Time speeds up and time sloooooooows down—or it appears to because waiting for the jury to come back with a verdict takes “forever” and the glee at the first sight of that big, piece of chocolate cake may pass before the second bite. It’s the perception of time that counts, more than its reality.
I’m on vacation right now and, as I write this, I’m sitting on a terrace watching—yes actually watching—the summer breeze turn a mobile. It slows down, it speeds up and I’m all-but-hypnotized by the circular motion. At home, I stare out the window of my favorite coffee bar, watching the street scene, but staring at the mobile in the wind is a meditative experience. I bet my heart rate and blood pressure are low and slow, too.
Is this the eerie calm before the storm or sedentary yoga?
In fiction, slowing things down to heighten tension or racing through a series of events in order to create action in a passive passage of text are classic ploys. In life, we experience time in unique and eccentric fashions. A knitter friend “makes something” while relaxing and watching TV. Being productive balances any qualms she might feel about whiling away an afternoon.
When I see someone knitting, I often think of Agatha Christies’ Miss Marple. The older lady sleuth solved complicated crimes while making sweaters for babies. I think Miss Marple’s flashing fingers and lightning fast brain were working at warp speed, while she sat nearly still.
There’s an ant racing across my keyboard. Where is he running to and why is he in a hurry?