Experiencing a Time Drought?

Yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner, I was listening to folks – both young and old – comment about the passage of time.  Comments began with the usual, “It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen you!” and moved to observations as we were taking our dinner seats about who now gets to sit at the “kids’ table” in the other room.  My 29-year old niece wonderingly looked at the kids’ table, and, seeing it filled, concluded that she no longer belonged there.  She pumped her fist in the air: she had arrived!

Even I pondered, as I took a place at the largest table in the home, “Should I sit here?  Will I be asked to move, or will others who do belong here look at me askance and wonder why I felt I could intrude on the big people’s table?”  Preoccupied with her solitary musings, the little girl inside me barely noticed the big girl moving forward with Reality:

Get real!  I am less than a month from my 46th birthday!  I damn well earned the right to sit here!  Through graduating college, marriage, the birth of three children, personal dissatisfaction, professional satisfaction, divorce, bankruptcy, personal satisfaction, professional dissatisfaction, starting a new business, new relationships… I EARNED a place at that table!  Hell, I could even drink coffee at it if I wanted to, and no one would question me for a second!

Yet my certainty was fraught with misgivings.

What if others disagreed?  What if what I viewed as growth, they viewed as immaturity?
Worse yet, what if my placement at that table moved SOMEONE ELSE OFF of it?

Surely enough, that is what happened. Anguish. My 81 year old father and his sister in her 70s were seated at a small side table immediately behind me. Damn.  They took the seat I should have taken.

The little girl inside of me fantasizes that if I never were to move away from the kids’ table, my father would never have to move away from the big people’s table.  And he would live forever.  I could, in effect, keep my father alive and here on this earth if only I knew my place.  If only I had done what I was supposed to have done, rather than thinking I was too big for my britches.

The irony of it all?  You know there always has to be some…

After dinner, the kids asked if I wanted to play cards with them – at the kids’ table!   “HA!” I thought.  “I am so versatile, so universal, so adaptable – I actually BELONG at any table I desire!” My son asked me to shuffle the cards while he went to get something to drink.  Happily shuffling away – proud of how well I can still manipulate a card bridge while doing so – I looked up to see my 19 year-old son returning with a hot, steaming cup of…  COFFEE???!!  (When the hell did he start drinking coffee?  Did he ask me if he could?  Did he ask anyone?  What would my father say if he saw this?”) My smugness evaporating, I suddenly became aware of the lack of space at the kids’ table, and how little elbow room there was.  All of a sudden it wasn’t very comfortable, and – what the hell – when did my ass get too big for this stupid folding chair??!

I have been summarily and permanently moved from the kids’ table.  Holiday dominoes, let’s call it.

Looking back over yesterday’s minutiae, I wonder… does my father have the same misgivings I have about time?  Does everyone?  Will my son experience it?  What about my daughters?  Is it just as slippery and sickening for other people?

Here is a poem I wrote in January of 2008 – almost two years ago (wow!) – about the lack of sufficient time I feel.

Time Drought
by Casey A. South
1.16.08 @11:58 pm

Slipping, slinking, seeping away,
Through the cracks of our every day…
Dampening our months,
Drowning our years,
Silencing tongues,
Sharpening fears.

My heart beats faster as I consider my state:
Always – my calendar on the wrong date!
Lessons untaught, opportunities lost…
Being too damn busy, not knowing the cost.
Priorities skewed, resources squandered…
Energy usurped by feud here and yonder.
Events unlived yield memories unconcieved…
I’ll get to it later, I always believed.

Waves of regret creep up from behind,
Their shadows overcome me: pressure unkind…
Infiltrate my skin, my muscles and bones.
Suddenly – I’m soaked.
Chilled and alone.
Creative Commons License
Time Drought by Casey A. South is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at pinchingbubblewrap@gmail.com.

Depression Regression

What a beautiful autumn we have experienced this 2009!  The leaves have delighted my eyes with their colors,  the vibrant tastes of honey crisp apples and the sweet yet smoky smell from making apple butter out over the open fire in the copper kettle… every moment teased my attention.  The weather has truly been sublime as my skin is touched by rays of autumn sun.  Seventy degrees never felt finer!

Yet I fall deeper into the abyss of depression.

It’s nothing new really.

Yet it’s different.

More ironic.

Why me?

Why now?

Now is when things should be looking up.  When things should be easier.  When things should be simpler they have been in the last ten years.  My oldest child is a freshman in college with a clear career goal and the desire to achieve it.  He has grown into a fine young man of whom I am proud.  My two daughters are both here at the high school with me, and they seem to be developing into productive citizens also.  Sure, I could use more money and more time to grease the wheels of living, but who couldn’t?

But it’s all different lately…  I am like a scratch and sniff sticker of emotion! Don’t get near me with a coin.  I weep at the slightest touch.

I fight my personal darkness at every corner, every turn, nearly every breath these days.  The twisted logic of the completely illogical stuns my resolve to stay healthy and resist the undertow of depression.  I am caught in a riptide of emotion, just as I was so many years earlier in the Pacific on my honeymoon in Hawaii.  We were young, dumb, singularly focused and foolishly complacent about the strength of the seemingly docile waters around the islands.  We had two rented body boards and each other, but we were no match for Mother Nature.  Surreptitiously she drew us away from the shore, and by the time we realized we were out of energy, the shore had slipped away from us.  Almost powerless felt we to return to it safely.
Back then it was water.  Now it is more murky and even stronger than the forces of gravity I struggled against  in 1988.

Here is today’s poem, one that I wrote nearly ten years ago…

Read it forwards.  Then it goes backwards.  Just like depression.

“Depression Regression”
By Casey A. South
Deep black sinking feeling seeping,
Pervading, filling, overflowing
Writing, talking, masking, faking,
Tonic sleep, hunger exercise
Wake, work, laugh, love.
Lifts, dissipates, evaporates
Evaporates, dissipates, lifts.
Love laugh, work wake.
Exercise hunger, sleep tonic.
Faking, masking, talking, writing
Overflowing, filling, pervading
Seeping feeling sinking black deep

Creative Commons License
Depression Regression by Casey A. South is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at pinchingbubblewrap@gmail.com.