Right with the World

A pain in the neck. Literally. I must have been in an awkward position while I slept. The moment I began to wake, the pain in left side of my neck grabbed my attention. Hard. Like a grip powered by heavy-duty hydraulics. And my lower back—the knots of muscle at the base, on both sides—are brutally tender. The twenty-five minutes since I climbed out of bed have delivered no reduction in the pain. I suppose I should tiptoe back into the bedroom, sneak into the bathroom, and take a couple of Motrin tablets. Over-the-counter painkillers will, I hope, interrupt the discomfort, but I would rather take much stronger, faster-acting prescription pain medications. I am keeping those, though, for that time (which, I hope, will be far, far into the misty future) when I may need assistance in going gentle into that good night. In the meantime, I will slide through the bedroom into the bathroom, swallow two tablets, and wait for the painkillers to kick in. I should have taken the analgesic the minute I woke up, but I suppose I was in a daze. Analgesic? Why did I select that word, when simpler ones would do? To massage and exercise my stiffening brain, I suppose.


Even though I continue to write about food from time to time…and even though I express deep appreciation for foods’ flavors and textures, my passion seems to be fading. “Fading” does not adequately describe the speed and extent of the decline in my affection for food. I still enjoy many foods, but the pleasure they deliver is not as intense as it once was. I no longer start to crave certain foods the moment I think about or hear about or see them. It’s not just the dramatic reduction in my passion for consuming foods; my interest in preparing them has plummeted, like a heavy stone dropped into a still pond. Perhaps my lust for all manner of exotic foods will return. Perhaps the disappearance of my gastronomic zeal will right itself in the near-term. Or, maybe, something in my brain triggered a permanent change in me. Maybe I have become one of those people I have labeled “boring” (when I’m being charitable) because they do not seem to understand the thrill of experiencing new flavors and the joy of savoring the taste of old reliable stand-by dishes.

This decline in interest, though not really precipitous, is surprising and a little alarming. Foods and flavors have been among my core passions for as long as I remember. I can imagine only a few experiences that could, conceivably, fill the gap. Only rarely have I had sensations could rival the ones I felt when enjoying particularly tasty foods with especially satisfying tastes and textures. This reduction in appreciation is leaving an emptiness that feels cold and unfriendly. I do not like it.


I did not turn clocks back one hour last night, despite numerous admonitions to do so. My notebook computer and my smart phone adjusted the time, without any help from me. The bedside clock and the clocks on the oven and the microwave remain in another dimension of time. I think both devices were manufactured shortly after the advent of the sundial. I suspect there are other clocks in the house that might need assistance in making the transition to a new timeframe. Perhaps the cars, too, require intervention to become consistent with the new reality we created by modifying time in the wee hours of the morning. Eventually, all the clocks will have found their new equilibrium. Yet in roughly six months, we’ll put them through the same troubling exercise.


I read an article about how language impacts a person’s thinking about time and space. Because it’s a rather long and involved article, I will not attempt to summarize it here. Instead, I’ll just provide this link and encourage interested readers to click on it to pursue a truly interested read.


It’s nearing 6:00 a.m. in this new incarnation of time. The earlier approach of dawn will take some getting used to. But I will get used to it. And all will be right with the world.

About John Swinburn

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