Sunday, 13 November 2011

Speed it Up Already!

It is one of the remarkable experiences of aging that when we are young we wish that time would hurry up and when we get there we often wish that it would slow down. I hear it all the time. "Where did this year go?" or "Boy how time has flown." We are inundated with platitudes like "Stop and smell the roses" and frankly, for the most part I am with them. I am living the cliches. It really does seem like yesterday that I was changing diapers and now I look up to grown men. I ache more in the morning, am continually devising clever ways to cover my greying roots and creviced laugh lines, and I definitely struggle harder to keep off the winter layer of insulation. Thirty years has passed and honestly I hardly noticed. I wish like most of us that I could have lived it in slow motion. At least I have the highlight reel of videos and photographs.

But then there are the times that I honestly wish I could speed up the universe. These are the times when I don't want to live in the moment, but rather get past it all as quickly as possible so that I can move onto the more important things that life has to offer-like the roses!

  • I absolutely loathe standing in line at the check-out counter at the grocery store. In fairness, some stores have figured out how to streamline the experience with automated computer check outs and easy to carry storage bins instead of grocery bags, but all in all the entire escapade is an exercise in wasted time. I hate it when cashiers examine my purchases. "Oh cool-Tempe! How do you cook that?" I hate the cashier who seems to think that I have all day to watch her pack my bags. I hate it when customers in front of me act stunned when they realize that they actually have to pay for their purchases and suddenly go rooting around in their pockets or purses for exact change. I hate the coupon clipper who probably spent $5.00 in gasoline to drive to the store in order to save .05¢ on their purchase. Speed it up already and let me get on with my life.
  • Do political campaigns really need to drag on for as long as they do? The Republican contenders for the presidential nomination will spend up to two years, millions of dollars, endless debates, thousands of robo-calls, and a lot of wasted oxygen in order to be anointed the last person standing to challenge President Obama. Given the low level of talent available in this clown car, it might be quicker if they all just thumb-wrestled each other with a "winner take all" scenario prevailing. I can't imagine a greater waste of time. Get on with it already and let us all get on with our lives.
  • Do you know anybody who says to their dentist "Please slow down so that I might embrace this moment?" How about to their physicians during a particularly invasive examination? No I think that these are certainly times that could use a little kick in the ass.
  • Don't you hate it when driving home late at night, you are the only vehicle at the stoplight and the damn thing takes forever to turn green? Don't tell me that you haven't at least have been tempted to run the red. Why can't the city better time these intersections at off-hours so that one doesn't have to wait for what seems like an eternity all the while burning precious gasoline and life moments? Hurry up already.
  • There are two minutes left in the game and your team is up by 1. The other team is coming on like gangbusters, shots and bodies are flying everywhere, your heart is racing at such a dangerously high pace that it feels explosive inside your chest cavity, and yet the seconds tick down as if they were hours. If ever we wanted time to disappear, it is during these incidents. I mean, really. How is it possible for anybody to score a goal in 0.1 seconds? Get with it!
Intellectually I know that time passes at the same rate every day, every year. It is all in our perceptions of events that dictates whether it is passing quickly or slowly. We want to savour the extraordinary and bypass the mundane. I suppose that the answer to the conundrum of this temporal tempest is to recognize when the mundane is actually extraordinary and when the extraordinary is merely mundane. Maybe then we won't feel as though our lives are wasted or passing us by.