It was my understanding of physics that the phenomenon of the fourth dimension, “time” I think it’s called, is the universe’s way of preventing everything from happening at once. Of course, no matter how intelligently designed the universe may seem to some, it’s rife with flaws and imperfections (which accounts for much of its charm, like Marilyn’s mole) and gets particularly out of joint when it comes to arrangement of linear moments. That is to say, everything still happens all at once, or at least seems so in the corners of space that I frequent.
Last week, for example, everything happened at once: deadlines for three of our publications loomed (one being an undertaking so mammoth as to cause shock and awe to both our writers and, we hope, our readers). Moreover, I signed the title on the bungalow the Contessa and I just purchased, moved into said bungalow and then played a gig that very night with The Revolt at the Plaza Bistro. In the midst of this, I learned that the fine people behind the “AltWeekly Awards,” the annual, national honors bestowed by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, were kind enough to place me first, nationally, for “Food Writing/Criticism” in my category (in this case scribing screeds about wine for a paper with a “circulation of 60,000 or less”). This is heady stuff for a kid whose palate was only reformed from the maw of Shaw by som Sawyer and the Contessa this last pass and half ’round the leering Nomaville sun.
Anyway, what all of this activity amounts to is the kind of well-earned exhaustion usually reserved for returning warriors. The fact that I’m neither a warrior, nor returning from whence I came, notwithstanding I do feel entitled to a few late mornings, which I’ve tried to impress upon managing editor Tim Omarzu with little success. He’ll say he’s coming in late, which is my cue to keep my head upon the pillow for a few more hours, but, invariably, I still manage to come in later than he. Sometimes I tell Tim that I worked late, even though I we both know I left before he did. My most effective argument is that time is relative to the speed at which one is talking. And I’m a fast talking son of gun. Where I come from, it’s all about the quick and the Daedalus. I bet this is why they call me “Deadline-less” in the newsroom.
Once, during a protracted bout of adolescent insomnia (my entire sophomore year as I recall), a sleep therapist suggested that I stay up later and later until my internal clock was again synchronized with the world. However, I was 15 and a slacker, so I quit about half way around the dial and ended up nocturnal. My social life soon degenerated to knocking around with vampires and carnies. My pallor faded from my usual manzanilla green to a pale chartreuse.
I winced from the brightness of undead Raven’s Zippo. His original name, he claimed, would raise the devil if properly pronounced, but apparently not so after he traded his black trench coat for a bus tub and name tag that read “Steve.”
As Jim Croce sang “There never seems to be enough time / To do the things you want to do / Once you find them.” Indeed, if I had saved part of my sophomore year in a bottle, I’d uncork some vintage ’88 right now and unpack the boxes strewn throughout my living room before the Contessa gets home – but that’s going to happen. It’s not me, babe. It’s Einstein.