Every day of the cross-country trek we gained an hour as we passed through one of the four main time zones. I’d tell Jumaane, “We’re going to drive 13 hours, but the clock will only register 12.” Or, “I know it seems early to wake up at 5:30am, but really it’s 7:30 for us coming from the east coast.” I was trying to explain to him what the time changes meant to me, how it important being back in Pacific time zone was to me, but all I could say was seven is ten and ten is seven like a mantra, which eventually drove him bonkers. He’d say, “But Monet, it’s 7 here. That’s what matters.” And we’d laugh the laugh of people who’ve been in a confined space too long. But I’m impressed that my younger brother was more mindful and present than I was — that he could be content with our current location and not be wondering about where we came from.
When I moved to Washington for graduate school, I spent the first six or seven months obsessed with knowing what time it was on the east coast. I was always wondering what my family was doing at their 8pm when I was just getting ready for class at 5pm. I wondered if my friends were already out on the weekends, when I was still at work with hours left to go. Every clock told me two times: Pacific and Eastern. But when I left my boyfriend in AZ, my obsession reversed. I’d be sitting in my 10am weekly meeting wondering if my boyfriend was awake yet, if he’d had his morning coffee. I was so ridiculous, I never changed the dashboard clock in Cali, even though her time read Mountain time, without Daylight Savings (Arizona is the only state that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings, which is all you need to know about AZ) . People would look at the green digital numbers and make exclamations, “Do you know your clock is wrong?” “That’s Pacific time, doesn’t that get confusing?” “I bet you just don’t know how to change it.”
Of course I knew. I was holding on. Looking at the past. Wishing all the time I was somewhere else. But now I’m here, where I want to be, so I have to stop. No more wondering about what other people are doing. I’ve been on both coasts, and kept looking to opposite one I was on, but this trip has been a lesson in contentment. I read somewhere that Libras struggle with finding satisfaction with life, that even when we have all we need, we keep looking for more. In a way this is what should make me a better artist — my need to for more, but it has led me down more rabbit holes than I could ever imagine. No more. This move was about finding contentment in myself, in my relationships and in my decisions. I knew I would be back. Seven is ten and ten is seven.