Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26: The Clock, an Icicle, Dislocation of Time

To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven, and from seven to eight, and regularly up to twelve; then stopped.  Twelve!  It was past two when he went to bed.  The clock was wrong.  An icicle must have got into the works.  Twelve!

This little paragraph highlights something that has always fascinated me about A Christmas Carol.  There seems to be some sort of dislocation of time that happens throughout the course of the novel.  When Jacob Marley predicts the arrival of the three Ghosts of Christmas to Scrooge, Marley says that the phantoms will appear on three consecutive nights.  The first at one o'clock in the morning on the following night, the second on the next night at one o'clock again, and the third at midnight on the third night.  When Scrooge wakes up for the Ghost of Christmas Past, he becomes completely disoriented with time because it appears he has slept through an entire day into the night.

This time warp never gets that much attention from anybody.  Readers prefer to focus on the more ghostly elements of the story.  Time warps are the thing of science fiction and fantasy.  Scrooge is not Luke Skywalker or James T. Kirk.  He's a Victorian businessman who happens to have fallen into some kind of wormhole of the space/time continuum, past and present and future coexisting in one place.  Even the twelve nights of Christmas are compressed into a single evening by the Ghost of Christmas Present.

This time dislocation happens to most of us.  I have reached that point in the summer where I look at the calendar and say, "Where the hell has the summer gone?"  Time seems to fly by like a hungry bat chasing a mosquito.  Fall is looming, and I haven't even had my summer vacation yet.  I'm not ready for the leaves to start changing color, but in a few weeks, the green maples will start transitioning to yellow.  Time is passing.  Pretty soon, the Christmas holidays will be upon us again.

I'm particularly aware of the passage of time this summer because of my eleven-year-old daughter who seems to have blossomed into this young lady overnight.  She's still goofy.  She still watches cartoons and the Disney Channel, but in the last few months, she has become willowy and beautiful.  She doesn't sit in a chair anymore.  She lounges.  And she has a friend, who's a boy, who follows her around like Lassie followed Timmy.

I'm experiencing a dislocation of time.  I'm still in May, and it's almost the end of July.  In my mind, my daughter is still three-years-old, sitting in my lap while I read Charlotte's Web to her.  She's actually eleven-going-on-twenty and is starting middle school this fall.  I'm still in the 1980s, when I thought Cyndi Lauper was cooler than Madonna and mullets were never going out of style.  That's how behind-the-times I am.

Saint Marty needs to join the present. or he's never going to make it to the future.  Ahead warp factor five, Mr. Sulu.

Not too fast, Mr. Sulu

No comments:

Post a Comment