counting and (diss)counting

April 9, 2010

sinew under skin stretches as i open my eyes, look at the clock and start counting. ninety minutes until the other human being who resides with me has to be at school. as i run through the ritual, i find myself missing those days when time was an entity to enjoy, not count.

i hate counting. i hate constantly eyeballing the clock but i what i hate most is what i’m teaching my six yr old as i tell him over and over he’s wasting time.

i heard myself tell him that this morning and even after the flag went up the first time, i heard myself repeating it several more times.

how can time be wasted? i mean, literally, when time is constantly being reborn. there’s always going to be another minute coming. if not for me, then for someone. and if not for them, then for someone or something else. can something that doesn’t stop be wasted? is time the one thing that has an endless flow? how to demonstrate the endless nature of time…and still get him to school on time?

i hate counting. i hate to be counted even more; which is why the census form is still in its envelope. is statistical data really a requirement for fixing neighborhoods across the country? i would’ve thought having the desire to fix neighborhoods across the country would be the main ingredient for success. plus, when i think of how the government’s little counting games can end up in gerrymandering, i’m even more reluctant. 

in addition to the other reasons are the fact that it brings to the mind the plantation when africans were counted as things…and sometimes not even fully things but 3/5ths of a thing.

and if that isn’t enough….

it also reminds me of when i used to visit my ex-husband in prison and if i went at shift change time, i’d have to wait almost ninety minutes while they counted every single inmate in the place. they did this several times a day – even w/o a single report of a prison break or any other possibly legitimate reason other than capitalism’s insane love of counting.

i hate counting. i hate being counted but certain people can count on me.

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