You know. The stuff no one seems to have and everyone seems to want. The same “everyones” who devote hours each day to cellphone texting, social network chatting, and TV-remote clicking.
I would make fun of these individuals, but who am I to talk (er… write)? I’m as bad as the next guy.
As a teacher, I know this all too well. Last weekend was a perfect example. As I wrote, it was Saturday and we were experiencing the first measurable snowfall of winter. When I walked my dog early that morning, he celebrated by leaping and burrowing like some four-legged Buddhist communing with the moment. Then I celebrated, too, by enjoying my home’s new insulation, grinding French roast coffee beans, and brewing four cups for leisurely sipping.
This on “one of those weekends.” If you teach, you know the kind. Ones where you have to create a new cumulative vocabulary quiz. Ones where you have to read and comment on four class sets of essays. Ones, in other words, where your Saturday is held hostage and, if you blow it by doing nothing, your Sunday will be held at gunpoint.
There’s something about time, though. From the spacious vantage point of a Saturday morning, you feel not only rich, but generous. So you reward yourself with more time, the same stuff you squander and insult by insisting there’s precious little of it.
When I woke up that day, I vowed to take care of the vocabulary quiz ipso fasto (Latin for “right away, if not sooner”). But first I checked e-mail. You never know when an acquaintance might choose late Friday night to renew acquaintances, after all.
With my inbox emptied, I finally moved on to the papers. Student papers? No, no, silly. Online papers. Erudite ones like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly.
On The Boston Globe, I even left comments about things I didn’t care about: an interview of Mr. Excitement, John Henry; the 573rd article (in a week!) about deflated footballs; the dreaded feature on upcoming snowstorms that would finish New York City but good (Godzilla was booked).
Then I visited Twitter. I don’t even like Twitter. Confine myself to 140 characters, as if I’m a Dickens novel or something? Not my style, typically. But that morning, for reasons unspoken, yes. I was there. Reading vapid tweets. And why? Because they went down like M&Ms — somewhere between quick- and –ly, with zero nutritional value.
I even tweeted six times myself. After all, I had time, the same stuff that breaks Newton’s laws by gaining momentum of its own accord as I age (and I do – very nicely, thank you).
After the Internet ruse, I ventured to the kitchen. Ah, the weekend. The one time when you have time to cook breakfast: bacon, western omelet, granola-capped yogurt, even freshly-squeezed orange juice (it takes longer).
The next thing I knew, the dog’s wet nose was pressing against my ankle. Noon, already! Time to go out again! But the wintry landscape looked so cold. And my pile of schoolwork — still on the dining room table, where I placed it Friday afternoon — looked colder still.
Time, after all, waits for no one – except me. At least on weekends when making time for no time is raised to an art form. I should know. It’s Friday night and time waits for no one again — except me, the guy with four new sets of papers to read.