February 13, 2006 Monday
How do you think of time? It is linear? There’s always been one way I’ve thought of time, in terms of years, and I’d like to know how normal it is (I hope not very).
First, it is dark. Not for dramatic effect, just because I don’t know what non-time looks like. A year to me is a three-dimensional, horizontal circle, possibly made of light. Like a hoopla hoop at a rave that’s been dropped on the dirty floor. Now, go into the circle’s band. Our vantage point, now in February, is first-person. January is the slight curvature just to our left, with March just bending to our right. At the opposite side of our year-circle, we can look directly across and see August, with September to its left and July to its right. They are not labeled, are the circle is unmarked and undivided. February and March, the length of our current trip, however is flabby and long. My year-circle now has a flat.
I haven’t found myself doing much of anything the last day.
We had internet this morning for a few moments.
Never mind years or months. Or even days. This hour burns in my throat.
Time, time everywhere, and not a thought to think…
I’ve been asking other sailors if they feel that time is stuck in the ditch of the Atlantic Ocean. They readily agree. I have suggested perhaps we form a reading group, to read and discuss whatever literary materials we have on hand: a stack of Bibles, a forgotten John Updike novel The Poorhouse Fair, and the operating instructions on the back of our life vests.
Most however want to forgo the reading and just dive into a discussion, mostly about the hearts and breasts of various size left back in America. One sailor, a taut, new face named Seaman Yannick had spent his watch last night making a list of ten things he loved enough about his sweet that would keep him from Germany’s famous red lights. His own modern Ten Commandments. He might not see time in a circle as I do, but rather as a long, flat boring road, like I-80 stretching across the state of Iowa, his home. An electric threat of love, arrived to his mailbox earlier that day, had inspired Seaman Yannick. He let me see it:
I miss you more that you could know. When one realizes this, what time it saves!
That was all. Yannick was reading between the line, trying to squeeze out meaning from the unripe fruit on the page. I left Seaman Yannick to divine a meaning with enough gale force to complete the trans-Atlantic voyage, wishing him the best of luck. Becky may never have stepped foot on this ship, but her message had been force projection too, love at the barrel of a gun.