Thomm Quackenbush, author

Grok Doubleplusungood and Jalad at Tanagra | 2017 | Sea of Weirdness

05.18.17

Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.  

-Yasunari Kawabata



Stop Watch

This morning, before going to work, I told Amber that I was anxious. We don't have to discuss why I am anxious, since I believe it legitimizes the anxiety. It is like asking why someone has a headache. There may be some causal factor, but one mostly has a headache because one has a headache. There is no sense victim-blaming.

I mused to her how it was strange that, in the anxiety, I did not have access to my font of trivial knowledge, specifically that I had the rough shape of the name of the creator of The Binding of Isaac, but I could not focus enough to pull it out. "When I am absent the anxiety, I can remember insane amounts of information. The other day, my students mention 'the other Romeo and Juliet' and I not only could recite the director and actress, but the year. But, right now, my brain will just not allow me access because it is all clogged up with the anxiety. I wonder why?"

No sooner did I say this than I had the exact revelation as to why. It is all basic psychology, that my anxious brain believes I am in some danger and sees no reason I need to be able to recite the noble gasses while escaping a tiger. Of course, I am in no danger. No one is threatening me beyond an overactive neural response, like an allergen causing an otherwise healthy body to break out in hives and sneezing. For a while, I assumed my cognitive sluggishness was owed to the fact that I hardly slept through the night and often could not fall asleep for hours, and so was confused that it sometime reoccurred when I knew I had slept well.

This is not the only unusual response I have had recently. Since the blackout, my perception of time has slowed markedly. I originally attributed this to the fact that I did not have a heap of electronic distractions, but I have had electricity for nearly a week and the perception has not altered. I don't know if it will or if I want it to. I am not bored - I believe I am largely incapable of boredom at this stage in my life - but I am frequently surprised that it is still Monday or still seven o'clock. I fit so much into twenty minutes, even if the doing mostly occurs in my head.

The only downside is knowing that, when I go to work, it will feel as though I am away from Amber for at least a sleepless day. Soon, she will go to RATS camp for a few day, the first we have spent apart since moving in together five and a half years ago, and I am uncertain how long that might feel.

I wonder if there will be an incremental decrease in my perception of time until simple conversations stretch to operatic lengths. It is probably not worth too much worry, but it seems like a possibility.

When Emily left me years ago, a friend took me out to distract me from my pain. I was so trapped in my head that I lost all conception of time. We were only out for an hour, maybe two, but I was certain we'd been hanging out for eight hours and asked him to take me home so I could sulk. Then, I was trapped in my head, one of my least favorite places, aside from hotels in New Jersey. Now, I do not feel particularly stuck in my head, just slowed down.

Charting one's psychology should be a lifelong pursuit, though I gather most people are not keen to don their pith helmets and waterproof boots to cut their way through the beginning of their jungle. Maybe their path was ever clear and they faced no fauna more intimidating than squirrels. Some people are lucky enough to be able to make do with gas station maps. Some have GPS and are the envy of us with machetes and grease pencils.

My psychology seems intent to never cease with little surprises. If the sun is out and I have not been prescribed too much of something, the surprises tend toward oddities instead of tragedies. I certainly would not have expected sluggish time, but it does not hurt me any. Who can predict what the next form might be? And wasn't the march of life getting a bit too peppy anyway? Who wants to fast forward to the grave?

I wonder if I am not a failed organism. Though I feel the pulse of sexuality, I react to the notion of reproduction of anything more than my words with horror and its proselytizers with hatred. Three to four months of the year, my brain turns into a trap. I think my atavistic brain wants me to hibernate (unlikely since my forbearers were never hibernators, though some distant cousins opted for his route) or migrate. I am at that unpleasantly comfortable middle ground, too attached to the fruits of my labors to vanish southward when the first snowflake hits the ground, yet not so rich or important that I can vacation for a substantial chunk of the year in one of my many summer homes. I am increasingly limiting my voluntary use of technology because this only exacerbates the gulf between what nature would like of me and what this phase of civilization, living in suburban New York nearly twenty years after the turn of the millennium. There are just too many of us for our sudden growth to be other than metastatic. Maybe this is what I am feeling: the pull between my monkey brain and postmodern soul. In days before sufficient technology, it is even money whether I would exist at all, but the odds are tiny I would exist as something close to what I am.

Soon in Xenology: Adventures. Spring. Heermance.

last watched: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
reading: 1984
listening: Great Big World

Grok Doubleplusungood and Jalad at Tanagra | 2017 | Sea of Weirdness

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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Works by Thomm Quackenbush

Anthologies

Find What You Love and Let It Kill You by Thomm Quackenbush
Pagan Standard Times: Essays on the Craft by Thomm Quackenbush
A Creature Was Stirring: A Twisted Christmas Anthology by Thomm Quackenbush
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