Those who know me will tell you I am somewhat oblivious to most things, even those that directly impact me. Potentially, that includes even those things directly impacting me at the moment (which explains a few scars and one or two traffic mishaps. But, other stories for other times ...).
So, as a qualifier, if I didn't notice the opening in that fire escape I stepped into or that the mound my golf ball came to rest on was also just the sort of nice, sunny spots snakes are and were fond of, well, what are the odds more subtle things are not going to escape me.
Having said that, I do want to point out something that may or may not have escaped you at the same pace it escaped me (something of a saunter, since I wasn't really paying attention, so, no need for it to run).
Yeah, I know. How did that happen, right? And not in the "where did the time go?" sense, because, frankly, 2020 can't get over fast enough for me. To steal a perfectly good line I read somewhere, I'm not going to turn my clocks back for daylight saving time because I don't want even one more hour of this year.
No, it's more of the "wait, time actually exists these days?" sense. I mean, seasons continue to change? There is need for a calendar? Time matters?
Realize there is a bit of ambivalence around seasonal rollover in the South anyway. For years I've believed September was the hottest month of the year, mostly because we wanted it to be among the coolest. Football is not a game best played or observed in 90-degree heat, after all.
And then there is the reality that "down here" autumn tends to happen during the winter, winter tends to happen during the spring and tornadoes happen all the time. So losing track of just what time of year it is both possible and common.
But, there are always signs. For instance, the neighborhood pool has a cover on it. And there are all those pop-up ads for pumpkin spice ... things. Which, unfortunately, is becoming a lot like Christmas: advertised far too early, for far too long and across far too many aspects of life.
Peak "too much" will come when we have pictures featuring Santa holding a pumpkin spice latte/abomination appearing as the conclusion of a Fourth of July fireworks display. Perhaps I shouldn't be giving anyone any ideas. Forget I said that.
However, as I've mentioned previously, ignoring signs is among the very small subset of things I do well, so it is possible, heck, likely, that a few fall-related indicators may have slipped by me.
And you can imagine some of my confusion. Baseball post-season has just started but basketball and hockey are holding their championships and football is busy postponing games and being suspended. So there are no sports-oriented markers for me.
The Masters always gets played on Father's Day Weekend, except when it gets played, I guess, on Thanksgiving? Because we all love to see Augusta National with absolutely nothing in bloom.
It doesn't help that I don't get to leave the Smith Bat Cave all that much these days, thanks to the circumstances of the times we live in and our new WFBC (Working From the Bat Cave) protocols. Sort of like when you first bring a baby home from the hospital. For the first few weeks, you know it's 4 o'clock, but the AM or PM thing escapes you.
My seasonal triggers are somewhat trigger-less, mostly because my only forays into the world may well be the daily early-morning treks to the back yard to hit golf balls into a net before an audience of cows from the field next to my house. And it's so early I can't even tell what the weather seems like, much less if it has changed.
A note: If cows take one look at your swing, shake their heads and walk away in disgust, it's time to realize the game you love may not love you back.
Time is passing. The seasons are changing. I may be losing track but it is happening, faster than I might like, but not as fast as this year might warrant.
As of last week it was officially fall. Somehow I missed it. Wish I could say the same for 2020. And, frankly, I'd be fine if you just wake me when it's over.
Gary Smith is a recovering journalist living in Rogers.