A few of us old-and-hope-to-get-older retired folks were talking awhile back about how easy it is to lose track of the day of the week. Without weekends to look forward to, and without multiple duties and appointments on our calendars, the days sometimes tend to run together.
More recently, during a time of mandatory closings and quarantines, it’s been more difficult than ever. Without haircut appointments, lunch outings, and church services to demarcate the separate days of the week, this day seems no different than another.
Regarding that mention of church services, I know. There are thousands of worship services available online, and I’m thankful for those. It’s a wonderful time to be alive. My wife and I have visited several churches during trips across the country and beyond, and it’s a treat to be able to drop in on them again without leaving home.
However, people can worship this way at any time and on any day of the week, and we have been able to do so through television for years. For me, it doesn’t register as being Sunday without going through my ritual of putting on a coat and tie, seeing everybody together, singing in the choir, and going out for lunch with friends. Most of the men at our church dress more casually, and that’s fine, but I still own several sport coats and suits that would otherwise never see the light of day.
I went to a retirement party where the honoree was given a special clock that had only one hand and seven points, the points being the seven days of the week. I thought it was funny, and lately, I’ve found myself wishing I had one of those.
But please, no gifts. Our household does not need another clock, or so my wife tells me.
She’s right. We have too many clocks already, and she reminds me about that twice a year when daylight-saving time begins and ends. I’ve promised myself, and her, that any new clocks I acquire will have to be replacements for clocks that break, and must have the feature that allows daylight-saving time changes to occur automatically.
Now, I’m familiar with the saying that even a broken clock is correct two times a day, but I’m a stickler for accuracy, and that holds whether it’s in reporting the news, displaying the time, or using proper grammar. I will admit, though, when you’re living in a house in which “we already have too many clocks,” this penchant for accuracy is a difficult itch to scratch. If you’ve ever tried to synchronize even two timepieces, you know what I mean. It’s more of a curse than anything.
I marvel at those who intentionally set their clocks, let’s say, 10 minutes fast as a ploy to be punctual. If I did that, I’d never forget that the clock was 10 minutes fast, and to me that defeats the purpose. What’s more, I’d have that pebble-in-the-shoe aggravation knowing that my clock is wrong.
This fixation on clocks and time is a result of restlessness, I’m sure. That, and the fact that passing the time involves a limited number of activities that fall under the category of fun, rather than that of chores needing to be done.
As days of distancing turn into weeks, I’ve grown weary of games on Facebook, of reruns on television, and of being prohibited from going inside favorite restaurants or stores. Traveling is ill-advised, and even if you risked it, there are problems in finding food and lodging. Even Big Bend National Park was shut down.
Truly, there’s no place like home in times like these. I’m just happy to have a back porch with chairs where I can watch the cats chase grasshoppers and the birds battle for seed from the feeder.
Time marches on, but perceptions of time vary. When you’re old-and-hope-to-get-older, you understand that well. I suppose I should be happy that right now, time seems to be marching in place.
Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.