Control and Time and Circumstance

I control an incredibly small section of a tiny slice of an almost impossibly minuscule fragment of a microscopic piece of the universe. My control is equivalent to the power over the gravitational pull of the sun possessed by a one-hundred billionth segment of an organism barely visible through the most powerful electron microscope. But that power is absolute, within tightly defined infinitesimal parameters. In other words, the power I possess is insufficient to cause a tiny, almost imperceptible, movement of the hair on a gnat’s back by a micro-fraction of a Planck Length.

But I behave as if my power were as expansive as the sky; as boundless as the edges of the most distant galaxies. Because I know no better. None of us do. So we claim powers we do not have because…power. Power, we seem to believe, equates to redemptive capacity. We have the power to redeem even the most irredeemable among us. Which, of course, is absolute nonsense. Some of us are too stupid to warrant wasting the air we breathe. Some of us are too dull to be allowed to continue consuming water than could go to a more deserving cause, like quenching the thirst of a long-dead cactus, shriveled on the surface of a desert so hot no human being could ever hope to live there. But we continue to allow breathing and consumption of water. Because. Just because.

And with that, I welcome everyone to the ninth Saturday of the two thousand twenty-first year. Our artificial measure of time based on events that took place long after the formation of the planet on which we live, not on a sequence that began with that formation. No matter, it would all be artificial. I like the definition adopted by an online dictionary:

“the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.”

An arcane explanation of a concept impossible to grasp except in the most elementary terms. “Time” for us Earthlings is an abbreviation for a sequence that relies on the relationship between the movement of the Earth and the Sun.

In fact, though, time is not so mysterious. It is what allows us to understand our experiences. Without time to serve as a guidepost, we would be lost. Even though we don’t fully understand time, we are in love with it, even in instances we want it to stop. As in situations such as the one I will mention briefly in a moment.


I had a delightful afternoon yesterday, the sort of experience I wish I could have every day. It was full of the kinds of casual interactions with a friend that weave a relationship made from threads of friendship and love. My friend came to my house and we sat and talked the entire time she was here. I haven’t laughed so much and so freely in a long time. I haven’t felt so utterly at ease for so long it is impossible for me to remember the last time. Those few hours made me feel relaxed and comfortable with myself and the world around me. But now the absence of that sense of deep comfort has dissipated; I will have to wait until the next time to feel so comfortable with and close to someone.


Tonight, I’ll have neighbors over for dinner that I will buy at La Dolce Vita, an Italian restaurant nearby. I’ve already arranged for three orders of eggplant parmesan, along with side salads. In a short while, I’ll go to the liquor store to buy a large bottle of their “go-to” wine. These people are neighbors who have invited me over many times for dinner. They did it again, but I suggested it was my turn to treat them; fortunately, they were happy to accept. There’s really not much I need to do in preparation, other than straighten up a bit and pick up the dinners. As much as I enjoy cooking, lately I’ve not felt much like getting into it. Maybe my attitude will change as I start to see evidence of Spring.


Yesterday, I arranged to go. on Monday, to retrieve the contents of the 2002 Camry and pick up a check in payment for its purchase. I’ll sign the title over to the new owner, go deposit the check, and mark that task off my to-do list. I went to the garage late yesterday morning, where I was to meet the former potential buyer of the car to discuss the matter with the business owner. He was not there, but it all got resolved later. Inasmuch as it was around lunchtime, the former potential buyer of the Camry mentioned that she was in the mood for barbecue at Clampit’s. I invited myself to join her. We sat and talked over lunch for an hour or so. She is interesting and energetic and very intelligent. It was a nice opportunity to relax and learn some intriguing facts about a person I did not know much about.


Despite my social calendar of late, I am not a “social butterfly.” It just happens I’ve been much more social in the past few days than ever before. As much as I enjoy these interactions, I find they tire me out, especially with people with whom I am not extremely close. Which is, of course, most people. Yesterday afternoon was the exception.


I got up very late this morning. Though I awoke around 5, I went back to bed and slept until almost 7. When I got up, I was slow to get going. By the time I had made my first cup of coffee, my sister-in-law called to suggest we have coffee after she had breakfast and got dressed. She came over and we chatted for a while, then played several games of Words with Friends. It’s now about 11, five hours after I dragged myself out of bed. I have yet to shower and shave. That’s my next “chore.” Then, it’s off to Cork & Bottle for the wine. Even though time is a mysterious thing, I can feel it passing, so I better get to work.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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