Yesterday was Saturday and, for reasons best left unexplored, we drove through the same town we had driven through on the Saturday before. Are you with me so far? While driving through the town yesterday, the revelation came to me with something akin to a blinding flash of light.
“Wait,” I said, to Patricia, who was alongside me in the shotgun seat.
“It’s been a week.”
“What’s been a week?”
I could hardly say it. It had been a week since we last drove up this street in this town. A full week. Seven days. But it couldn’t have been. It simply couldn’t. It seemed like yesterday or, at the very most, the day before yesterday. Not a week. Not an entire week.
Sorry to prattle on about this, about something that I reckon we all experience all the time. It’s just that this particular instance of it was so pronounced. It was remarkable. So here I am, as I do, remarking on it.
It wasn’t like a memory-loss thing, or anything like that. I audited my week a little as I drove along, and it was all there. University Challenge, lots of work, first rehearsal, power outage, Sky box going up the Swanee, chips on Friday and here, in the car again, in this town, one Saturday later. No amnesia, no dotage.
I was at a thing a few weeks back and, on the back of a nice discussion about time travel movies, the idea of the actual viability of time travel came up. One of my favourite people, a committed scientist, patiently explained why time travel simply was not possible and stoically weathered the ensuing storm of the Back to the Future fanatics shaking their heads and saying, ‘But it might be. It might.’ Afterward he took me aside and whispered an explanation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to me and, truth be told, I was not much the wiser afterward. I’m more of a smart-arse than an intellect. The complexity of time eludes me.
Except in practical, day-to-day terms. Time moves slowly sometimes. It drags along and we look at the place where we used to wear our watches and wish that things would hurry the hell up. That certainly happens sometimes. But generally, time moves fast. Time flies and it sometimes blinds us how very fast it can go.
I find if I’m moving fast, time goes quickly and if I’m moving slowly time goes slowly, except when I look back on the slow time it also seems to have gone pretty darned quickly.
(Hopefully, by now, you’ll have gone past the sneaking suspicion and reached the firm conclusion that there isn’t going to be any sensible resolution to this little musing. The object of this weekly exercise is to reflect a little on something-or-other that happened in the week preceding. And, although the aforementioned power-cut, Sky box breakage and the Friday chips are all events ripe for further exploration, the fact remains: this past week went bloody fast.)
In maths, you do a little sum, and it leads you to a bigger sum. (I’m about as good on maths as I am on Relativity). If the little sum is that the week commencing 11th Oct 2021 flew, then the bigger sum is also one we are all very familiar with.
Life is short.
It’s a week for stating the obvious, isn’t it? We should make it a national holiday. One where we all sit around remarking on how green the grass is or how wet that water is. I bet that day might drag a bit, at least until it was over and then it would seem like it actually went… oh, you get the point.
But time does fly, and life is short. This week proved it or reminded me of it or… something like that anyway.
In another chat from the past couple of weeks, I defiantly proclaimed myself to be middle-aged. The reply I got was a bit smart but also a bit thought-provoking.
“Well done,” the person replied, “I’ll see you when you’re 116.”
It’s true, innit? At 58, I’m not going to see the same span again. In truth, I’ll be lucky to see another fifteen years.
And time is flying.
And I don’t do very much. I work and make some dinners and watch a little TV and fall asleep on the couch and tumble to bed and get up and work. And the weeks and the months and the years roll around and, like that past week, you sometimes wonder where they went and how they did it so quickly.
This is the end. No, not that end. The end of the piece. Ideally, I would come out of this with some resolve, some drive to do better. If I can’t slow time down (and I can’t) then I should do more with my allocation. As they said in that movie (when the guy quoted Jack London) “I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
Yes, I should do some of that. I should ‘Ride, boldly ride’ like they said in that other film.
But I probably won’t. I think I live my life more from song quotations than movie quotations so I’ll just ‘keep on keepin’ on’, as I do. No great revisions to the script, no great reinvention, just 'keep on keepin’ on.' That’s all…
…but, man, that week went quickly, didn’t it?