Traveling in Time With Sylvia PlathTuesday, January 30, 2018
As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end.
The above was my first philosophical look into time. Before that, I suffered as a young boy that interval between Christmas Eve (practical presents) and the Epiphany (El Día de Los Reyes Magos when we children in Argentina received our toys) on January 6. That segment of time that breezes past one now, was an eternity of wait.
Closer to my maturity in high school, a boring class before the lunch recess, was another eternity and more so if the classroom (like many at St. Edward’s High School had a prominent clock somewhere in the room.
Most anybody my age (75) will tell you that time flows (the correct word if you consider Heraclitus) much more quickly and we keep telling our younger relatives, “It seems only yesterday.”
In Vancouver this specifically applies to those who may have visited Expo – 86. Was it only yesterday?
Sometime in the late 80s after I had purchased my Philippines-made, titanium Timex, I noticed a singular and most unusual quality. The watch (still at my wrist at this date) was and is completely waterproof. I never take it off.
I was in my tub and I was staring at the watch. I liked to immerse it in the water and by flicking my wrist the glass top would reflect the light of the bathroom. While doing this I noticed that the second hand stopped and began to go backwards. I have seen this more than once. I believe my Filipino Timex is special. It is a time machine. It stops time and goes back.
Recently I have discovered an revealing description of how time works. The NY Times has started a new series they call Overlooked, about women who deserved an obituary in The New York Times at the time of their death but did not get one. A very good one was one about Sylvia Plath. The writer Anemona Hartocollis wrote a further essay on the subject in which she explains that when Plath died, her most famous work The Bell Jar was virtually unknown. It was my mother's interest in Plath's Bell Jar that led me to read it.
Plath died on Feb. 11, 1963, at the age of 30.
It quickly became apparent to me that I would have to look not only at her past, but also at the future that had not yet happened. It would be something like time traveling, only — unlike time travelers in the movies — I would know the future without having a chance to change it.
The point was that the obituary I was going to write would be very different from the obituary we would have written when Plath died. In some ways, I think, it turned out to be more true to who she really was.
I read the above and placed the paper on the floor by my bed and turned off the lights. Going to sleep seemed to be an eternity.
What this means is that as an old man I can travel in time with my memory (a very good one). But since I am alive (unlike Plath) I have the ability to change my future.