Cat: Missing time

Missing Time Syndrome is a thing. Fringe science theorists like to link it to alien abductions and supernatural visits. Film and television that doesn’t invoke aliens or demons will instead invoke booze, in which case, the time you missed was amazing, and your friends will gleefully inform you how awesome you were during those absent hours.

I have missing time all the time, without booze, and to the best of my knowledge, without aliens or demons. Certainly if they are responsible, they’ve covered their other tracks very well.

Medically, there are many causes for missing time, not the least of which are basic brain states. Focus, anxiety, interest, obsession, fatigue…all these change how the brain processes time. And adrenaline is notorious for killing the brain’s ability to transfer short-term memories to long term, which is one reason survivors of trauma and disaster make really poor witnesses.

I’m very aware of how time shifts for me. If I stop and count the seconds, I’m usually on beat ten seconds later. But I suffer from anxiety often, which can slows my perception of time down. Fun will make time seem to pass more quickly, as will interest, focus and obsession. A creative project that compels me will eat an entire day and I’m famished and exhausted and need to pee for having forgotten all of my basic needs. Generally it also means I’m a 1500 word well-considered, thoroughly-edited essay richer.

And that said, today, I’ve been back to studying Superman, and video that should have taken me minutes to watch instead cost me hours. Maybe minor chores were involved. Maybe even writing, but my internal time sum does not amount to what the clock says.

If the aliens were to abduct me, I’d probably never notice, and would only interpret it as an off day.


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