Prompt 123-Where does the time go?

Write about an experience you had when you lost track of time.

It’s so easy to lose track of time these days. Technology helps us to plan our time and keep us on schedule, but it also provides endless mindless distractions. I wake up and get ready for my day. Then I hop on my computer or my phone to read the latest headlines or gossip, and before I know it I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole from one site to the next and it’s lunchtime.

It’s worse when I don’t have work or plans. When I don’t have to be anywhere, I don’t watch the clock at all. I’ve sat down to play a video game “just for a little while” and lost my whole day before I realized it. Which is fine, as long as all my other obligations have been taken care of. I haven’t had a full day of gaming in a long time though.

The biggest place for me to lose track of time is the bookstore. I can’t just go in and come right out. I wander. I graze, picking up books here and there, reading the jacket descriptions, a few first pages. I take my time, mostly because I’m not paying any attention whatsoever to it. And if I have nothing else planned for the day, I have no motivation to hurry up.

I’ve also lost track of time while reading a very entertaining book. A really good book can suck you in until you forget your own name. I’ve come dangerously close to being late for work once or twice in my life because I was nose-deep in a rich world. That’s what timers/alarms are for!

I think it’s a habit we all fall into when we’re absorbed by the things we are passionate about. And the same is true for our characters. There are a myriad number of reasons why a character might lose track of time; no clock in the room, no natural light or way of telling the passage of time, mentally elsewhere because of their hobby.

I had wanted to write a short story exploring this, but couldn’t settle on a character or setting that I could finish in an hour or two. But it is a trope I’d like to incorporate into my writing. I already enjoy fiddling with time/timelines in my stories.

I guess I’ll just wrap this up with a little anecdotal thing. I am pretty good about managing my time, but I do get caught up browsing Twitter or Pinterest a lot. A whole hour will pass before I realize it, and I’ve done essentially nothing. This messes with my subconscious because I have dreams all the time where I am doing something and suddenly it’s hours later and I’m late for another thing.

I had one a few weeks ago where I had come home to take a nap on my lunch break (dreaming about sleeping, meta, no?) but my alarm had never gone off. I woke up hours later to frantic texts from my boss wondering where I was and if everything was ok. I sent them a panicked text back apologizing for falling asleep and that I would be back ASAP. Except then I couldn’t find my clothes, and as I tried to get everything in order, time was jumping ahead to the point where it made no sense to try to return to work.

Or for some reason I am miles away from work and it is going to take me hours to get there. These usually occur as dreams about old jobs where I’m living in my current apartment but still working in my college town (about 300 miles away) or I’m visiting my mom (150 miles) and have to rush home for work. Such nerve wracking. Very anxiety.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you tonight. I think tomorrow is a double header? We’ll see what happens when I sit down to write. Have a great night/day!

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