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Ghost Town

Dr David, Editor / Publisher

I don't like these time changes, Standard to Daylight Savings and back again. Fundamentally they confuse me. 5:00 becomes 6:00 and then 6:00 becomes 5:00. My brain is just not ready for it.

The idea that we learn in elementary school, addition in first grade, subtraction in second, multiplication in third, division in fourth, has been questioned. These doubters attribute it all to brain development. As our brain becomes more complex we naturally grasp more complex subjects. "Three plus five" is a level of abstraction that most preschoolers just cannot, and should not be forced to handle.

That 5:00 just two weeks ago here in Mexico became 6:00 is simple enough for me. But when I cast myself ahead to autumn when 6:00 will become 5:00, I, who excelled in mathematics in high school, become befuddled. I'm probably just over-thinking again. Maybe it's my dyslexia?

I like that "falling back" even less than I like this "springing forward." In northern latitudes losing an hour of afternoon daylight just when the days are getting their shortest is a double whammy. We worry, as well we should, about the harmful economic and psychological effects of the Corona quarantine. So too there are economic and psychological effects associated with robbing us of an hour of daylight just when we need it most. (For one, electricity consumption skyrockets.) We fall back so the kids can go to school in daylight. But if you ask the kids, they'd tell you they'd rather have that hour of daylight to play in the afternoon, at least, I would have.

This year my difficulty adjusting to Daylight Savings Time has been made worse by my isolation, sheltering-in-place. Normally, following the change, I am out of sync with society for a few days, gradually being brought into conformity by my interactions with the rest of you. This year, without you, two weeks after the time change I am still out of whack.

Television, if I watched it, might help. Having clocks around the house (there are none) wouldn't hurt. A regular daily schedule might do the trick. But, as it is, my inner clock yet stubbornly clings to another time.

I expect that much at home, due to my isolation. But when I venture out I find that there, too, time has changed. It's not so noticeable in the neighborhoods, San Antonio, Guadiana, Allende, where I ride my bicycle hard up the hill each late afternoon to make amends for sitting in front of this computer all day. But in the Centro sometimes you can cut it with a knife.

Two days ago I rode to my bank in the Centro intending to go to Bonanza afterwards. Having put my excursion off until the last minute, to avoid the heat as much as possible, I arrived at 4:45. Twenty minutes later coasting over to Bonanza I learned in front of their locked door that they now close at 5:00. So yesterday, undaunted, I made the trip again arriving at Bonanza at 4:45.

Why do ghosts come out at night? Or why do we worry about them more at night? You might suggest that it is a primal fear of the dark. True, no doubt. But if you left your house and wandered around the Centro as I've done these last two days, you would agree that there is another reason; it's the quiet.

The Centro is a ghost town; not all of it. But in many places it is abandoned. Along a stretch of a familiar street all the stores are closed, door after door locked shut. There, on that same stretch, the sidewalks are empty, no cars are moving, not coming, not going.

There on those quiet stretches the clock has been turned back, not an hour, but a century. There the spirits, normally jostled out of our way, have come out to play.

I have often dreamed of San Miguel in yesteryear, imagining it in a quieter time. I get a sense of a bygone era in the neighborhoods, fewer people in the plaza, fewer cars along the Ancha. But going to the Centro my imagination became real. There in the spaces we have vacated an earlier time reveals itself.

I won't say that I was afraid, but it is weird. It's not exactly like walking through cobwebs, but the medium, the atmosphere is different. (Go see for yourself. There is no problem social distancing on those streets.) It isn't romantic like my imaginings of it. I felt out of place, as if too brightly colored in a sepia world. It is a frontier, a merging of contrasts, a twilight zone. The air itself has a different composition, a changed chemistry.

We can't go back. But then, we wouldn't like it if we could.

No, I don't like these time changes, not Standard for Daylight Savings, not 2020 for 1920. Fundamentally they confuse me. Neither my brain nor my heart are ready for it.


Dr David a victim of the Hippie movement, is still trying to change the world. He and his merry band believe that with the new expanded Lokkal (on your computer screens soon) it just might happen.

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