Just as I treasure the additional hour when we fall back into Standard Time, no matter how seriously it disorients me, I find the gift of an entire day something rare, to which I have never given any thought. It is on a par with the skill of a superhero, conquests of space or time or gravity. Here is the calendar saying, Oh, look what we've found for you. Silly us, we'd put it aside for just such an occasion. Go ahead, we want you to have it.
By now, this bonanza is nearly 9 1/2 hours gone and I'm only beginning to imagine how best to use it. Like discovering the bank balance is higher than remembered, it is found time, birthday money, a MacArthur genius grant. I would describe my relationship with time as conflicted, had I not realized that accepting its liquid properties, and my weightless drifting thereupon, almost allows us to be friends. I am not as troubled by its unreliable ways as I once was, having first supposed that when I had less to do, there would be more of it.
During years of job, family, freelancing and life, I felt like a losing contestant on Beat the Clock. The seconds ran out long before I chased the ping pong ball across the finish line, armed with cans of Redi-Whip as propellant. Or something like that. A day was too impossibly small to contain all that it was expected to hold. Each morning I looked at the bed before sprinting out the door, wondering just how long it would be until I could sleep again. I had no experience of time as mutable; I had no awareness of choices.
Leap Day feels like Ferris Bueller territory. I wish I'd planned for it, paid better attention. I'd have a list of frivolous must-dos to check off, squeezing the bonus good out of each second. Now it is too late for anything other than improvisation, which may be the best response after all. Divided into scheduled activities, it would have been just another day. I think I'll start with reading and see where that takes me, the perfect seque to a guilt-free nap. If only Starbucks delivered.