Tick Tock

tick. tock. tick. tock.
tick. tock. tick. tock.

“I confess, I do not believe in time.”
– Vladimir Nabokov

Probably the number one question I am asked about my life is, “How do you find the time?”

My response depends on my mood, but it really comes down to the fact that I sleep only as much as I need, I spend time making the necessary parts of my life efficient, I am patient with myself, and I don’t have kids or a house.

Also, I don’t really let myself consider time as a constraint.Β  This may be an unusual point of view, but I certainly don’t feel as if time stalks me through the oceans of life with an ominous ticking sound.

Time is my friend.Β  We sail together!

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I’ve noticed that everyone seems to have a question that people can’t help but ask them.

For my mom, it is always, “Was it hard raising so many kids?” to which she would reply, “I think it was easier than raising just one would have been.”

For my sister, it’s always, “How do you get your hair to do that?”.Β  She always says something along the lines of, “I wake up.”

For Dave, it’s “What kind of art do you do?”– his answer, “Weird art.”

What’s the question that follows you through life wherever you go?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual POV : http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/unusual/

104 thoughts on “Tick Tock

    1. I get that one a lot, too! It hasn’t quite overtaken the time question, yet, but that’s probably because most people assume I still plan on having little ones– which I do not. It doesn’t bother me…but it’s still weird to me that people think it’s an appropriate question to ask. It seems rather like asking a stranger if they have to go to the bathroom.

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      1. I know! So many assumptions about people. I had a white English friend married to a Sudanese guy, and they had two children. When she was out with the kids but without him, people would often ask where her “adopted children” were from. Unbelievable but true.

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  1. Mine is, “What kind of camera do you use?” Always asked by men. It’s kind of a segue so they can tell me about their camera and photography. I used to get the “when are you having children” question, but I’m too old for that now πŸ™‚

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    1. One of my best friends is a photographer, so I know that question well. She gets it so often that I could probably answer for her, haha– even though I know very nearly next to nothing about cameras! πŸ™‚

      It usually escalates to a question about photography like, “Should I pick up such and such lens so I can take pictures of my roses?” which always makes me wonder if camera salespeople aren’t doing their job. Obviously there’s a huge market of people looking to purchase more camera stuff. πŸ™‚

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  2. I have two… “How old are you?” -I think I look my age, but when people hear how long I have been at my job or see me with my kid, I will get asked that. I never know what they think the answer is LOL

    Before I started getting more grey hair (as in, before I had the kid πŸ™‚ ) the question was “Is that your natural color?”

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    1. I think you look my age. When I saw your picture, I quickly did the math and figured you probably didn’t have the kid in middle school, so you probably are a smidge older. I still would have no real clue, though. πŸ™‚

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  3. Mine is, what’s for lunch, as I cook for a minimum of 600 people per day so the only thing they think about when they see me is food. Wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to see their reaction to the answer, as everyone is very clear with me about their likes and dislikes but when cooking for that many people you have no chance of satisfying everybody…

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    1. For 600 people! That’s impressive. πŸ™‚ I have a feeling I’d be guilty of the “Whats for lunch?” thing if someone was cooking for me… but I promise if I ever slip and ask that question in the future, if the situation ever comes up, I’ll respond to their answer (whatever it is) with, “That’s perfect, you’re the best.” πŸ˜€

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  4. Oh, I really like the way you describe your take on time!!! I should adopt that attitude.
    Hmm…question that I’ve been asked by those that don’t know me: (Usually the old uncle taxi drivers!) Are you married?
    Question by those who do know me….hmmm..actually…I don’t get a frequently asked question!
    One notable thing is that patients always seem to comment that I have “nice handwriting” for a doctor…lol

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  5. The question that I am most asked – or maybe it is an observation too – is ‘how can you be so calm?’. My answer: ‘with practice’. x

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    1. That’s a wonderful question to be asked, πŸ™‚ Calm is something many of us aspire to! πŸ˜€ And practice is a great answer. So many things can be gained through time, patience, and practice. πŸ™‚

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  6. The standard question for me: “Do you play basketball?” That on account of my being 6’5″.

    My standard answer: “If by ‘play basketball’ you mean ‘write poetry, watch anime, and in general spend my time being as unproductive and awkward as possible’, then yes, I’m Jordan in his prime.”

    :p

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    1. One of my best friends is 6’5″ as well. He always says, “I wouldn’t know which side of a basketball is up.” which is confusing enough that most people leave him alone after that… haha, but it doesn’t stop people from asking at least once. πŸ™‚ I love your answer as well, I’ll have to let him know, πŸ˜€

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    1. πŸ˜€ Haha, I suppose you could make something up. Tell them you purchased some magic beans and drank them down with unicorn milk. Poof! Instant patience. πŸ™‚

      In some things, I have an abundance of patience. In others, like waiting in lines… I have none at all. πŸ™‚

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  7. I get asked, “why do you get up so early?” a lot. It’s sad that that is the most asked question, and the question comes from family members. I have explained a dozen times but I STILL get asked. I am just geared that way. I simply can’t sleep past 5am but I’m usually up 4 to 4:30.

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  8. how do you look so good at your age… it’s a back handed compliment but it’s always brought up and I am cracking myself up that I actually typed this! πŸ™‚

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    1. I can understand that question– you look good, lady, for any age! πŸ˜€ I think people probably mean it to be a compliment and then chicken out of giving a 100% compliment. πŸ™‚

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  9. Thanks for the introspective question. That question has changed for me over time. When I was skinny people never thought I looked my age, now that I have gained weight, people don’t ask about my age anymore and I guess I look more like a 52 yo. The question I get now is “How did you do it?” Referring to going to school, always working two jobs, and raising three kids. The answer is, “I never slept…ever, more than two hours at a time.” I don’t know how I lived on that little sleep except to say that I was forced to retire early due to health reasons. I am a semi-retired nurse and the most I do now are the occasional wellness screenings, no pressure.

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    1. No pressure jobs sound good!

      Your answer reminds me of my mom. She’s like that too… school, work, 6 kids, all the time. I remember when I grew up and went back to the house for a visit, and found her sleeping on the couch. I asked my dad, “How long has she been like that?!” and he said, “5 hours or so… why?” and I panicked because I hadn’t ever seen her sleep that deeply or that long before. I guess when most of us were out of the house, she finally started to catch up on those missing zzz’s! πŸ˜€

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    1. Haha, it is a bit of a fictional sounding career, isn’t it? πŸ˜€ When I tell people Dave is an artist, they say, “So what does he do for a living?” and I say, “He’s an artist.” and they say, “But yes… what does that mean?” There’s not a lot who get to say their primary career is an artistic one! πŸ˜‰

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      1. No, there aren’t a lot of us and it’s a bit mystifying to those who only take it in that there’s someone responsible for the creation. I usually just smile, but sometime I get sarcastic and say I talk on paper.

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  10. People ask me for directions. In Singapore they asked me for directions. I do not look like a local. I am 5′ 9″, blonde and Northern European. Still they asked me for directions.
    Thing is – either I did know the answer or I had a map in my bag, but how did they know that?

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    1. Haha, you must just look like someone who knows! πŸ˜€ People always stop Dave to ask for directions to bathrooms or city centers or whatnot… I always start to respond with “We aren’t from here, sorry, we don’t know…”… but Dave always seems to know! You guys must be two of a kind. πŸ™‚

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      1. as you have never seen us in the same room together it is possible I am Dave and have been masquerading unbeknownst to you as EBL.We all have our secrets.
        Or not.:-)

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    1. It’s the honest one, though, I’d imagine. I’m only one of 6, but I know it isn’t quite as people imagine. There’s a certain loss of identity to being one of many. I remember when, after my family had moved again, people started coming up to me and only knowing me. I wasn’t so and so sister or daughter… just me. I felt like the ghosts in those movies– “You… can… see? me?!” πŸ™‚

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  11. I like your philosophy on time. πŸ™‚

    My questions are “What’s that tattoo mean?” or “What breed is your dog?” I don’t have an answer for either question.

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  12. I really like your take on time, I recently find myself feeling the same way. I noticed there is always enough time for me when I am really here and now, just enjoying the moment.
    My frequently asked questions usually relate to my eating habits, when people find out that I am a raw vegan there usually are three questions they ask:
    What is raw vegan?
    So what DO you eat?
    Don’t you miss normal food?
    I used to answer all of them very patiently, but lately I try to avoid it, since I’m tired of explaining:).

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    1. Ah yes! Eating habits are another thing people love to question. πŸ™‚ We’re a no-sugar, low-carb house, so I understand the “Don’t you miss normal food?” question, haha… and, like you, my answer depends on how patient I feel that day. πŸ™‚ Maybe you should write a comprehensive post and then direct people there whenever they ask. πŸ˜€

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  13. I like your approach to time, I believe mine is similar as well. The more you worry about time, the less time you’ll have.

    The question I’ve been mostly asked is “What do you do at home to not get bored?”, to which I reply “A lot.” Whether it’s writing, sketching, playing with graphics or learning new things using online tutorials, the possibilities are endless. Pity some people believe the internet is all about social networks.

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    1. Exactly so! πŸ™‚ Worrying about time does nothing but waste it. πŸ™‚

      I do so much learning on the internet! TED videos and Coursera classes, and the Khan Academy. Whenever anyone says that playing on the internet is a waste of brain energy, I explain that they’re using the internet wrong. πŸ™‚

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  14. How can you be so positive? Then it is followed by people telling me all of the reasons they think I shouldn’t be positive. I just say thank you, and quietly ignore them. I don’t think time exists. πŸ™‚

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    1. πŸ˜€ That’s a good rule of thumb! I’ve noticed that, too– I don’t know if they’re seeking guidance to overcome those things that can so easily bring in negativity… or if it’s some sort of bizarre need to banish positivity in others in order to justify their own negativity… but either way, that’s one question that’s best to ignore. πŸ™‚ They’ll either work it out, ask for help more clearly… or try to squash someone elses’ happy. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading, Jon! It’s lovely to see you around again. πŸ˜€

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  15. Ah yes the question/s. Had to laugh at the “why don’t you have children?” At 60 I get “Do you have grandchildren/children” & “are you married?” No. I found I don’t often get “why” if I am that succinct but I occasionally do. The urge to be rude in return is tempting. The sub-text is so freaking loud in those questions.
    Thanks for the interesting question. πŸ™‚

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    1. It’s really the subtext that makes these questions so hard to ignore! All of them, really. It’s not “Why do you wake up so early?”, but the implied judgement behind it. I think that’s why our answers so universally depend on our mood. πŸ™‚

      I also combat those questions with succinctness… though every once in awhile, I get a bit of the devil in me and want to make up an elaborate, heart-wrenching tale that would scare them into never asking anyone the question again. πŸ˜‰

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  16. Either “Is she your only one?” (because having an only child is an affront to most people’s sensibilities, apparently) or “You’re not quite right, are you?” I keep waiting for the “did you eat paint chips as a child” but I think it’s pretty well implied by the latter question.

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    1. Haha, none of us are “quite right”… at least, none of the people I like to interact with are. πŸ˜‰

      “Is she your only one?” — huh! Coming from a community of people with large families, I didn’t know you got a hard time for having just one, too. People are always critical of large families… so, what’s the perfect number?? πŸ™‚

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      1. From what I’ve seen, the only people who don’t get harassed for having the wrong number of children are those with two, especially if they have one of each. If you have two of the same gender, then they ask if you’re going to “try for a girl” or “try for a boy.”

        I think if people would mind their own business….

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  17. People ask me what I do for work. On the whole as soon as I mention the word university they assume I teach, then when they hear the words administration, manager, student services I can tell that I have lost there interest. This used to knock my self confidence, I even tried changing my delivery. I have realised that it just doesn’t matter if other people are interested in the work that I enjoy doing. Robert πŸ™‚

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    1. People are bored just by the word “administration”. It’s what I do, and it’s what I love… and I’m very good at it… but it makes people feel like I sit around in a pile of paperwork all day sniffing staplers. I feel your pain, πŸ˜€ But you’re so right– we’re happy, we’re good at it– that puts us in a very small minority of people, and it’s best just to ignore the question and focus on that. πŸ™‚

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  18. People ask me how I find the courage to keep going. I point out it doesn’t take any courage to survive. Courage is on purpose — voluntary — not that you have no other choice.

    The other question is “How do you know what to write?” Answer: “It falls out of my fingers.”

    As for time … retirement is good that way. You always have time as long as you don’t try to do everything simultaneously πŸ™‚

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    1. β€œIt falls out of my fingers.” – Perfection! πŸ™‚ I also like the idea that courage is on purpose. I’m going to marinate on that thought for awhile, I feel like there’s an entire storybook of thought in that simple sentence. πŸ™‚

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    2. I love the “courage is on purpose”, I would add to that with don’t confuse impulse with courage. One is mindful and the other, usually, mindless.
      I totally love the “It falls out of my fingers”… I am starting to see a sculpture forming…
      Thank you for those sneaky words. πŸ™‚

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  19. “Are those your real eyes?” As if eyeballs are not real but I know what they mean. (My eyes are a very bright, hazel-green but they also change colors. It weirds some people out.
    The other is “Is that your real name?” Followed by “How’d you get it?” because my name is a bit unusual. What can I say? My mom was a hippie. πŸ˜›

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    1. Ooh, bright green sounds so pretty! πŸ™‚ Mine are poop brown. πŸ™‚ I also get a lot of questions about my name… didn’t think of that one! It’s probably up there with the time question– a very, very close second. πŸ˜€

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    1. I get that one, too… or used to. I’ve learned to be much quieter about my reading patterns, haha, because I don’t have an answer for them… πŸ™‚

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  20. My mother means well but continually asks “Have you met someone?” Hoping I am dating or found someone…yeah, so far still the answer is: no one yet that is available (I am goofy and only date people who are single, divorced, available in other words. I know a silly standard but there it is).
    At this time, no one who is available has meshed well with me…granted I remind her time changes things, like the dating pool, more people will be added to the pool. In the meantime, I will keep trying and waiting, and for now I will enjoy the sun, there is more to life than dating.

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    1. There is most definitely more to life than dating, and I’m glad you’re able to face the question with such grace… I could see it wearing on my nerves quickly, haha. But then, moms can get away with a lot more than others can, πŸ™‚

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  21. Being a Navy spouse, my question is usually, “do you have kids?” My response is “nope, but he has two interesting kids” The followup is usually a strange look and “don’t you want your own?” My response is “oh hell no, I enjoy being spontaneous and able to travel and do things. I’m far to selfish to have children and I fully acknowledge and embrace that, I don’t even have any pets.” Maybe when he retires and we settle somewhere we’ll get a dog.

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    1. i guess that’s a popular one! πŸ™‚ I like your answer! My reasons for not wanting kids are too complex to rattle on people, but I love the … simplicity and honesty of yours!

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  22. Oh – a writer. What do you write?
    Oh. Riiight, fantasy. So, do you like the classics? (*headdesk*)

    How do you stay so optimistic?
    How do you deal and not cut and run?

    And my favorite – When are you going to college?

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  23. Mine is ‘where is your name from?’ and the response is ‘silly teenage parents’! Tho’ sadly, since an Australian with a similar name was jailed in Bali for smuggling drugs on a surf trip, when meeting an Ozzie I can always expect ‘where’s your surfboard full of drugs?’ Cue idiotic guffawing. My favoured response is just to stare at them until they feel stupid. Come on it was ten years ago!

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  24. For me, it’s usually – considering your past abuse, family history of depression & physical limitations, how do you manage to stay upbeat? My usual answer – It’s my mask. If I gave in to how awful things could be, I would never get out of bed.

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  25. My question: “How are you feeling today?” As someone with chronic fatigue syndrome, I’ve gotten used to the fact that people see me as a sick person, not as a person.

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  26. Fun post! The question I’m always asked: “Is your hair naturally curly?” To which I respond, “Do you think I would make it look like this by choice?” Seriously. It’s a mess. Another question I get, since I have two sons, is: “Are you going to try for a girl?” My response: Why on earth would I do that?!

    Like

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