Friday, July 13, 2012

There’s time – and there’s lake time

Have you ever been in a different time zone? 

Wait, now, before you jump in with the “right” answer. 

Don’t start counting off all of the places you’ve been, the invisible lines you’ve crossed on a map that put you in zones neatly marked “Eastern,” “Central,” “Mountain,” “Pacific.” 

Think more like Rod Serling, like “Twilight Zone,” a place where things, where time is just a little different.

I’m in one of those places. 

Recently, my hubby and I moved from our home in Central Illinois, just a few miles from Route 66, to a home on the Lake of the Ozarks in mid-Missouri. 

We thought we knew the place. After all, we’ve been coming here off and on for more than 20 years. We liked the way we felt relaxed down here, the way it helped us escape from the rigors of the retail, wholesale, corporate or government worlds in which we worked through the years. But, until recently, I don’t think we fully realized why. 

I think it’s because we’re in a different time zone. Now, before you start correcting me, I may be ditzy sometimes – okay, a lot of the time – but I’m not stupid. I know we’re still in the Central Time zone. But, we’re in another one, too – one most people don’t even know exists. We’re on Lake Time now.

Thinking back, I guess we’ve seen bits and pieces of it for years – the way we were feeling pretty rested and laid back when we were down here more than a day or two, until it was time to go home, that is; the way everyone just seemed to look a little more relaxed, except for the tourists and weekenders, trying to cram everything into a handful of days; the pace of the clerks in the stores and the fix-it sort of guys who came to work on our home. 

Finally, yesterday, it all fit together – in words from the mouth of one of those guys. 

A couple of men came to pump our septic tank. Different in many ways than most of the tradesmen or handymen at the lake, this pair arrived within the time window promised – not like the cable guy a couple years ago who didn’t show up or call, the three boat lift companies who didn’t meet their time slots, the plumbers who came a day late to our neighbor’s house. And, they actually worked while they were here – not a mid-morning arrival, few minutes of work, a cigarette break, a few more minutes of work, a two-hour lunch, a little more work, then a mid-afternoon quitting time. 

When we mentioned the difference to the septic tank guy, and what we’d seen from other workers recently, he said, “Oh, they’re on lake time. I grew up down here. That’s just how they are.”

“Yep,” hubby and I said in unison. “We’ve got that figured out."

There’s a couple of things we’re learning from all this, though – waiting on carpet layers, boat lift guys, plumbers and more. 

We’re learning a bit more patience and that lake time’s not all bad. 

Unless the house is on fire or the pipes have burst, usually whatever we need to have done won’t hurt if it’s done a couple hours or a couple days later. It can almost always wait. 

When we’re not worrying about the clock, it’s a lot easier to spend a little time chatting with the neighbors at the mailbox or when we meet on the road, to take time to watch the family of young ducks in the cove, the chipmunks peering in the screen porch window or the hummingbirds at the feeder, to sit in the evening calm and chat with dear friends, even when there’s laundry to be folded or a floor to be swept. 

There is something about this time zone that has a tendency to grown on a person. We’re beginning to get used to it. 

So don’t be surprised if next time someone asks me what time zone I’m in, I answer “Lake Time.” 

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012  

 (Image via)


  1. Ha!!'s 10 am at the lake and my handyman just told me he didn't think he would be able to finish painting the doors today...