OK, I’m Ready To Admit It…

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I’m finally confused.

What day is it?

Maybe it was the Holidays. Maybe it was non-stop football. Whatever it was, my internal chronometer, once an adept timepiece, can’t tell whether Monday, or Thursday, Tuesday or Saturday, Wednesday or Friday.

And Sundays? Isn’t every day Sunday now?

Lest you think this represents a sudden onset of temporal disorder, bear in mind that, for a few years now, my question has been “What week is it?”

You see, when you write for publication, you write for a deadline. That deadline rarely is the week of publication. It can range from a week ahead, to a few weeks ahead, to, in some cases, several months ahead.

What does that mean to a writer?

It means this: when someone says, “Great piece this week!” you respond, “Thanks. What week is it?”

It’s easy to get confused. You’re generally working on one or more pieces simultaneously. On top of that, you’ve already got a couple or more finished articles already in the hopper, waiting to be converting into ink and paper (or their digital equivalent).

Maybe that’s why writers appear aloof. Have you ever felt that way? You compliment the author’s article, and the author kind of just shrugs it off, as if he pays it no mind.

Rather than interpreting that as the author brushing you off, it’s more likely the author is simply embarrassed to betray he’s forgotten the very piece you so enjoyed.

If you think about it, it’s perfectly understandable to lose track of work. That’s what writing articles are. They’re the products of work. And it’s assembly-line work. If you’re sitting on the line putting together widgets and, at the end of your day your supervisor comes up to you and says, “Great widget this shift!” you say “Thanks. What widget is that?”

There are just too many widgets to remember. It’s perfectly natural.

When it comes to the 24-hour cycle, it isn’t natural. What is natural is something called the “circadian rhythm.” This scientific term refers to the innate ability for animals (including man) to respond to the light and dark cycles we experience every day.

Incidentally, this has nothing to do with the insect known as the cicada and the famous 13- and 17-year “cicadian cycle” of “periodical cicadas” (as opposed to “annual cicadas”). Although the spelling may appear the same, the terms are unrelated. While both deal with certain aspects of a biological clock, circadian rhythm deals with the 24-hour cycle while the cycle of cicadas pertains to the insect’s life cycle.

What exactly is a circadian rhythm? Think about how often you wake up at the same time every morning – even without the benefit of an alarm clock. It’s like that.

You actually have a real-life internal “clock.” It’s located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei. It helps you stay awake during the day and sleep better at night. These cells seem to be triggered by light.

If you want to mess around with your internal clock, mess around with the lumen stimuli around you.

Or change time zones.

Jet lag might be related to this, although it’s not really messing up your internal clock, it’s resetting it to account for your new location.

This is the different kind of “losing track of time” that occurs when you’re obsessed with doing something. For example, if you’re excitingly playing a repetitive game that has no time limit (like cards or a video game), you can lose track of time.

This type of “losing track of time” causes you to miss an appointment or be late for dinner. It doesn’t wreak havoc with your circadian rhythm to the point that you don’t know if it’s time to wake up or go to sleep.

Likewise, my disorientation when it comes to days of the week doesn’t quite reach the level of compromising my circadian rhythm. I still know when to sleep and when to wake up. And my body’s alarm clock alarms at regular intervals to remind me to eat.

But all these days got jumbled up around Christmas time.

Maybe it was the traveling (we went to Jamestown to see Betsy’s Father on Christmas Eve and returned Christmas Day during the small window when the Lake Effect Machine was on lunch).

Maybe it was the non-stop NFL football the last two weeks of the season (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and even a Monday thrown in there).

Maybe it was the never-ending hours spent wrapping up year-end tasks for work (no, not the Sentinel, the other work) or prepping for a couple of live media events (OK, that was maybe related to the Sentinel).

Whatever the cause, just as the year turned and everyone kept forgetting to write “2021” instead of “2020” on their checks, I was of the mind that said, “What day is it?”

Early on in this pandemic, when people were forced to abandon the cubicle pens of their offices, there was a lot of complaining about the everlasting snow day causing them to lose track of the day of the week.

I’m a little slow. By about nine months.

But, OK, I’m ready to admit it.

“What day of the week is it?”

No. Seriously.

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