Monday, February 18, 2008
Part 1 – Heading West
December 13th 2006 never entered my existence last year. Or, perhaps a more accurate description would be— I never showed up for the thirteenth of December, it literally flew away,
vanished, disappeared, never to grace any of its minutes, hours or seconds in my life. On December 12th at 3:00pm I and a few hundred other souls boarded a 747 at S.F.O. and headed west over the Pacific to the island nation of New Zealand. Nine hours into the flight we were only one hour away from December 13th. All of which changed as our flying steel vehicle passed over that magic longitude of 180º. As a Tonganese family was watching a video thirty eight thousand feet below us we simply passed on into December 14th. It was indeed December 13th for those in Hawaii and all my friends in California but for all aboard Air New Zealand flight number 28 there was absolutely no interval between December 12th and December 14th. We simply slipped through the grip of the hands of time. Which makes the mind wonder what indeed might have happened in my life on that day? Would that have been the day I started my award-winning novel? Fallen in love? Met an old friend for lunch? Or perhaps just simply grown a day older? I’m thankful I wasn’t expecting an important phone call on that day or had a ticket to the opera for I was simply not present in the world on December 13th. So let it be known that on December 13th 2006 I never told a lie, sang a song, read a book, took a breath or boiled an egg.
Meanwhile almost everyone else on the globe was acknowledging the 13th of December by being born, riding a bike, creating poetry, stealing, kissing, dying, cooking and just hanging out.
I was and still am a member of a very select group of travelers who actually crossed the International Date Line at exactly midnight and thus skipped an entire day.
Part 2 – Heading East
While all of you were sleeping in Santa Cruz California (say at 3:00 am on January 15th) my January 16th began. I was in a folk club on Mt Victoria called “The Bunker” in the charming New Zealand town of Devonport. After much merriment and libation I collapsed on my pillow at two am realizing I that I would arrive back in America before I ever left New Zealand.
I awoke at 8:00 am and washed some comfortable fitting clothes for my thirteen-hour plane ride. My kiwi friends treated me to a farewell lunch and as I munched down a bowl of delicious green-lipped Mussels in Tai simmer sauce I knew that on this day I would once again travel through time. I’m shuttled to the airport for the 8:00 pm flight to San Francisco. This will be the first of two 8:00 pm’s I will experience on January 16th. The other is when I will be reading this piece to my writing group on the west side of Santa Cruz. As I board the 747 at 8:00 pm it is currently 11:00 pm January 15th in Santa Cruz. The lost day of December 13th has been reborn as the double day of January 16th as I am once again time traveling across the magic longitude of 180º. In New Zealand it is now tomorrow as I fly east into today.
Eight miles below, someone in Tonga is cooking an Ono fish for her family as soar into the darkness. The woman next to me is in a writing group in Carmel. She is so inspired by the fact that I’m scratching out a story for my own writing group that she takes out her laptop and commences to write as well. Two writers are now elbow-to-elbow, bouncing in the turbulence, trying to fight off fatigue by putting it all down on paper.
We land in San Francisco at 11:00 am, my son picks me up and I arrive home with just enough time to type my time travel story down and to deliver it to my Tuesday night writing group in my 29th hour of my thirty-three hour day of January 16, 2007.