April 3, 2020

Time On My Paws

It’s funny how things kind of come together and connect. You know, two things seemingly unrelated just find each other in your mind and you start thinking about all the connections in a more strange and enlightened way? With all this time on my paws, I think I’m having more and more of these enlightened moments. Like yesterday…

I heard a really interesting Podcast — RadioLab: Dispatch 1: Numbers — it was eye-opening. I’ll leave it to you to listen to, but two things stuck in my head. First, it was an interesting explanation of how to wrap your head around the concept of an Exponential Curve. I won’t go into the whole thing here, but basically they asked the question,  would you rather be paid a million dollars a month for doing a job or 2 cents one day, double that the next, and double that the next (and so on and so on) for 31 days?

The thought of the million dollars is tempting, but if you pull out your calculator and hit .02 x 2, 31 times, you end up with a heck of a lot more than a million bucks. And that curve thingy, the exponential part of it all, doesn’t really happen until about 25th or 26th day. I mean, at day 15 you’ve only earned $655.36. But by day 31, you’ve got $85 million. It’s crazy.

Also on this show, they talked about how, with COVID-19, numbers are in our faces every single day, in LARGE BOLDFACE FONT. How many are being tested around the world; how many have tested positive, how many negative; and sadly, how many have died. How many face masks are needed, how many ventilators; how many supplies are being shipped from here to there; how many days you need to quarantine if exposed; how many days you are under “shelter in place orders”….the numbers just keep flying at you and how all those numbers mess with your mind; how you focus on those numbers in an obsessive, compelling way. How you can’t really stop thinking about it all and that constant barrage is exhausting.

The reporter then speculated about how our might perceptions change if those numbers were coming at us about child hunger or polar bears dying or deaths from gun accidents? Would we pay more attention? Would we become obsessed with world hunger or climate change or gun reform?

Then this morning, I was reading a post from one of my favorite writers (Lisa Knopp) who posed the question, “How has your perception of time changed?” during all of this pandemic lockdown?

And well, all of that got me thinking heavy, deep, and real thoughts.

First my mind went to the fact that I am 13 years old,  yet according to the latest dog calculators, I am 80 years old in human years. What?? How can that be? I still walk about 5-6 miles a day. I run on the beach like a puppy, playing with my dog pals. Yes, of course, I sleep soundly when I get home, but I’m not 80 years old in my head. I’m like, maybe, 40 at the most.

Then I started thinking about my G-ma who is going to be 93 in May and I think, she’s a lot like me — still active and healthy (Dog willing) and bright and alert. Of course, she’s lived through a lot more in her 93 years than I have in my 80/13, but still, the numbers/ages kind of astound me.

And then I started thinking about how, as you get older, time speeds up. One minute it’s the middle of January and then next it’s the end of October. Whoosh, just like that. One minute you’re a 3 year old puppy and then next, you’re 10 and then, 13.

So I asked G, “Why does time speed up when you get older?” She was no help, really. She just speculated, though she did say this and it got me to think even more about time and numbers, etc. She said, “Maybe we’re just empty vessels when we’re born and the more we are alive, the more experiences and emotions and memories fill our vessel and when we compare the experiences and emotions and memories of our first year of life to this current year of life there’s just so much more NOW than there was THEN that it makes time feel faster.”

Okay, it took be a bit of untangling to wrap my head around what she was saying, but maybe it’s like the exponential curve. Your life (all that you’ve lived including experiences, emotions, memories) is .02 when you start out and then it’s just like every day is a doubling calculator and you hit x2 every night and everything doubles and Whoosh! all of the sudden you find out that you’re 80 years old in human years and you need long, afternoon naps.

And then I started thinking about now, how the human days of lockdown are kind of my days in general. Not that I’m locked down, but I don’t really notice that much difference between pre-lockdown and current lockdown days. Of course, we’ve moved, so that’s different, but I still get 2 meals a day, 2-3 long walks a day, and snacks throughout. I get a massage 1-2 times a week, and a bath every week (ugh!), and love and snuggles every night while we watch a movie or a murder mystery. Only thing different is that I don’t get to visit human friends and family unless we are outside and at least 6 feet apart. I miss seeing my human friends and family, but all and all, not much has changed.

But for the humans, it’s dramatically different and time feels, for them, a weird mix of suspended stagnation and then sudden realizations that we’re out of milk or we need more dog food or we can’t finish the painting project outside because we ran out of paint or it’s raining or we’ve run out of time in the day.

Still, I’ve noticed a lack of scurrying in this household. No one is running this way or that trying to get the laundry done or pack up a lunch for a work day, or racing back in the house to make sure we’ve peed while they were away. I mean, G alone worked 7 days a week most of the time and often came home exhausted but still had to make dinner for everyone, and Momma Ann spent hours upon hours in other people’s gardens and often collapsed on the couch right before dinner just to gather her energy again.

So maybe this slowing down is a good thing.

Then again, maybe it’s not. Financially it sucks, but I’ve also noticed that both of them miss their work and their clients and I worry that Oscar and I can’t really fulfill all their needs. Of course, for the first few weeks of this whole thing, that coincided with moving to a new town and a new house, I could have sworn we were just on vacation.

But now it’s all sinking in and while I love having the humans home all the time, I worry about them and all the time they now have on their paws/hands. Is time still moving as fast as it was before? Hard to say.

As you can see/read, I have been chasing my metaphorical tail of late trying to wrap myself around the idea of time and how it’s changed in this COVID-19 Twilight Zone. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts as the days/weeks (and hopefully not months) unfold, but for now, I’m just going to take a deep breath, meditate, and send out as many loving and healthy vibes into the universe as I can until we get to the other side of this whole thing.

Hope that happens relatively quickly.

Be well everyone. Stay home. Stay safe. Wash your hands/paws!


PS — Photos from our walks around our new “neighborhood” and life in general (naps included).


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