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Weegee (Arthur Fellig): Weegee by Weegee (c. 1953)

"a thief for this day"

The outward trip insisted upon arriving "on time," for we travelled with purpose. The Muse had obligations, presentations to perform, and she could not afford to be tardy, so I drove as if MakingTime. Returning, The Muse freshly retired, urgency seemed to have been bled out of us by then. She lazed around until she was good and ready to get up, and I patiently played along. I felt anxious to get back, as I always am on the return leg of any trip, home calling, but she seemed in no hurry so we began the day's drive with the morning already half gone. Further, I drove passively, not insisting upon even keeping to the speed limit, cruising for something other than progress. We passed through Glenwood Canyon. Any day marked by passage through that timeless portal proves remarkable, whatever else might happen.

We found a mediocre barbecue joint for lunch, where I was served what seemed like a cud of pork and The Muse, an over-done and dry rib, each more satisfying than they had any right to seem.
We were dining for the ages, not really for sustenance. We had all the time in the world that morning and we could not possibly waste a minute, whatever we might choose to do with it. Nobody owned a second of any of it except for us, and I'd ceded my portion to The Muse who, newly retired, owned the entire universe at that moment.

We usually talk about stopping at roadside attractions, but usually pass. Early in our relationship, which started twenty-five years ago next month, we maintained a policy of stopping at every roadside attraction. Each historical marker would receive our attention and we became encyclopedias filled with arcane local knowledge, knowing about obscure massacres and curious geological occurrences wherever we traveled. As our relationship matured, our curiosity cooled to the point where we could comfortably travel in utter ignorance of the important little local doings which we passed. This day, we took the detour to drive the ten miles to actually take in a sight. Any ten mile detour, I figure, costs at least an hour by the time we fully absorb the experience. There was an obligatory short hike at the end and the awe-struck viewing, the milling around and the hesitant leaving, by the time we'd returned to the main highway, a full hour had slipped by and we felt refreshed, ready to burn some miles.

The miles smouldered by instead. I still could not quite manage to maintain the speed limit. Traffic was almost non-existent once we were on two lane asphalt, and I make it my policy to help whomever finds themselves behind me to easily pass. I slow way down when I see a speedster coming up behind me to ensure that they can comfortably get past. I suspect that this behavior shocks speeders, since I suppose that they drive as if in competition, and I rarely ever do. I can comfortably cede whatever advantage I might seem to possess when I could care less about when we might arrive or where. It's been rare during The Muse's recent career that we could go anywhere without time binding our traveling, so we find refreshment in toodling timelessly along, finally TakingTime.

Any thought that we might make the halfway mark home by the end of the day disappeared when The Muse suggested that we drive deep into Dinosaur National Monument, a vast preserve featuring stunning vistas and narrow roads. I figured that we might make it out by dark, whereupon we might face another hour to arrive anywhere with supper and a bed. Instead of screaming ahead to ensure our timely arrival, we headed in the opposite direction. We had fruit, nuts, and water to sustain us and we were adventuring, finally doing something we'd driven right past on every previous occasion. We decided that we might not ever pass this way again and so if we wanted to experience this place, we'd just have to be TakingTime then, rather than continuing to attempt to make more time for later.

The pool of time from which we withdraw our days seems infinite in many ways. That's just the apparent way of this world and we expend time either way, Making it or by Taking it, living by craft or larceny. TakingTime produces that special pleasure of feeling as though I've successfully gotten away with something, a little naughty, a little aberrant, living on my own damned terms. The Muse's retirement might mark an emerging time when she no longer spends her days planning, as she put it in the day's car conversation, "pulling the future toward me." Instead, she sees a time when she takes her time to more fully engage with her present, rather than forestalling her present in favor of some promising possible future. One can live out there in the not yet here, and it might not seem to matter in any moment whether one spends a day MakingTime or Taking it. Seizing the day, they say, without probably fully appreciating what they imply, might actually buy something useful, irreplaceable. The thief in the night stalks regardless. Give me, this time seems to say, a thief for this
day, one TakingTime as it damned well pleases and not just passing it by.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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