Tonawanda News — The elderly, it is said, can navigate well in a world they are gradually handing off to the young, if they remember three pieces of modern lore: The world moves faster. Things cost more. Young people use foul language.
It’s the first one that hangs me (age 62) up the most. Mondays and Wednesdays feel the same, the weekends seem bunched more closely. Daylight is fleeting, but eleven to five are six hours of the day that feel like three.
Yes, I’m overscheduled, but so is everyone I know. I pity those with time on their hands, as I envy them.
Being politically liberal, I can blame society. Excuse me, Society. Garrison Keillor once properly pointed out we oldtimers, in Scotland, are required only to put on a tweed suit after dinner, visit the local pub and gripe about the government. Where I come from, there is suasion to put on a track suit, work out, serve charities, dote on grandchildren instead of the other way around, walk on the beach with some silver-haired babe, spend the money I allegedly saved up at restaurants and on recreational vehicles and generally strain to keep up.
Never mind my money. Time is the issue. The World Series, an important touchstone on my private clock and calendar, lasted just five days, and the relative lack of attention paid it by aforementioned Society reminds me of its eroding relevance to anyone but me and a few friends who, now that I think of it, make their livings in media and thus are paid to care. The end of baseball season, by personal tradition, means the start of hockey season, so ... oh, wait.
That thing on the calendar, six weeks away, comes up very quickly these days, as if it, whatever it is, is eagerly anticipated. The odd thing: people half my age say they are locked into that world-turning-faster phenomenon as well.
Even the time-stands-still moments, the eagerly anticipated presidential debates, the night of New York City’s ruinous flood, the Saturday project actually completed before Sunday, can leave one with a been-there-done-that feeling. Put a checkmark next to it, then it’s off to the next thing on the list.
Compare those matters to the mercifully concluding political campaign season. It has been interminable, and reaches its presumed crescendo this weekend. Mr. Romney has been battling the Bachmanns and Gingriches since last year (anyone remember Herman Cain?); in some states, voting has been ongoing for weeks. If the electorate wants less of it, why do candidates provide more of it? Isn’t angering voters a bad thing to do?
I can chalk my time crunch off to an inexhaustible lust for life, a ravenous style that places me, informed, erudite and knowledgeable, in the center of everything I care about. By extension, it makes me a happening and fascinating guy.
Nah. Too many things these days are like the pop music charts or the Playmate of the Month. Wait a while and someone new takes the place of someone who’s, suddenly, so 20 minutes ago. Here today ... gone today.
Time stood still in one instance, earlier this week. Tuesday, the day after the hurricane hit the coast, I ventured onto the newspaper website of the Newark Star-Ledger, in the spirit of keeping up with current events.
The website told me what New Jersey could expect in the deluge. Tuesday evening, and I was reading Sunday’s news. Right, the website had not been updated; it’s likely the newspaper did not even print, so I went looking for news and found some eerie history, the Internet version of finding an old diary in the attic.
I like to point out a person’s older years are for doing what he or she wants to do, largely since no one’s actually paying any attention to you, and nature has a built-in brake (heightened judgment, impaired movement, etc.) for the goofier stuff. If my interest is, say, jazz, how many waking hours can I devote to my appreciation of it? Even such a relatively small slice of human endeavor is developing too quickly to corral it and drink it in.
Yeah, drink it in. That’s what I’ll do, let it wash over me like a hurricane on 19th Street. Think of time not as particles, discrete moments available for listening to Miles Davis or running to the dry cleaner, but as a wave. And I’m on it, or under it, or something.
I’ll try that next week, as we enter our fourth or so day of wondering who we chose on Election Day (there’ll be challenges, you can bet on it). If I become the master of time, I’ll let you know and let you know how, but I’ll take my time doing it.
Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.