Captain Mom’s Log: Week 8: Day 53

Time has slowed. Molasses Minutes stretch and I acutely remember what it was like being a child. The top three slowest moments of my life resurface. And linger.

The Molasses Minutes of 1986 
Standing in the Eternal Line at the Post Office. 

The rope that separates customers is blue and soft. Velvet, like my favorite fancy red dress that I can only wear on Christmas. I hope to stop growing so I can wear it every year. Except I also want to keep growing so I can be taller than Mom. 
"Stop playing with the rope," Mom fusses. 
It clangs when I give it a push. The vibration shoots up the rope to the copper metal clip that holds the rope to the metal pole. Clang.
"Stop it."
Mom looks around at the other customers.
"How much longer?" I ask.
"Five minutes," she says. "At most ten."
I look at the giant clock on the wall. It has already been ten minutes. I watch the red second hand pass the 8. Two, three, four, five. The 9. Two, three, four, five. 
I start jumping and wiggling to the beat of the second hand.
"Stop jumping, you'll bump into people."
The second hand is going past the 10, two, three, four, five. 
The man in front of us is bald. I can see wisps of hairs sticking out here and there. They look lonely. 
"Don’t stare at strangers." 
The second hand rounds the 12, two, three, four, five. 
"But five or ten minutes is too long!" I wail.
"Look, see, we are moving. It will go by in no time," Mom assures me.
We inch up one customer length. We are finally next to the copper metal clip. It tastes sharp, like how money smells. It's cold on my tongue. 
"Eyuchk! Don’t put your mouth on that! There are tons of germs on it. Don't EVER put your mouth on public things." 
The second hand makes it past the 6, two, three, four, five. The 7, two, three, four, five. It's finally back on the 8. Only one minute has passed. I am not going to make it.
"My feet hurt," I whine. 
Mom hands me her notepad and pen. I squeal. I love the way the Bic ballpoint smells. I can taste it through my nose. I use my finger tip to try and make the ball move, but it only makes lines on my fingers. I make squiggles and dots on the paper. Next I try people that don't look much like real people. I scribble them out because they're no good. I go back to the dots and squiggles. I glance at the clock. The second hand is back on 7 again.
"How many minutes now?"
"Probably 10."
"But that's what you said before!"
"Don't pay attention to the time, it will go by fast. Then when you are old like me, it will zip by too quickly. Enjoy time being slow," Mom says.
She is wise.

Little Me is back now and in 2020, disguised inside Older Me's body. Watching the second hand. Two minutes before my reading lesson. I stare at the clock. One minute and 50 seconds before human contact! I hope my students can make it today. Attendance is spotty in our new world. I twirl in my chair. Smooth down the knock-off post-it notes that don't stick. That was a regrettable online purchase. One minute and 42 seconds. I think about what I'll teach. Bossy R. R-controlled vowels. Why don't they use kid-friendly language? One minute and 35 seconds. Chief Mate's math question from yesterday instructed, "write a repeated addition sentence for the array." Surely there is a better way to say it. I mean, the kids understand what they are doing. One minute and 27 seconds. Maybe it I just want the 2nd grade assignments to use parent-friendly vocabulary. One minute and 25 seconds. Impatient Little Me wishes there was velvet to play with. I have paper and could doodle, but I might lose track of time and miss the meeting entirely. One minute and 12 seconds. I try to enjoy "slow." But the minutes waiting for the zoom to begin suck the life force out of me. I know I should enjoy "slow." But there is so much yet unknown. Perhaps one day I'll be able to smell of the flowers and enjoy the seconds that feel like forevers. Good and bad days ebb and flow. Today is not bad. 

As for The Molasses Minutes of 1989, you will have to wait until tomorrow...



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