Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tempus Fugit

Another Jason guest blurb. Changing the hours so many times is surreal.

Dawn is an hour late. Or an hour early. Night falls while you're having your afternoon nap. There aren't enough hours to work and sleep and socialize, so you drop the second. And one magical time, you repeat a day entirely.

This is the Pacific crossing.

Tempus fugit is Latin; its literally meaning is time flies. But as a phenomenon, it is applied to all manner of time distortions. Your line at the supermarket will always be the slowest one? That's an example. A movie seen the first time seems longer than the second time? That's another. Those five awkward minutes you spend waiting for your date to be ready? Yet another. And the crossing eastward of the world's largest ocean is the biggest of them all.

Westward is easy. Every couple days you gain an hour, so that you get more sleep, or take a long lunch, or spend that extra time looting other peoples' I-tunes. A day vanishes entirely, which would be odd, especially if (as is almost surely the case on a large ship) it was someone's birthday. But it's not such a big deal. A cakewalk.

We, instead, are a ship that's sleep deprived, aching and tired, wondering what the hell hit us. It can't be those little time changes, can it? Oh, and we get that extra day, but do we spend those lost hours, now regained, in rest? No, it's just another day. Great for the one girl whose birthday it is, but sucks for the rest of us.

So time flies, and we get carried along with it. Sometime, probably around the 10th or 12th of December, we'll start to feel a little more normal again. But feeling normal means going back to the real world, and if that's the case, I'm ready for a bigger ocean. But could we just sail north and south next time, please?

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