Strolling Through a World of Unreality

5098440321_84c93062aa_mAll of us, at least I think all of us, have this odd sense of how quickly time seems to move.

“Are you sure this is only Tuesday?”

“I can’t believe it’s almost May.”

“I can’t believe the year went by so quickly.”

At the moment, though, I seem to be working through a period where the minutes, days, hours and weeks seem to dissolve into this rather hazy patchwork that seems more dream than reality.

It’s been this way since my father passed away three weeks ago yesterday. “Has it only been three weeks?”

In truth, I have felt less sadness or even anger than disbelief, as in the idea that he’s not really around doesn’t seem real yet seems like it’s been this way for ages. It feels more like the wispy edges of a dream, where the plot vaguely is remembered but the details are lacking.

The exception comes during a full-family event, like a mass birthday celebration this past weekend – the first since his passing – when there’s a rather significant hole in what otherwise is a fairly full house. Logically, of course he wasn’t going to be there. But if I spend more than 12 seconds on the idea, it doesn’t make sense that he wasn’t sitting on the Adirondack chairs on the back patio with the rest of the men.

It’s not just thoughts where he was concerned. In the days and weeks since, I have as my sportswriting alter ego covered a number of sporting events but I can’t really tell you much about of anything about any of them. Read the game stories and you’ll never know that I was there but wasn’t really there which, I guess, explains why I can’t recall more than a handful of details about all of them collectively.

What makes this more striking is that it’s not at all like me. I’m blessed (or cursed) with a sharp memory which, while fading somewhat now that I’m on the north side of 40, still can tell you idiotic trivia about games I’ve covered or even just attended. Want the regular lineup for the 1981 Dodgers? E-mail me and I’ll pass it on, without having to resort to

I can’t do that for what’s happened the past few weeks. There’s nothing there but a blur.

This isn’t a question of not being able to move forward from his passing; right or wrong, I was at Chase Field the next day covering a Diamondbacks spring training game. (I know they played the Reds. I know nothing else of the game.)

Every day I am putting my left foot in front of my right and vice versa and then again. By definition, those simple acts having me move forward though forward to what and from what seems little different. It’s a fog bank on either side and all I can see, barely, is the road scarcely in front of my shuffling feet.


Oddly enough, there seems to be an exception to the rule and that’s real estate.

My mind seems too fuzzy for the prospecting that needs to be done, which isn’t a great thing. And, frankly, I’ve not been in the mood for the interpersonal connections – the “business” lunches with past clients and such that are an integral part of this continuing business.

Other than that, the business of selling houses and the details attached to each transaction remain stand out from this fog like a beacon on a hill.

I can’t explain why. All I can do is be thankful that some portion of my brain at least is attuned to the thing that keeps a roof over our head and food on the table.

(Food … oh, don’t even ask about how hard I fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon these past three weeks.)

Never would I have projected real estate, given the whiplash-inducing highs and lows of the Phoenix market, to be a saving grace. And yet, it has been.

And so this is what I am holding onto, anchoring myself too, until this damned fog lifts the rest of the way.

I do this for me. And for you as well.

Photo credit: Garycycles4 via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at