time . . .

sands of time


What is time, really? When we sleep and go into that dark corridor  of unawareness, that lapse of consciousness that we can’t account for, it’s that place that we equate with tomorrow.

Today is here, and to dream of yesterday only brings us a moment closer to death. Time is just a stamp—nothing more, nothing less; because we can’t measure it, even with clocks, even with the appointments that we must keep; because we are forever going in and out of reality just by our constant daydreaming. Our memories serve us well. They allow us to travel back to those places where we messed up, where we fought with friends and loved ones—the people who’ve hurt us beyond repair; to those places where we once had love, where we could see ourselves back by the shimmering ocean, holding hands with the love of our lives, recounting each spoken word, and feeling the feeling that only that deep memory could bring. Time is where we could conjure up feelings that belong to another and pretend that those feelings are toward us. Time is fickle. It affords us our inspirations, giving us false hope, and then takes it away the second we turn our attention back to the now.

If we take away our sleep and remain awake, would we’d be able to say the words yesterday, today, or tomorrow?   Time is a made up event that justifies what we can’t explain, to give us the chance of changing our paths, to give us hope that there is something to cling on to. Does a person who dreams of tomorrow exist only in today? How could he? If his attention is on what he’ll achieve then he isn’t living in the now, so he must be living in the future. But one would argue that his physical body is in the present, despite that his consciousness is somewhere else. So how do we determine time when we’re constantly exploring the past and the future?

But what if we lived in a place where every single idea we had instantly manifested as an event, and what if all these ideas and dreams were just hanging out, together at once? What if our thoughts of the past, and of today, and of tomorrow manifested at the same time and suddenly everything we ever wanted and dreamed of, the good and the bad, happened right before our eyes, just waiting for us to choose which we’ll focus on first? What if that was to happen? 

Time is the place that feeds our dreams. It’s the place where we venture back, recalling moments of loved ones lost, of the laughter and joy that their precious attachment gave us. It’s a place where nobody else but you can go. Nobody can take it away from us. The young are naïve; they think of time as never ending, until time creeps up on them and makes them frightfully aware that their time is about to end. It gives the young girl visions and thrills and gives the old woman the fear of what the next day brings. Time is an enigma, elusive and unforgettable, yet tangible and scary, something we think about every second of our lives.

When will you come visit me? the mother says to her grown child. The ‘when’ is the heartbreak. It’s the thought that maybe it won’t come to pass. When will I get that raise or when will I find love? The when is the part of the equation that we fear the most, yet hold on to for dear life. It’s the ‘when’ that we live for, that we aspire to, that we won’t ever let go of.

Time makes lovers laugh, the aged cry, the hopeless beg, and the unloved wishing for just one moment of happiness. It’s a ghost of our fears and the comfort of our dreams, fleeting endlessly, to get us to create more.


when to admit that you’re no longer cool

Something very scary happened to me the other day, and I feel that it definitely deserves mentioning. While adventuring through the town of East Hampton, New York, I heard a loud, “Val? Val deFrancis?”
I swiveled my head in ten directions and then I spotted a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years, who had gotten married and moved away. As we hurried toward each other, laughing and screaming like a bunch of valley girls, two really, really, I mean really, hot guys walk past us. With one eye on them and the other on my friend, we embraced and jumped up and down as we jibbered our hellos.

“Oh my God, it’s been forever. How the hell are you?” she says.

“I’m doing great,” I say, “and you? Gosh, I cannot believe that I’m seeing you here. Are you alone? Where’s the hub?”

“No, I’m with my twin boys.”

I could actually feel my eyes stretching beyond their normal limits. “You had twins? And you never called to tell me?”

“I know, I know. I’m so bad. What can I say? Life just got in the way. Forgive me?”

“Yeah, I forgive you. It did the same for me too. So, where are your boys? Is Josh watching them?” Josh is her husband.

She waves her hand at me and laughs. “No, silly. They’re over by Babette’s. I’ll call them over.”

I turn to see where she’s looking, and I turn back. “Where?”  I’m expecting to see two little boys with their nanny or grandmother or something.

“Right there”, she says, pointing her finger. “I’ll call them over.  Cody? John?”

Remember those two hot guys that I mentioned earlier? Well they’re walking across the street and heading directly toward us. They’re now in front of me. “Val, these are my boys. This is Cody and this is John.”

Okay. This is where I have to stop. Did you ever have something so embarrassing happen that you knew your embarrassment was giving you away? I could feel my face getting really red, as though they could read my mind. These guys were so hot that warning signs should have been tattooed on their foreheads.

“Hey,” they both say in perfect unison. They’re twins, remember?

“Hey, nice to meet you,” I try to say casually.

Then one of them gets a thought. “Hey, Mom, isn’t she the one who was in those pictures you showed us a few weeks ago?”

My eyes shoot a beam of WTF into her face. “Pictures? Which ones, Donna?”

He answers for her. “She took out pictures from when you guys used to go clubbin’. Man, you used to wear your hair really high. How’dja get it to stay up like that?” His gorgeous twin laughs.

“Let’s just say that Tresemme stayed in business because of me . . . and her.” I used my head to point to his mother.

“Tresemme?” he asks, totally clueless.

Donna and I just rolled our eyes.

After exchanging a few more words, we exchange cell numbers and went on our not-so-merry ways.

Okay. I explained this to you because this little episode had an impact on me. Later that night, after coming out of a restaurant, I get the urge to call Donna. She answers the phone all bubbly. I suppose she knew it was me; caller ID. “What are you doing now?” she wails into the phone.

“Nothing, that’s why I’m calling you. Feel like company?”

“Yes, yes! Come over. I’ll make drinks and we can look at pictures and . . .”

The rest is history. After leaving Donna’s that night, I did a lot of thinking. And when Vallie thinks too much, it’s not good. I want to know one thing. When the hell did I get old? When did it happen? I used to be young, adorable, and so freakin’ cool. Did I fall asleep under a tree for a century?

Looking at Donna’s pictures, and seeing how high I wore my hair, and how freaky I used to dress, brought back so many great memories. Where did those days go? Back in my day, the song 1999, by Prince, was numero uno on the charts, and my friends and I used to say to each other, “Shit, could you imagine the year 1999? What the hell would it be like?”

And now it’s pushing into 2011! Good grief? But here’s the thing. I don’t feel old. I don’t look old. I don’t dress old. I don’t think old . . . or do I?

How do you know you’re getting, let’s say . . . mature?

1)      When you hear thumping rap music coming from the car next to you and you close your window because you find it totally annoying.

2)      When you fall asleep during Grey’s Anatomy, and it just started.

3)      When you keep referring to your younger years as ‘back in the day’.

4)      When you really dig hearing an oldie come on the radio and you crank it up.

5)      When you incorporate prunes and apples and wheat germ into your diet to keep ‘regular’.

6)      When you wear a hat, a scarf, boots, and a long quilted down coat and it’s only 50 degrees outside.

7)      When you watch someone twenty years younger than you make the same mistake that you’ve already made a hundred times and know they’re really going to pay for it.

8)      When the trip to the dentist requires taking full mouth impressions.

9)      When you’re told it’s almost time for a colonoscopy.

Guys, when did I get old? Or, is it that I’m just getting better? Oh, and one more thing; Sunsweet Pitted Prunes really do work. Just sayin’.

a senior moment

“Where did I put my pen?” I yell, as I start rummaging through my desk. “I had it right here–right next to my phone, and now I can’t find it. This is impossible. Where did it go?”

My best friend, whose name will remain anonymous, stood next to me with her arms folded, shaking her head.

“Ah, Val, it’s behind your ear.”

I put my hands to my head and feel around, and then I pull it out and stare at it. “Man, I can’t believe that I left it behind my ear. I’m losing it.”

My friend just shrugs. “Yeah, well, you better not lose it too much or you’ll end up with a head full of pens, looking like Medusa.”

I start to laugh. “That would be hilarious. Can you imagine the looks I’d get if I walked into Waldbaums with a dozen pens sticking out of my hair?”

My friend starts cracking up. “I’d pay to see that.”

I give her a sideglance. “Yeah, how much?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. It depends. Wouldja really do it?”

“Heck yeah. If you pay me enough, I’ll do it. If anyone says anything to me, I’ll tell them that I was having a senior moment.”

“A senior moment?” she says, quite loudly. “With a dozen pens in your hair it would be more like a psychotic moment. They’d have to throw a net over you.”

I shake my head and walk over to the coffee pot and begin to fill it with water. “You want coffee? I’m making it,” I say to her.

“Yes, would love some. So anyway, wouldja really walk into Waldbaums with a dozen pens in your hair?”

I open the cabinet and take down two mugs. “As a joke, I would. It’s not like it would be the first time that I’ve been caught in an embarrassing situation.” I hit the start button on the coffee pot.

“Remember that time I took the bus home from the city . . . and when I got in front of my house my car was gone?”

She burst into hysterics. “Only you could forget that you drove to work and then report your car as stolen.”

“Yeah, the cop didn’t think it was so funny.”

The coffee was almost done brewing. I walked over to it. “Gee, I don’t smell coffee. Do you?”

She lifts her nose into the air and takes a whiff. “No, I don’t smell it either.”

We just stare at each other. “Vallie, did you put the coffee in the filter?”

I shake my head and roll my eyes.
The brewing had finished. I open the lid to the stainless steel carafe and hold my breath. Yep! Hot water.

“So. How do you feel about having tea?”

It was just another one of those senior moments. You know the kind. Like the time you took out the milk to pour in your coffee only you didn’t make coffee. And what about the time when you jumped out of bed to go to work and it was a Saturday? And let’s not forget about the time you took the bus home from work when you drove in that day? I know you know these moments. I know I have. Seriously guys, the pen behind the ear was nothing compared to what I did a few days ago.

Here I was, leaving Costco, and walking to my car. I don’t know what I was thinking but I opened the door to someone else’s car and got in. The lady sitting in the passenger seat started to scream. She scared the S$$t out of me.
“Oh, gosh, lady I’m sooo sorry. I’m not going to carjack you,” I said, trying to calm her down.

“What do you want?” she stammered.

“I got in the wrong car, lady. There’s my car, over there.” I point to it.

“Well, the next time you have to be careful,” she says.

I purse my lips. “Yes, I will be more careful, and so should you.”

“Me? And how do you figure that?” she says defiantly.

“Your door wasn’t locked. Had it been, I wouldn’t have been able to get in the car.”

We just stare at each other.

“Well, I’m going. It was a pleasure talking to you.”

“Okay, bye now. It was nice talking to you too.”

I walk to my car and shake my head. I need to start taking fish oil.