November 3rd, 2007

forgot to sleep by amaralen

(no subject)

Last spring, I emailed my parents describing a cute little novel, Mitaka and Me, by Gin'iro Natsuo, who I later learned is a reasonably popular poet. It's the sort of story that's mostly dialog, with little stick figure illustrations in the margins. I said of the book, "The flow of time is so delightfully random," and went on to explain how, for instance, she described all of winter in just three pages but spent 20 pages on a spring storm that only lasted one night.

Now, though, I don't think I'd describe the flow of time in a book paced like that as "delightfully random" at all, because there's nothing random about it: that's a perfectly natural, organic way to percieve time. Who of you has not, for instance, seen something so interesting that you wanted to LJ it immediately, and then before you know it a whole week has gone by? Or the way the first three and a half weeks of the month you're given to write a big paper on just slip by has been well-documented, I think. On the opposite side, I think everyone has sometimes experienced a few hours, perhaps even a few minutes or seconds, that feel as heavy as entire months.

This Thursday morning I got up early to go to the stores that would be selling underpriced Halloween candy. I got to Stop & Shop at about 11:00, and I think I was one of the only people in the shop other than the employees. In the seasonal section, there was about a fifteen-foot section of wall jam-packed with dozens of varieties of overpackaged, brightly colored, absolutely unhealthy junk. The only other people in that section of the store were two ladies pricing everything and an old lady who asked for the price of the 25-pack of candy bars. (It was $6.49; I figured on my calculator right there that that was only 13 cents per ounce.) And I knew that I was in the right place, at the right time.

Later, as the ladies were finishing pricing the things (I figured out the price per ounce of almost everything on my calculator), one of them said, "I think we've done this rather well: there's nothing on the top shelf, nothing on the bottom shelf, and no gaps in here anywhere!" And I saw that that was true: I hadn't even noticed that the bottom shelf was completely bare, and the only things on the top shelf were the 25-packs of candy bars, which are easier to grab from there than flimsy stacks of bags would be. And although that section wasn't more than 15-feet long, everything there was so tightly crammed together it looked like a mural, no thinness or gaps anywhere. The impression I got of suddenly having arrived in the right place had been carefully orchestrated by the people who had put together the display.