We’re Learning That Time Is Making Us Miserable



This pandemic is making me see how schedules are being disrupted and often uprooted. My husband and I already had a strange schedule. We’re night owls. We go to sleep at around 11am and have been waking up at around 7pm. Sometimes we stay up later and regardless of the number of hours of sleep we get, we still set our alarm for 7pm. There are some days, naturally, where we say “forget it” and just shut it off and catch a few more hours of sleep. When this happens we’ll wake up later and either one or both of us will be in a panic about how “we’re running out of time” before we have to do our next “scheduled” thing. It’s ridiculous right now. We don’t have any scheduled things other than deliveries that may arrive, but that’s not every day.

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested we forget about all the alarm business. Let’s just be free right now. Sleep when we’re tired, be up when we’re up. It didn’t take long before that started making us anxious so we resumed the “schedule”. What was making us so anxious? Neither of us could put a finger on it.

It dawned on me suddenly how ingrained we are and have been since children. We go to sleep at certain times, school, work, sleep, eat, rinse, repeat. The idea of being planted at home right now causes me to feel so powerless, even though I’m a homebody anyway, and have been for some time. The best thing that can be done right now is stay home whenever possible. This can save lives. It’s so simple. And so easy, right? Then what gives?

It’s a feeling of wanting to do more. Like I have a hidden cape somewhere I can put on and go punch a virus in the face. That’s ridiculous. Not possible. It would be arrogant and dangerous to even go out and try to just “not care and be normal” and yet all I see when I dare glance at the news are people with this exact mentality. It hurts me. Makes the pain in my heart worse. How can they just “not care”?

Since our “schedule” experiment here in our home seems to lean more toward the “forget the alarms and just calm down and be” idea, we’re going to do this. We’re already restricted. The whole world is right now. So, why keep ourselves so constricted to something as meaningless as a clock right now? Sure, it’s colonization, the idea that “you must work or else”, but I do believe that humans naturally want to “do something” anyway. Or most of us do. I’m no sociologist or scientist so I can’t list any biological evidence or anything, but I do feel interested enough to look into it. Many people have all kinds of ideas about time. There’s even a phrase, “Indian Time”, in my culture. When someone’s late for something they say “Oh, I was just on Indian Time” meaning, time isn’t real. It’s just something there to keep us in place. To enslave us.

So, we’re going to chill out around here. We put our bodies through way too much by adding extra stress to it. There is no one looming over our shoulders and nagging us to “keep to the program” right now, so why are we inventing it?

I’m learning that patience truly is THE virtue. I’d rather be waiting in peace than pacing in agony.



Published by Jennifer Patino

Poet.