Daylight Savings

We bought our DVD player before Daylight Savings Time (DST) was pushed forward and backward last year. So it caused some serious consternation in the household this morning when a glance at the DVD clock indicated my husband was seriously late for a gig. After a yelped curse and some frantic scrambling for socks and shoes, we figured out the slip of time. Our DVD was hardwired to the old DST. Crisis averted.

But it did get me thinking about “how time flies.” How the hours slide by without us much noticing, until we look at the clock and discover it’s far later than we thought. And we wonder what we were so damn busy paying attention to while time flowed by.

In July 2006, my dad sent me this poem he wrote. Although I think it’s even better described as a short story. Give it a read. Then turn the clocks back and take a look around.

Accouterments of a Life

Whether returning home to the stillness of now silent rooms

from a frenzied rush to the Vet to end the suffering of a long-time companion, or returning from the graveside services for a loved one, the senses are sharpened — so they say.

A water bowl, half empty, never to be used again; toys long unused but still kept near; a leash and collar hanging quiet for want of a walk;

A wife’s comb laying on the vanity; a tube of half-used lipstick; a book on her side of the bed, bookmarked; reading glasses carelessly set aside;

A husband’s keys hanging from a wall peg; a pile of dirty work shirts ready for one last wash; tools resting quietly where last set down; a note, hastily written, “Back soon. Just going to the store”;

A child’s bike resting against the house; a school bag filled with last week’s homework; new mittens for the coming cold; a model, half finished;

Best toss them out — so they say.

Just reminders, best to forget –- so they say.

They’re probably right. Life goes on –- so they say — eventually.


As found on Craigslist…

On November 12, 2005, my dad sent me this e-mail while he was traveling for work:

I bought a copy of The Elba Clipper today, a smalltown southern Alabama paper, and came across this lost dog ad in the classifieds. I was struck by the unintended poetry of it.


$100.00 REWARD Return of lost dog.
Small, brown, shorthaired dog,
white muzzle. Answers to the name
of Maggie. She is 16 years old and
does not hear good,
she has trouble walking.

I’ve kept this e-mail in my inbox and return to it regularly for two reasons.

First, the sentimental: My dad is the kind of man who finds poetry in day-to-day existence, even in circumstances I would never have thought lent themselves to beauty, humanity, humor or thankfulness. It humbles me.

And second, the professional: Sometimes the simplest way to put things is the most evocative. As a journalist, this lesson is worth its weight in gold (provided you’re not getting paid by the word, at which point, verbosity has its merits).

It was with this second point in mind, that I turned to the great human equalizer: personal ads. But with a Webby twist–I hit up Craigslist and, in particular, the “missed connections” section. There’s an inherent longing and sadness about a missed opportunity, especially when people throw themselves out there to reclaim that lost chance. So it seemed a reasonable place to start. What did I find? Aside from the fact that I could fill a collection based on metro-platform flirting alone, I’m now taken with this vaguely unsettling and simultaneously comforting feeling that no matter where I am, I am so not alone.

Some of what I’ve reprinted here thrills me, some intrigues me, one kinda distresses me. But each has a lyrical quality; a cadence that calls out. Each is exactly how I found it online, though I admit to tinkering with line breaks for the sake of the blog format, and I’ve removed the “M4M” or “W4M” gender indicators as I found them distracting to the overall point. Anyway…as found on Craigslist:

“Unintended Poetry”
By Missed Connection posters on Craigslist

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