-her-off-her-feet with a trip to the hardware store. I went from a time deficit to time spared. I figured I’d use the extra time to do something she wanted.
She decided on a family shopping trip to a big city mall.
The four of us walked inside single-file. I noticed a congregation of leaners, sitters and snoozers, guys biding their time waiting for their mates.
Hun split the clan – I had Kate, the 10th grader, and she took Maggie.
I trudged behind Kate who hunted for a deal. A mixture of holiday and rap music blared throughout the store. She zeroed in on a target and removed a woolen item. It had the circumference of a bike tire.
“What’s that?” I asked.
I wondered how many minutes it takes to tie a regular scarf. She scurried off. I remained alone in no man’s land next to a rack of scarves. I scanned the store and drifted into the intimate apparel section, an area that befuddles most guys. A sales clerk intercepted me.
“Can I help you find something for your daughter?”
“It’s for your wife, then?”
“Umm…” An uneasy feeling chilled my soul. A premonition warned me of danger. I turned to see Hun’s glare. She stood tall; arms crossed and frowning with disapproval. It was time for me to relocate.
“No luck finding binoculars,” I told her. She wasn’t amused. I decided at that moment to trust my instinct: Never pass on a good opportunity to shut up. My testosterone level sank to pre intimate apparel conditions.
I’m ready for 2014 but won’t overlook the remaining days of 2013. I’ll yearn to enjoy each moment and not take anything for granted. I’ll watch for the positive and amusing episodes that occur on any given day. I’ll make sure to notice them.
I appreciate your time reading Etc. Guy this past year. Many of you sent thoughtful and encouraging notes. I’ll continue writing. I hope that my best times, as a writer, are yet to come.