There was a time, long ago, before time. There was day and night. There was the wet season and the dry season. There was summer, autumn, winter and spring. And then people stopped wandering around so much and started planting stuff and building things and then they started kicking inflated goat bladders around and knocking them between posts and started keeping score and then they started having competitions between themselves and then against the neighboring village and then it got really cold and they started smacking frozen mammoth dung across a pond with sticks and pretty soon I’ve got one kid who has to be at the Penobscot Ice Arena at 5 and another kid who has to be at the Alfond at 5:30 and my wife is teaching a gentle yoga class at 6 and I don’t have any hair to pull out!
I blame the Egyptians who invented sundials and thus began to parse our days into hours. Then came the railroads and the need to have clocks that would divide those hours into minutes. And then some knuckleheads thought having clocks would be a good way of measuring how fast people and horses and trains could cover a certain distance because I guess they weren’t happy just competing against another person but wanted to race against history so we needed stop-watches with second hands and then college basketball decided they needed to know how many minutes they could stuff into .8 seconds and I still don’t know how we’re going to get one kid to his viola lesson while simultaneously teleporting the other kid to his art class while also being at rehearsal for my play while the wife is walking the dog next Tuesday!
Really, two kids, a wife, and a dog is nothing. I know a single hockey mom who has converted her mini-van into a time-space warp drive tardis complete with homework corner and a café nook in order to get her three boys and one girl to hockey, ballet, guitar, gymnastics, field hockey, soccer, hip-hop, chess, gardening, swimming and lego robotics while coordinating her global accessories empire from her iphone.
I also know a family that will have none of it. They live in a crate in the woods. They eat what they can grow or catch with their own teeth. They’re nice people but they smell a bit funny and could use a trip to the dentist. Who has time for a dentist! An hour in a chair staring up at a few slowly spinning colored shapes! Maybe if we could get a dental chair put in the warm room at Sawyer I’d have time to get this damn cavity filled. Until then, just gotta take the pain and get Jr. to his mixed-martial arts festival in Ellsworth right after I have a drone drop Big Jr. at the soccer pitch.
The wife just got jury duty. Lucky girl.
I had an hour last Thursday morning when I didn’t have to get anyone anywhere for anything. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just stood in the middle of the living room shaking slightly like a chipmunk sitting on a log always present in the knowledge that a great horned owl could swoop down at any moment and tell him he forgot to pack the water bottle for the Inflatable 5K.
Goodness Gravy! Think about the poor bastards stuck having to find ice time for twenty youth hockey teams that don’t conflict too heavily with thirty youth soccer teams and school choir nights! They get locked in storage containers for three nights with nothing but a lap-top, a gallon of hard cider, some moose jerky and a bucket until they figure it out. They emerge like half-starved beavers, a schedule clutched in bloody fingers gnawed to the bone, vowing never, never to go through that again.
The good news is that all our schedules are online now. EXCEPT THEY AREN’T! The USA Sports Engine isn’t linked up yet with the Maine State Youth Sports Processor Hub which refuses to speak to the Greater Bangor Recreational System Mapping TrackxxSlapper which does nothing but send sad little emoticons to my phone promising to get things all worked out very soon thank you very much would you like some pizza?
Yes. Yes I would like some pizza. I’ll text my order in as we’re leaving the gym and pick it up before we hit the auditorium. The kids can eat in the back since I got those plastic couch covers from my Aunt Linda installed. That single hockey mom? I hear she has her own easy-bake oven next to the GPS and a composting toilet for road trips.
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why do we ever have to be anywhere?
For those moments when time stops. For those precious spaces when breath catches and eyes light up. When an arm raises in triumph. When a smile widens. When a note hangs in the air, perfectly played.