Friday, July 27, 2007


WITH HITCHCOCK AND DALI IN A DiCHIRICO


This morning, Echo being gone upnation for a few days to visit her folks, I woke as usual at around 5:30 and, this being a workday, got up to get ready to go to work.

With my eye on the minute hand as usual on workday mornings, I had some breakfast, shaved, dressed, did some time on the computer, packed my rucksack-- only 5 minutes' leeway, better get out there and wipe the dew off the motorcycle seat, let it rev a bit--

Did so, freewheeled down the mountain to the station, locked the bike, got out my ticket thinking it was odd there were so few bikes, cars and people here this morning, remembered (again) that school is out for the summer now, so no kids on the early trains...

Then I went through the unmanned early morning wicket, but that strange feeling followed me: there was no one ahead of me or behind me, there are always at least a few other commuters at 5-10 minutes before the 7:27 arrives, but today there was no one. Was this a holiday? It was eerie, I felt like I was in one of those paintings by DiChirico.

When I'd passed through the high archway into dimness, walked alone between the tall pale columns and climbed the silent empty stairs to the platform there was no one there either, maybe this was a real life Twilight Zone and I was the last commuter left in the world, casting a long morning shadow on a still canvas...

Was it all really this much of an illusion? What was going on? Did I have to commute today at all? Was this a holiday I'd been unaware of? That could happen, even though there are so few holidays anymore that don't fall on Monday, one of my days off... But even on a holiday (maybe even moreso than on a workday) there are train travelers... Japan doesn't have daylight savings time, so... And where are the trains that usually come by while I wait? Did they change the schedule? This WAS the right time; my watch says... HUH? 6:15??? What the...

In serving as a living metaphor for elastic time, while watching the minute hand I had overlooked the hour hand. As a result, minute by minute I had warped my sense of whenness, all unbeknownst to the attentive individual I usually am, until I'd fully psyched the poor guy out of quiet moments and into a blind rush: I had lost an entire hour in my own head, on my own time!

Having lived ahead for nearly an hour, then been instantaneously retroclocked for the same duration, the resulting mental confusion was interesting. I had been as convinced about those moments in which I'd been living as one is always convinced, at the deepest levels of the psyche, about every moment; it wasn't one of those slipshod things where you mistake the date and 'lose a day'; that's much more clunky and less traumatic than losing a self-created hour, which is more personal and immediate: should I go back home, should I just stay here and wait for an hour, maybe go somewhere and have a coffee, or should I just catch the next train that comes in, it was one of those Hitchcock vertigo vortexes in a Dali painting with my watch melting and me just a shadow casting a shadow, scratching my head while gazing ahead into what I'd thought was now.

I guess it's better I was alone…

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Been there and done that but never as philosophically as you have!

Tabor

Pam said...

I've done it too. But never with such apt and vivid imagery.

Friends of mine have done it with their age. One friend lost about a year when he turned 38 because he thought he was already there.

Maya's Granny said...

When I taught Montessori, we taught the children to lay out maps with the north of the map aligned with the north of the room. And, habits being habits, I always do that to this day.

I was navagating while a friend drove one day to a studio that had sent us a map. It wasn't until we reached our turn-off that I realized the map had been printed with south at the top. I got so dizzy that I almost threw up.

Winston said...

Have done similar, with similar attendant confusion.

To go you one worse, several years ago I drove from Nashville to Atlanta (5 hours) for a conference. It was not listed on the hotel's events board, the hotel did not have a record of my reservation, the lobby was almost empty rather than bustling with a few hundred attendees I expected.

I examined the conference mailings and agenda, consulted with the concierge, made a couple of phone calls. I burned about an hour before it all came together -- I had made the trip a full day early. Yes, I know that scratching my head while gazing ahead into what I'd thought was now feeling.

Trace said...

Ha! Very nice description of a warp in personal time. Wonderful...