Persistence of Time

Where does the time go when it’s not around here?  Those words haunted me for years because it’s similar to something that I used to ask of the world around me.

As a child, it seemed like time was something we had in abundance.. like every precious minute would last an hour if we were having fun.  Within minutes of getting home from school I would cycle around to all my friends’ houses on my BMX and we would all travel down to the local track to practice our freestyle.

When we had exhausted ourselves of each trick… failing, falling, perfecting… we’d cycle the few miles back to our village and hang out on whichever street corner would have us that evening.  We’d sit there with our chips and Vimto, chatting for what seemed like a lifetime about how Eddie “The Flying Banana” Fiola and Bob Haro were breaking new ground every week on the Kellogg’s BMX Freestyle Championships.  Nothing else mattered… we wanted to be those guys, at all costs.

By the time we dispersed to our own homes, it was maybe 9pm… only five hours after we initially met up together, and yet we’d achieved so much and had so much fun together, as well as a hearty (if slightly unhealthy) meal.

At the time, those hours meant nothing – none of us wore a watch, none of us had a curfew to speak of and we only went home because we were satisfied that we’d achieved whatever we’d set out to do that evening.  Another hour in front of the TV with some toast and a cup of tea, and it was time for bed so we were refreshed in the morning for another day of school… and so they cycle continued.

What happened along the way?

Time alters as you get older, and precious minutes are stolen from every hour while you’re busy worrying about workloads or keeping up contact with your friends.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get to sit down to dinner around 6pm and by 7pm you’ll be busy doing whatever it is you plan on doing that night.  After what seems like only a few minutes, a quick glance to the clock jolts you as you realise it’s almost 10pm.  It can’t be. It was only 7pm when you last looked, and yet somehow those minutes disappeared forever and you’re already worrying about the next working day ahead.

Sometimes the mere thought of how the evening has vanished is enough to make me just want to go to sleep at that precise moment, in the hope that my dreams will be enough to convince my subconscious that I actually experienced something wonderful that day.   Most evenings I will simply rebel against time and my body’s impending defiance by forcing another three or four hours out of the day by placing myself in bed in front of the TV and watching whatever I can possibly find… anything… just as long as it takes up enough time to produce some semblance of a worthwhile passing of time.

The irony in this posting is that it’s 10pm and I’ve been staring between all three monitors for the last three hours.  Every now and again my eyes will flick to the left monitor as a new email comes in and I’ll either file it away or junk it.  I’ll then move back over to the main screen where I’m randomly surfing the web and nipping back to Facebook to see if anyone else has managed to do anything with their time, all the while darting my eyes to the right hand monitor where I’ll randomly select another track to listen to from my playlists.  Ultimately, I have achieved nothing… attempted nothing, and allowed the seconds to become minutes and, eventually, hours.

This isn’t how it was supposed to be though, don’t get me wrong.  I had planned to spend a couple of hours drumming and recording, but time slipped away as usual.  Now I arrive at the realisation that I’ve spent my evening wondering what to do with my time, yet I’ve left myself with no time to actually do anything about it.  My thoughts of how time vanishes while we’re wondering what to do with it prompted me to write this blog… and so another hour of my life has disappeared, never to return.

If I had the ability to go back in time… would I travel back to when I was a child and the minutes would last days, or merely to 7pm this evening?

Last five articles by Mark R


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