Friday, September 11, 2009

Temporal Confusion

All relationships need time to mature and become entities unto themselves. The long-term nature of many marriages allows the participants the needed time to understand one another.

Many people who have been married a long time finish one another's sentences.

Other long-time married couples just seem to know what the other is thinking.

Early in my marriage, not long after we had moved into our new house, I had the opportunity to appreciate the efficiency of communication demonstrated by those who had been married much longer.

My lovely wife, Wendy, and I had finished watching T.V. and were heading upstairs to retire for the evening. I had made it a little farther down the hall than Wendy had and I turned back to her and asked, what I thought was a simple question. I knew she could answer it because of her physical location.

Me: "What time is it?"
Wendy: "You mean now?"
Me: "No, ten minutes from now; I'll do the math."

While I knew Wendy's physical location near the kitchen afforded her the ability to tell me the time I was unaware that Wendy had a different temporal location with which I was unfamiliar.

I thought my retort was quite clever but it still left me without knowing the time. There we were, in the hallway, staring at one another waiting to see who would make the first move. It was a scene out of a western with the gun-slingers eyeing each other trying to determine when to draw.

I now realized that Wendy had a different sense of time than I. It also didn't take long for me to realize that Wendy had a different sense of humor than I because she never did tell me the time, either then or 10 minutes from then.

We were both happy knowing that in only 10 or 20 years we would have much more efficient communications and a self-awareness that others would envy.

Fast-forward to this year, 10 years into our marriage and Wendy's parents are visiting. Wendy's father wanted to watch his beloved LSU play in the college baseball world series and he asked me, "What time does the game come on T.V.?"

Me:"2:00"
Wendy's dad:"Local time?"

I had an innate sense that any reply other than "yes" would have been inappropriate and I replied thusly without any hesitation. But I couldn't help but add, "For future reference, any time coordinates I give will be local in nature unless otherwise specified."

Wendy's father, being an engineer, simply accepted my comment as a helpful fact regarding future discussions of time.

However, one of the important but difficult things in a successful relationship is knowing when to shut up. My added commentary about local time zones vs. any other frickin' time zone on the planet caused a little discussion and created an opportunity for yours truly to reflect on the nature of our temporal world. Wendy told me that the question, "local time?" did not seem at all unusual to her.

Ah-ha, there is, apparently, a genetic factor related to one's interpretation of time. Wendy and her father see time the same way, a way that was foreign to my thought process.

I've now come to accept life as continuously successive moments of now and no longer worry about the time of day. We're all happier now and will be ten minutes from now, local time or any other temporal location within which one resides.

1 comment:

Jamie Watson said...

This left me smiling at 10:22am local time.