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[personal] Wetware compass and clock - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-02-01 05:38
Subject: [personal] Wetware compass and clock
Security: Public
Tags:personal
Yesterday I posted about dreaming I was lost, and how I have an excellent sense of direction in real life. I'm also a very good navigator, as has been proven on night land nav exercises, as well as road trips through places like central Mexico. Last night it came up in conversation that I also have an excellent time sense. Even in the absence of a clock I almost always know what time it is, to within 5-10 minutes, and my sense of elapsed time is also finely honed. This latter is a useful skill during business presentations and so forth.

These two senses combine to make me very sure of my place in the world, in a literal sense. I also suspect they help me very sure of my place in the world in a figurative sense. One of the many side effects of chemo was for a time wiping out both my sense of place and my sense of time. That's an extremely disorienting experience, given that I've spent my entire life relying on those aspects of awareness.

As mentioned above, I wonder if being so anchored is part of why I am usually so good at remaining centered and self-confident. As has been observed on a number of occasions, I am a nigh pathological extrovert. Extroversion is privileged in our culture in some important ways. Do I project so well into the world because I am always so certain of where I stand within it?

Do you have a good sense of time and place? Does that affect your mood, your ability to project to other people?

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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-02-01 13:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm a pretty good navigator and I usually know the time, even when I'm sleeping. Still introverted, though. I'm not sure why you are the outgoing barrel of laughs that you are, but there's no doubt you're blessed with many talents and good qualities. :-)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-02-01 13:46 (UTC)
Subject:
Aww, thank you. (And yes, even in my sleep I'm good with time. Will often wake up 1-5 minutes before a set alarm, for example.)
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-02-01 13:49 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Oh, yeah, me too! It kind of annoys me. "Brain! I could have had three more minutes." I don't even set alarms for myself, unless I'm taking a sedative or something.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-02-01 13:52 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Yep. I only use alarms as backup, frankly, but I needed them until quite recently when my post-chemo recovery finally restored my time sense.

You may find this amusing, but the way I 'program' my internal clock for a wakeup time is to visualize myself in a stone-walled room, rather like a castle's dungeon, shouting down an oubliette that I need to wake up at a certain time. I'm very clear that this is me talking directly to the portion of my subconscious that supervises and maintains awareness when I am otherwise asleep. It's a very distinctive visualization. I've never seen what's down the hole, I just know it's part of me invisible in the dark.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-02-01 13:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's hilarious! My visualizations are not nearly so interesting. I just have this sort of clock face hovering just outside my vision. When I know I need to do something at a certain time, I see the hands of the clock at that particular time. I've always had a digital alarm clock, so for waking up, I see the numbers.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-02-01 13:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm at the other end: I sometimes find it hard to know if I exist or not. The world about me does things that I find strange or scary, people I know do things that seem to elide me, strangers act as if I'm literally not there. And I wonder if, in fact, it's because I really am not there.
And time... I've always had parallel times -- work time and home time, writing time, things-in-my-head time and so on -- and these don't connect at all. It's like I step from one to another, leaving the former one static until I return. I'm a collection of fugue states, none, perhaps, real. Because I, perhaps, am not real.
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Jay Lake: signs-never_give_up
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-02-01 13:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:signs-never_give_up
My dear, you are very real to me.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-02-01 15:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you. xx
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W. Lotus: Peaceful
User: wlotus
Date: 2012-02-01 14:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Peaceful
I have a great sense of place and a reasonable sense of time, though not as finely tuned as yours. That means I get antsy about how long it takes to get places and am easily irritated when my partner, who seems to have absolutely NO sense of time, moves too slowly for us to get somewhere on time. I do not like being late.
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joycemocha
User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-02-01 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My sense of elapsed time has improved since I've been teaching. The timing of lessons is part of the teaching knack, so that's improved. In the past I've not been able to time my waking and depended upon the alarm...now that's changed with age and routines.

I've always had a decent spatial awareness, especially out in the woods. Lots of practical woodcraft lessons as a kid, lots of time sidehilling in rough canyon country. About the only place I get turned around easily is at Hoyt Arboretum, where I've misplaced myself both times I've been in the Arboretum itself. There, I've gotten mildly lost--it's as if there's something disrupting my sense of place, which is unusual.

Hmm. I think there's a story in that (mine!).

As far as affecting my mood...I don't know that this is a factor for me. I run to the introverted side of things, and I've not always had the ability to project.
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scarlettina: Are we there yet?
User: scarlettina
Date: 2012-02-01 15:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Are we there yet?
I have a slightly better than average sense of place, I suspect. I often need one or two local cues to give me an idea of direction; once I have that I can navigate fairly well. If I don't have that, I'm unmoored and it's a little disconcerting. There's a trick I learned growing up on Long Island that has served me well in Seattle, too: When I'm lost, keep driving; when I hit water, I'm able to reorient. Obviously, this trick wouldn't work in, for example, Arizona, but then when am I ever in Arizona? :-)

I'd say I have a much better than average sense of time. I, too, can regulate my internal clock for waking up, and often have a pretty good idea of what time it is.

Does any of this affect my mood? Not really. Mood, for me, is far more dependent upon physical comfort, circumstances, environment, and company.
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2012-02-01 15:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"There's a trick I learned growing up on Long Island that has served me well in Seattle, too: When I'm lost, keep driving; when I hit water, I'm able to reorient. Obviously, this trick wouldn't work in, for example, Arizona, but then when am I ever in Arizona?"

But it would probably work in Pittsburgh, PA!


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barbarienne
User: barbarienne
Date: 2012-02-02 23:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm from Queens, and I've used the "drive 'til you hit water" tactic, too! I wasn't actually headed toward water (I was on Atlantic Avenue in East New York, headed east), but when I hit Sutphin Blvd I knew where I was and that was the same thing.
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llcoolvad: cold
User: llcoolvad
Date: 2012-02-01 15:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:cold
I have a terrible sense of place. I don't get lost, exactly, but I never go the most efficient way. I drive routes I've been before, as I find it hard to visualize where I am and how to get where I want to go. So I just go old, established ways. My mother and ex both have the savant-like ability to be dropped in a foreign country and find the way home without any trouble. Irritating!

My sense of time is ok. I'm aware of the passage of time when I am awake, I am on time to things, but I can wake up in the middle of the night and be completely surprised by what time it is.

This only affects my mood when others comment on how bad my sense of direction is and I get self-conscious about it. Haven't given a lot of thought to how it affects the way I project into the world.
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2012-02-01 15:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I rarely feel totally lost. Even recently I misjudged and made a wrong turn later than I should have that took me into an unfamiliar neighborhood but I knew if I kept going uphill that I would find the street I needed and I did. After several T's where I just kept turning uphill. But, I feel better about being able to quickly become "unlost" because I have a smartphone with GPS capability. I've used it in a couple of situations where I just didn't want to take the time using the trial and error method of getting myself out of a wrong turn or trying to turn around on narrow city streets. I think I developed this because at the start of my learning to drive in Pittsburgh, the street signs were often non-existent or poorly placed so most directions were by landmarks or landmarks that were no longer there! LOL!

I think I have a pretty good sense of elapsed time but not finely honed.

I am a very visual person for navigation and orientation. So having the Google Streetview capability is very helpful to me in finding places now.
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muntahz
User: muntahz
Date: 2012-02-01 15:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Place - once I have been someplace I can find my way back. My brain layouts locations like maps. It is like that with regard to meetings as well. I can recall what people were wearing, where we were, and even what was going on that day. My memory is very good. After the car accident in 2009 my memory was impaired and I was terrified. Terrified! I would walk away from pans I had put on the lit stovetop. I would leave faucets on all over the house - I grew up in places where water is precious so this was not a norm in any way.
I still have odd momenst where my brain has to remap an area that was well known to me but is now a blank, but I am doing so much better.
Time is an odd aspect of me. I know what time it is in Europe and can figure local time off that detail. As I kill watches, drain their batteries or lock up their works, I rarely wear them. Happily I married a man who is always within a few minutes of the correct time.
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2012-02-01 16:03 (UTC)
Subject: mood
Also what affects my mood is mostly my sense of autonomy/control --but that could be related. . .
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Jay Lake: signs-dont_jay_walk
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-02-01 21:47 (UTC)
Subject: Re: mood
Keyword:signs-dont_jay_walk
Yeah, autonomy is a pretty basic human need. ;)
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2012-02-01 17:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't think the place/time sense is associated with extroversion. I am an extreme introvert (who is capable of acting like an extrovert for limited periods of time). Yet I also have an extremely good sense of direction and time, although my time sense isn't quite as good as you say yours is.

FWIW: I thought your dream about being lost in Tokyo is funny, because of an experience I had there. Although I've been to Tokyo many times, I usually worry about going 'off the beaten path' of the precincts and train routes I know because even natives there get lost all the time. However, I once took a cab to the Tsukiji fish market and then decided to walk back to my hotel (about five miles). I figured if I got terminally lost I would just get a cab. As it turned out, my sense of direction worked perfectly and I homed onto my hotel without any issues; even though at one point I cut through a labyrinthian underground subway station in order to get around a major freeway that had no route across it.
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markbourne
User: markbourne
Date: 2012-02-01 18:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've never had a tack-sharp sense of place or direction, and even that has dulled the past couple of years. (Elizabeth has noticed that decline, and we suspect it's the one area of cognitive disruption caused by the events of '09, when truly severe cognitive damage was a legit concern. I was tested before leaving the ICU and all was A-OK. Still, these days I can't navigate worth shit and wonder if there's a connection.)

I'm also more introverted than I used to be, though whether there's a connection, I dunno. I think it has more to do with resurfacing old insecurities and anxieties than anything more concrete. Still, there have been times in my life when I yearned for a Magnetic North, literally and metaphorically, and I'm in one of those phases now, so maybe there's something there.

When I was performing more (acting, etc.) and really out there as a Hot New Writer, I was a great deal for extroverted and I could navigate my way out of a paper bag. Speaking of which, I really need to cut more air holes in this one ... feeling woozy .... trrygrrggghjunmk

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Karen
User: klwilliams
Date: 2012-02-01 19:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have an extremely poor sense of time and place, and miss obvious social cues. I'm also very confident in social and business settings because I'm extremely good at catching second level social cues, the kind that most people miss. I know who's having an affair, bluffing at cards, planning a coup, planning to attack me. It gives me confidence.
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mmegaera
User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-02-01 22:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Great sense of time, great sense of direction, off the introverted end of the scale.

I think you're just who you are, Jay. Quit trying to rationalize it [g].
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2012-02-02 00:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have a lousy sense of place-I can leave a store in a mall and not know which direction I came from.
I'm also a major introvert.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2012-02-02 12:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am all about time. It came from my early, and lengthy, love affair with radio, which also used to be all about time. (I've told you about my imaginary network that runs in my head, especially during boring meetings.) I have a pretty good sense of time, but it used to be better. Have an above-average number of clocks in the house, just in case.

Sense of place? Used to be better but is still okay.

Introvert. All the way. :)

Edited at 2012-02-02 12:45 pm (UTC)
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barbarienne
User: barbarienne
Date: 2012-02-02 23:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm an introvert, though people who don't know me would disagree with that claim. I guess there are times and situations when I'm extroverted (in the "gains energy from interacting" sense), but I wouldn't classify myself that way.

I have a spacial/navigational sense that is just this side of a superpower.

My time sense is average, I think. In familiar surroundings I can usually ballpark the time, but move me elsewhere, or put me in a box, and it falls apart. Example: in May of 2002 I was in Ireland. It was nearing sunset, so my mental clock said "7:30." I looked at my watch and saw it was pushing 9:30. The latitude difference wrecked my time sense.
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