I have never kept a real calendar or marked time in any responsible way, but as a creature of habit and ritual, the handful of single-use products in my apartment do a pretty good job of keeping me focused on the future.
Where will I be when this box of 500 Q-Tips is gone? I think to myself as I pull one out of the box to use (never in my ears of course no way). What will the world be like? Will I even be alive?
This morning, I popped open my recently purchased pack of coffee filters marketed to people who “care” (their branding can best be described as "climate crisis negging" and it's incredibly effective because of course I care!) which come in bundles of 100, and did some quick "math." There's roughly 50 coffee filters until the end of summer, and 50 more until the light starts fading, and soon after we are scuttling around in a 4 p.m. dusk, pulling our collars up with a shiver. (That these sorts of "countdowns" almost exclusively apply to summer is proof of its supremacy as a season. You can never really mark the beginning of spring in New York because you're asking for a subsequent 40-degree day of blustery teeth-grinding, and no one cares about the "end" of spring because everyone's already drunk on summer. Fall is for teachers' pets. Winter is not in this discussion.)
In a pre-caffeinated thought, it occurred to me that marking the hours and days and weeks with the compostable sieves that retain your coffee waste is actually very bleak. "Time is money" is a thing that people like to say but those people should try actually holding time in their hands this way, dozens of crisp filters pressed together like a literal wad of cash. It only reinforces how quickly it can pass in ways both trivial and completely beyond your control—relentless, and unfair. You pay a bunch of bills and have a few laughs and shit, it's August already?
No more. Time must be spent, so let's spend it. Forget about counting down the days or coffee filters. Let's measure the rest of this summer in bike rides to the beach and books read and waffle cones ingested. Walk through a sprinkler and sit in the shade—only if you care, of course.