Marking Time

Ventura Goals

How do you mark the passage of time?
I’ve used several markers. My birthday, when I was a kid, or later pretending to be. Sundays, when I went to Sunday School, then church, with my brother.
Lots of measures, as an adult in Los Angeles.
Tax Day, April 15th, ought to have been a holiday. Everyone in the inching line of cars knew, they could have dropped off their tax returns last week, earlier today, four months ago – you pick. But it’s 11:30PM and here we all are in 1998, laughing at ourselves and inching towards the large USPS bins guarded by workers fed up with us. It was so jolly I did it a couple of years. How often does such a diverse group of people stop to laugh at themselves?
Tuesdays’ Hollywood Reporter had the pages of all the shows in production. Very handy for job hunting those post production gigs I chased for a few years, before I figured out I didn’t know how to play the game.
Friday – the workingman’s goal. Launch pad for Saturday nights.
Saturday could contain my favorite thing; the fat welcome of the Sunday paper, comics section a colorful wrap around the grey text sections. Something unsportsmanlike about buying the Sunday paper on Saturday. Like opening a Christmas present early. What if something happens on Saturday, and the paper needs to fit it in? How can they, if I’ve bought my copy? Better wait until Sunday.
Sunday again, only this time it’s for dreamy day-trips in my car, to wander the coast and look at people. I used to tell friends Ventura was only one good CD away from LA. Once I’d loaded that perfect disc, the rolling hills of the 101 past Topanga topped the long descent into Oxnard. The wind filled itself with the scent of strawberries and a faint tang of Ocean – my ultimate goal. For a long time I was there every weekend and made friends with shopkeepers, who told me they rarely went down to LA. Why leave this beach town? And miss a sunset?!
These Sundays required I choose between a truffle-and-latte from Palermo, or fill myself with something scrumptious from the Natural Cafe, so I wouldn’t eat the entire bucket of popcorn during a movie. Afterward, me and new-friend treasures found in the thrift stores bombed back down the 101 to LA. If I left the top off the car, I could feel the air get hotter as I dropped into the Valley. Good Sundays.
These are different from Time when one is sick. That time is measured through windows while on one’s back – day… night… it’s day again. What day? -Who knows? Or bigger chunks – it’s Christmas, judging from the shrieks of small kids. Explosions mean it’s either the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve. Think. When did I eat last? How long have these sheets been under me?

These measures of Time don’t extend into the future. All Time truly is -Now. One Now after another. I promise myself I’ll remember this Time and what it was like, but it has other plans for itself and leaves me.


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