BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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Chronology haunted him.
Each day he woke up alone, save for his dog. His first checklist was how soon he opened the second checklist. The second checklist was saying good morning to his smart speaker – when he did, it announced the time. The third checklist was all about the routine of taking out and feeding his dog. Were he half through that process before he thought to say good morning to his smart speaker he would recognize that he had failed steps one and two. If indeed he had appropriately said good morning to his smart speaker, he then must remember to ask it the correct time again when he finished with the dog. The time lapse day to day was important. During the dog routine, he would check the order in which he did things like opening the food container, picking up the food dish, filling the water bowl, walking the right direction around the yard, etc.; had he done them in the right order? Had he forgotten to track the order? Then, breakfast. He might choose to prepare any number of things, each of which had its own checklist, but coffee and meds should come first. Any step taken before the coffee failed the checklist. Did he prepare his breakfast in the right order? Did something get done before it should have? Did he forget an ingredient? Did he forget one of his meds? Did he constantly drop utensils during the preparation process, and if he did, did that make him angry, and if it made him angry did he curse? Did he prepare something then realize he’d actually intended to cook something else?
Did he ask his smart speaker for the time? How much time had lapsed?
Somehow, his tablet’s news feed required no checklist. He assumed that was because he had laid out each app in the correct order on the home screen and didn’t have to remember. That is, with the exception of the obituaries in the digital edition of the local paper. Did he remember to look at the obituaries?
On this occasion, he did. Among the names and pictures were two he recognized, guys he’d worked with decades before. The first was two years older than he and died four days ago, and the second was two years younger and died two days ago. The newspaper published the full obituary for the first, and a partial with a promise the full obituary for the second would follow in two days. He didn’t have any real feelings for either of them and hadn’t known them well or worked closely with them. They were both around his age. And they were dead. Both were dead “at home following a brief illness”.
This was not chronological. They had failed their checklists.
In the old days, he believed, a couple centuries ago and more, it was common to wake up healthy in the bright morning and contract something hideous and be dead before the sun set. Modern days, that just didn’t happen, save for accidents, which were different. Modern days, people knew months, sometimes even years before the thing that would kill them actually did, and they knew exactly what it would be. They’d pop, just as he did, a score of medicines and supplements each day to successfully keep their chronography moving, never any telling when it would end, but when it did there would be nothing ‘brief’ about it. Why did chronologies fail to follow their checklists? Why did the elapsed time he tracked vary so widely from day to day, checklist to checklist? Why had it become so hard to do things in the correct order? What was happening when his elapsed times stretched too long?
He asked his smart speaker for the time. He noted how much of it had elapsed in the time he had been thinking. It was more than he thought it should be. It was often more than he thought it should be. If time itself were not the problem, he concluded, then it must be his perception of it. His vision had long been subject to myopia. His hearing wasn’t what it once was. The passage of time, he thought, must be a sensory perception, and his must be waning. He was losing track of his checklists. He might be dead by sunset.
He asked his smart speaker, “How much time have I got,” and he waited for an answer …
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.