Imagine an old, wise, and benign man with sparkling eyes, and long, unkempt gray hair, cleanly shaven once a week or so, sun-kissed and toned. He’s fit and lean, he goes on hikes and swims. He smells like jungle and salty ocean and sun. His voice is a rich baritone and he frequently erupts in a deep bulky laugh with high wheezes. You will find him often sitting by the water with a beer in hand and a twinkle in his eye. This good man understands the value of both adrenalin and relaxin’. This is Father Time in the Caribbean.
You see, Father Time likes it here. He likes being free and that nobody takes him too seriously in these parts and that if something doesn’t happen On Time, he can just blame Wind, Water, or Weather.
As relaxed and sympathetic as he may sound, as you get to know him a little more, you find there’s something upsetting about his high-pitched laughing and you notice one of his twinkling eyes is actually twinkling somewhere a little aside from where the other eye is looking. You admire his muscular arms, but you suspect his charms may be distracting you while his left hand is feeling for your purse. You suspect he might be playing tricks on you.
And you’re right. Father Time, he lures you to the Caribbean islands with promises of endless summer loving and eternal starry nights like a siren calling sailors to their death. He enchants you with promises of island getaways and escaping rush hours. But he is indeed playing tricks on you.
Father Time enjoys a practical joke. In a tipsy moment, Father Time conspired with Mother Nature to make it an endless summer here. Guffawing together over this with a drink in hand, she took the seasons (except hurricane season, because Wind needed a place to let her hair loose) and together they cocktailed a place where there’s no winter, no spring, no autumn, just this endless, blissful summer. Paradise, right? It’s just that every day is the same and that is the reason you still haven’t written that blog post or contacted your family back home or why you forget birthdays. Tomorrow is going to be the same as today. You do what you need to do, come home, and before you know it, it’s Friday again. Where’s the urgency in anything? Father Time and Mother Nature have soothed you into believing nothing is necessary.
Then there’s another prank Father Time pulls. The big events that happen in your island life, like the births and deaths of loved ones near and far, the hurricanes, the new jobs, the new relationships you form, these turning points in your life are abundant once you move to a rock. You don’t notice this however, because you’re busy taking it easy. Too late you realise you’re in a running competition with Father Time and he’s got a head start because you were sipping a cocktail.
Friends and family off-island are also having children, buying houses, moving on, and doing some proper adulting, most of which you register with some detachment, because you are busy looking for the green flash. Suddenly, after some time, you’ll find a box with a series of snapshots of your life and others’ and you realize that apparently all this has taken place and yet somehow you missed it. What do you mean, it’s Christmas already? And didn’t she just start primary school? What do you mean she’s started high school? This is the reason you continuously feel like you’re trying to catch up to your life: this bubble of endless summer, while the rest of the world continues on. He’s caught you in his hourglass, the sand trickling through your fingers. Is this the price for living in Paradise?
Fit Father Time is having a running competition with you and he’s cackling all the way, laughing at your distracted attempt at playing catch up. Then, next thing you know, he meanders with his hands in his pockets again between the big events of your life, doing nothing at all, innocently watching you with his wrinkly, all-knowing eyes, savouring the prank he’s pulled on you, while you’re bent over out of breath, your side stinging from trying to catch up.
Thank Father Time, your island schizophrenic.