A Little Happier: We Really Don’t Have That Kind of Time.

I’ve been doing research for a book I want to write about the body and the senses, and getting to the mind through the body. As part of that work, I’ve been thinking a lot about time, how we experience time, how time changes things. And now the terrible circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have made me think a lot about time, in a new way.

And as part of this reflection, I find myself going back to re-read and re-read one of my favorite passages from a book I love, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

She writes:

But about a month before my friend Pammy died, she said something that may have permanently changed me.

We had gone shopping for a dress for me to wear that night to a nightclub with the man I was seeing at the time. Pammy was in a wheelchair, wearing her Queen Mum wig, the Easy Rider look in her eyes. I tried on a lavender minidress, which is not my usual style. I tend to wear big, baggy clothes. People used to tell me I dressed like John Goodman. Anyway, the dress fit perfectly, and I came out to model it for her. I stood there feeling very shy and self-conscious and pleased. Then I said, ‘Do you think it makes my hips look too big?’ and she said to me slowly, ‘Annie? I really don’t think you have that kind of time.’

No, I don’t think we don’t have that kind of time either.




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