It’s never been easy to keep track of time. I know that time moves so absolutely regularly that you could — wait for it — set your watch by it, but that’s the objective truth. Subjectively, it rushes or dawdles, goes too fast when you want it to slow down, too slowly when all you want is for the stupid bell to ring.
During the pandemic, time just mushed together, each featureless day blending into the next — and then it ended, and now it seems as if all that were aeons ago. But it wasn’t. It whimpered its way out of existence what? Two years ago? It’s not a time that anybody wants to remember, so we seem to have collectively forgotten it. Wiped it from our minds. Shoved it down the memory hole. It’s surprising how odd photographs of people wearing masks look now; it used to be prudent, but now it looks somehow indiscreet.
None of this makes sense.
Nor does it make sense that now the calendar has the gall to tell us that it’s September. September! It seems barely late July. But it’s Labor Day weekend, the days are noticeably shorter, and everything is starting again. After this weekend, parking in Manhattan will be much harder to find.
(And the parking stakes have changed. Those of us with spaces in garages use them more, even when the perfect space on the street beckons beguilingly, because — fun fact! — the rat population boomed during the pandemic, and — funner fact! — rats love going inside engines and chewing on wires, which is both gross and expensive. Who knew, right?)
To be serious — and the upcoming holidays and new school year certainly call for seriousness — we are entering a new era, full of entirely unwanted firsts — the first time a former president is indicted, the first time a presidential candidate might be convicted while running, the first time since the Civil War that internal hatred and divisions have reached the heights we see now. To move over to Israel, the first time that the divisions there have been as dangerous as they are now. And in Europe, the first time since the end of World War II that hot bloody war — the result of an authoritarian leader’s need for more! more! even more!! — has so threatened the balance that was so painfully created in the rubble. And then there’s climate change, which at this point is hard to deny, as the world cooks and burns and is washed away around us.
But still, there are many joys that await us. The end of summer, the excitement of new clothes and new shoes and new foods and new teachers and new classes and new ideas. The way the light changes. The way life changes.
We hope that our readers enjoy this long weekend, gird for the faster times ahead, and prepare for the High