Kage Baker was seldom certain of the exact date. Nor did she care. Not at all.
She was a busy person; and if she really needed to know when she was, well – she assumed I would tell her. Or she’d write herself a note, and imbed it in the text of whatever story she was working on; she had a sufficiently good grasp of her daily output that she was able to score very close to pertinent dates with self-addressed warnings that said Stop! It’s Anne’s Birthday In A Week!
For a triple check, she had her everlasting calendar on the wall. It was the Yellow Submarine one from 1967. It wasn’t designed as a perpetual calendar. But, as Kage pointed out, the placement and number of months and days didn’t change – the year was irrelevant, especially if all she needed to know was how many days it was to Ian Anderson’s birthday. (It’s currently 9, BTW …) If she needed to know the actual day of the week, she checked the TV Guide.
Kage floated rather loosely through time anyway. She said all its measurements were arbitrary, except on huge scales which humans rarely tracked. And in this, she was essentially correct. It undoubtedly influenced her peculiar view of Time and its assorted arrows, with which she played such odd tricks in her Company novels. Her basic vision of Time as a rotating, striated Moebius curve arose partly from this. And, I think, from some Italian Murano glass beads she found in an old jewelry box when she was small …
It was further Kage’s assertion that, culturally, she came from people who had regarded measuring anything much less than a month as small potatoes. Further, most dates were fine at 3 or 6 month intervals; and the larger the chronographic device, the better. She cited Stonehenge as justification for her inability to interact with the alarm clock.
Kage worked best when turned just slightly west of the plane of everyday existence. She called it fuzzing out. She claimed the cloud of probabilities that whiz round all of us like expectant electrons could be used, like a beaded curtain, to usefully obscure the distractions of mundanity. She said it was an obvious corollary of Schroedinger’s damned cat.
I said she was cobbling together random tropes of her chosen genre to put up a shield of bullshit. And Kage would just smile and be opaque …
I, on the other hand, am usually at least lightly obsessed with what time it is. For years this was due to the necessity of getting to classes, performances and jobs on time – and usually with siblings, minions or both in tow. I find that since I became self-employed I can often manage a day just fine by the softer-edged measurements of the light outside my porch door. And when I am really tired or busy, that can be rounded up to whether or not there is any light. Discerning the difference between day and night can really make one feel in control during especially harried times.
But I do try to keep track of major holidays and such. Which is why losing – and then mislabeling – an entire month in yestreday’s post was so embarrassing. It was July 31st, not August. Today is Lammas; not a month from now. Thank you, Steve and Eric, for catching my temporal error and kindly re-anchoring me in the aggregate normality. I don’t have Kage’s knack for discorporating and ghosting through what passes for reality.
And to all you Dear Readers – Happy Lammas!
Shown above: Murano beads. Or an assortment of Universes, in different time scales. Your choice.