I’ve been fascinated by the concept of time, lately. Or was it lately?
At first, I thought it was just me but the more I hear from people the more old clichés become profound:
“I don’t know if it’s Tuesday or Sunday.”
“It seems like yesterday we watched Unorthodox.”
This is a true story: I needed to report a questionable ATM charge to the bank. They said it would take 10 days. So, on Thursday, after what appeared to a be ages, I called the bank to put some pressure on and reminded them about the 10-day window. The rep pressed a few keys and told me that 10 days is up next Tuesday.
That’s what time is in the time of Corona. It’s all screwed up but the distortion we feel is real.
It must be how prisoners feel and it’s also how they may endure. Each day we put another notch on the wall, like the Bird Man of Alcatraz did, biding our time.
Somehow it feels as if we put in our time, hang in there, suspend our lives for a while, we’ll come out the other end uncertain but unscathed.
The events that marked one day from another don’t exist anymore. The dinners out, the appointments in the city, going to a wedding, a movie, a religious service, visiting friends, attending classes. There’s no equivalent to “Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day.”
Every day is the same: sleep late, breakfast, do a bit of writing, a little work, watch as little news as possible, practice guitar, run, have dinner, see something on Netflix, talk to Danny, my brothers, maybe a Zoom call, eat a couple of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies. Rinse and repeat. Peggy’s day is pretty similar.
We’ve all had experiences where things seem to go faster and slower.
“That movie went so fast” or “that movie took forever.” Same time, different perspective.
To me, time doesn’t seem to be going fast or slow, necessarily as much as it seems suspended, as if it doesn’t exist.
My suspicion is that most of us, with the major and sad exception of those of us who are caught up in dealing with the disease and its manifestations, feel pretty much the same.
Einstein thought time was an illusion. There is only now. James Taylor sang, in his great song, “Secret O’ Life,” is that time isn’t really real. (Although the older you get the notion of time does seem more real and urgent these days.)
Even if time isn’t real, one of the great ironies may be, we will all have a greater appreciation of time when this is all over.
This post was shorter to give you time to listen to these tunes. They’re linked:
Secret O’ Life by James Taylor
Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is? by Chicago
Time is On My Side by The Rolling Stones