Monday, September 26, 2011

Marital Discourse and The Time Continuum

Until the beginning of the 20th century, time was believed to be independent of motion, progressing at a fixed rate in all  reference frames, according to Wiki, which we all know we can’t trust for reliable references, but I have to admit sometimes I like wiki for a quiki  reference fixi.  And if that little bit of space-time physics isn’t enough, you can always try to make sense of this; Quantum formation has a beginning and end but by energetic space time [time quantum genes] create endless recrudescent quantum time [evolution] future quanta of continue times

I on the other hand, am starting to observe patterns and similarities in my daily Huff Post readings, conversations with friends and occasional bits of gossip about divorcing colleagues or neighbors.  I think we missed a very large correlation from physics when we were touting the concept that men were from Mars and women were from Venus a few years back (stick with Earth time for that reference).  We focused on language but we missed out on time and space and the relativity of the two.  We didn’t look close enough at fixed frames, motion and vernal equinoxes.  OK not really, I have no clue what that all means, maybe because I am from Venus, maybe not. 

I do know that women tend to be the great time keepers, date makers and schedulers of marriage and family events and activities from the mundane to the tedious to the occasional thrill, generally speaking.  There are exceptions, say, like Pluto. Wives that are also mothers keep track of growth and progress like no others.  Each day is spent in a seemingly endless array of tasks and jobs related to moving on to the next day.  Only to begin again and say the same things and do the same things to move towards the day after that when most in their care have forgotten, or need help, or didn’t realize they would be expected to complete those same tasks again.  Endless.  Day into day, year into year.  Each day as long as a year, or like Venus, longer.  Mars however, has a day as long as Earth’s day, give or take a few nano or not, seconds.  A year on Mars is almost twice as long as a year on Earth.  (We’ll get back to that later.) 

Put on your space suit take a sip of Tang and pay attention.  So, the mother/wife and the mother-ship that she is aiming toward the future knows all about time.  She plans it, she manages it, she sometimes succeeds at training it to function independent of motion.  She helps the child that has not yet mastered independence, puberty, and college placement tests, and the next child, and the one after that.  Everything centered around growth and movement in real time.  In the end, she will have attained a massive folio to be exchanged for time retrieval, or a great load of guilt to be dispensed at her leisure.  Her time.  She will be free and available.  Being the time-keeper, she can see this time on the horizon and she is eagerly awaiting it, but quietly under the surface.  She can’t rush or force time but she gleefully anticipates what is to come.  (Taking care of an over grown child that once doubled as a lover is not on her calendar for the next million years, taking on a lover is an option, but she more than likely wants the lover that has lived here all along to be on the same schedule.)

Suddenly, or so it may seem to her unsuspecting timeless partner, she no longer seems patient or has the time for his, let’s just call it nonsense, but it could be anything.  Time for his friends, time for his laundry, time for his excuses for not……. She no longer desires to manage or train or keep time for anyone.

What happened? When did the rules change? The Martians, I mean men, have always had the benefit of time.  They are from Mars and a year there is closer to two Earth years and approximately 3.5 years for each Venus year- no wonder we can’t see eye to eye.   We aren’t even functioning in the same time period or time zone. 

They’ll get to it.  Sure they heard you say such and such. But you have always said such and such and then you fell asleep exhausted from that year-long day of yours on Venus.   Or you stopped waiting and did it yourself.   Now what’s going on?  Is time like gravity?  The force and pull stronger with motion,  or  maybe without?  Those children certainly kept the little lady in motion.  And please, believe with all of my love-filled heart from Venus, I know those men are in motion too.  Only they are moving towards a different target or a different end point, or perhaps they are just moving slower around the same sunny center.  They have been for the most part, true to that end.  Women, however, reach a point in that familial orbit when they are suddenly ready to leap off of Venus and take back their worldly possessions, or at least re-stake their claim as women and launch that heavy satellite of motherhood far and away, or at least trade in the minivan.   The problem is, they have always functioned as the keeper of time.  They have set the rules.  They have set the tone to say things over and over again in hopes that the next day someone might actually clean their rooms, really, I mean it this time or be the one to arrange for the babysitter and make dinner reservations.  Now that there are no longer any babies to be sat, they want to go on a date with the man from Mars and find out just why they were so attracted to this otherwise alien creature.  But the men haven’t done that job since they bought tickets for the demolition derby, or the prom, or maybe to your favorite restaurant which was really his, but you smiled and glowed that Venetian golden glow (that was really just sulphuric acid found in abundance on Venus, by the way,  and not a glow at all). 

So women, hang in there if you can.  Set the clocks back or forward and try not to lose sight of what was once attractive. Gently tell your husband that you are running out of time to love him the way he might just need to start loving you.  But give him time to catch up.   And men: women don’t have the same time continuum as you.  They are leap years ahead of you.  According to my time-o-meter, and a few close friends, typically around the time the youngest child hits 12, give or take, start paying attention.   Time moves so quickly and the best is yet to come, with or without you.  That ship is sailing.  That ship has never stopped.   Try not to be on the boat that is sinking, because if you were paying attention, she planned ahead and has a life jacket and an exit plan and all the time in the world. 

I am enjoying my life-jacketed trip around Pluto.  The view is sublime, but I occasionally and fondly remember some good times between the mundane and tedious.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Survival Game for Teachers and other School Employees

I have 12 more days of attempting to get my son to eat mystery canned items until that first paycheck comes in. He doesn’t yet understand this is a sport. Or more realistically some sick game teachers play each year. The game of “How to pretend not getting paid all summer will work”.   It actually might work if I could keep pretending until payday- but just around this time each year this big old "woe is me" routine begins. I start to conserve energy by not moving off the couch. This saves in gas money but, the spread on my bottom might cost more in a pants size upgrade. It seems somehow a biological survival instinct type response just the same: if I don’t use much energy, I won’t be hungry, if I am not hungry, I won't eat much. It will take longer for starvation to kill me off, because my body has gotten accustomed to the minimal caloric intake and metabolic output. Right?

I begin to look for food in the cupboards that have never been on my shelves. French chocolates, or Swiss chocolates. Anything chocolate. Two days ago I made soft chewy chocolate cookies, using most of my powdered dutch cocoa reserves. What can I make with stale, store brand cheese crackers? If I make them into powder can I recycle them into something glorious and delicious? Highly doubtful, since the main purpose of purchasing these crackers, seems to be to let them get stale so that I can throw them away. But not in this week’s trash, I have to save room in the last of the prepurchased dump approved bags for only the smelliest of items. I dig through the freezer imagining that the filet mignon that I never put there is under the ice-crusted, freezer-burned, mud-colored, mysterious leftovers that were going to get me through this summer of not working. Hey, maybe if I eat this strange item, the ensuing digestive problems will counterbalance the afore-mentioned bottom spread and pants size increase.

While packing for a camping trip two weeks ago, my son sternly said, “This is not the time to get rid of all your expired cans and food items!” It’s true I was foraging through my cupboards, the camping trip was a last minute plan and we needed to skedaddle to make a ferry that was a 2 1/2 hour drive away. We made due with the freeze dried Mexican Chipotle Chicken and Lime and Cilantro Chill and Rice mix (campers are not so bourgeois these days).  Maybe he does understand this game, he did save those expired goods.  Certainly we have entered the time for eating expired canned goods. Garbanzo beans with possibly discernible cheese cracker crusted tuna cakes will be served on Wednesday. Creamed mystery casserole on Thursday…

Of course I start to use deductive-planning-reasoning at this point. I try to imagine myself making it through without reaching this bit of desperation. If I had only gotten the small snowball in New Orleans- I would have saved 72 cents times 3 snowballs.   But I would have wanted more, and then I might have spent additional money on something much more extravagant, like say, the alligator cheesecake at Jacque Imo's.  I don't really know what that means, alligator being a sort of meat and cheesecake being in the dairy group. As a native New Yorker, you just don't mess with the cheesecake.  I didn't need the beach chair for the oil laden beach in Mississippi. $15.00 down the tube! Oh, I probably didn’t need to get that second glass of wine last week for  $11.00, but I also probably wouldn’t have laughed so hard and almost traced the musician from Ottawa’s tattoo. Almost. But a worthwhile and enjoyable memory just the same. These savings would have gotten me two more meals, and only 10 needed days of survival strategies. The three pieces of art I purchased? Absolute necessity. The car parking expense at the airport definitely could have been eliminated with better planning, or less pre-vacation anxiety and misplaced items that caused a later than expected departure time. The parking expense would have gained me 8 more meals and possibly a movie. That would have left me with 2 meals to forage for. I did ponder floatees and doggy paddling across to our campsite rather than the $20.00 per person ferry fee, but I wouldn’t have made it to the end of the jetty, and the cost for replacing water logged camping equipment would not have justified the adventurous attempt at frugality.

O. K.  so, now I need to get myself back in the game. Finish Strong! Let’s see. I still have frozen falafel from a Trader Joe’s run last spring. I can probably whip up some tahini sauce from that old can of almond paste, or is that marzipan? I can use the last of my basil for pesto sauce. If I sit near the river, maybe my boat will come in, or a big old bag of money may float by from all the storm stirring.

In any event, I have re-trained myself in survival skills which are much needed to approach a new school year. I am ready for anything! Game On!

Note to self: I will not be available September 16th, I have dinner reservations and if I am lucky and  my son behaves, maybe a trip to the super can-can sale at ShopRite, it's never too early to plan for survival.