On Time Zones

We sprang forward a couple Sundays ago and it made me think…
 
I could never live on the East Coast. I would always envy those running behind on the West Coast, folding into coats and slipping into cars, just breaking into the warm night. By then my East Coast self would be at home, having already returned from such proceedings. The events of my night would be in the past, in line to be forgotten, whereas things were only beginning on the West Coast. Waking up the next morning, I would train my eyes on the clock and think, California has a few more hours. I have lived under the rule of Pacific Standard Time for far too long to ever break free from its spell. I see dual time on every clock on the East Coast. The West Coast breezily displays just one.

 
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The Invisible Circus

“’Tomorrow they’ll be so far,’ she said. ‘And we’ll just be here, isn’t that weird?’ ― always with a wistfulness that betrayed her envy of passengers traveling through the night at high speed. It was a mystery to Phoebe, her sister’s envy; why, when she and Faith were so clearly the winners, curled in warm beds, with Grandma’s rough starched sheets pulled tight across their chests? Given a choice, who wouldn’t choose home?”
The Invisible Circus, p. 206
By Jennifer Egan
Published 1995

On Birthdays

March 12th is the most appropriate day to celebrate your birthday, a roommate used to tell me. My birthday is actually on the 13th, today. She said the focus of birthdays is all wrong, because the emphasis is to celebrate what is to come rather than what has happened. How can we jump ahead to celebrate a new, empty, yet-to-prove-itself year, rather than celebrate a year just lived? We’re too impatient to reflect, to offer thank-yous and never-agains, so instead we cross our fingers and look ahead.
 
It’s a shame, because birthdays give us an excuse to fully stretch and bask in our own lives. It’s a brief window during which you don’t have to feel as guilty for thinking largely about yourself. If you don’t feel guilty about that in the first place, I love/hate you.
 
So cheers to my 25th year. You have served me incredibly well, thank you. Although I do see plenty of room for improvement… oh, forget that roommate’s advice, on to 26. Just kidding. Kind of.
 

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