Time Cannot be Captured

Some hours and minutes speed by, while others have the earmarks of extraordinarily slow motion, inching along as if time were trapped in a viscous jelly. The difference between the two sensations of time is impossible for me to capture in words. Only by imagining how it might feel—to quickly empty the air from one’s lungs and then slowly fill them again with congealed air—can one get a sense of how such days unfold. The excruciating, impossibly slow moments feel like one must gasp for oxygen. When moments alternate between the fiction of warp speed and the reality of geologic time, the experience defines fatigue in physical terms.

The casual observer, watching someone else experience time in these ways, does not notice the wear and tear taking place. Everything is normal; nothing seems out of the ordinary. For that reason, I think the experience must not be real. But on the inside looking out, the experience is as real as an experience can be. Two distinct dimensions must be at play, although they intersect only in one direction.

Clearly, on reading what I have written, a description of the passing of time at radically different speeds is impossible for me to accurately record. The closest “normal” experience that mirrors it must be childhood versus old age. Seconds and minutes in childhood are equivalent to decades in old age. “Old age” sounds so ugly and used up; there is no attractive term for it, though. “Golden years” is a trite expression. “Senior” is the same. All in all, though, it’s about equivalent moments, taking place at different speeds in the same spans of time.

Speaking of time, I must use mine wisely. Time to shower and shave and get dressed. Then, off to the hospital. One of those slow experiences taking place at the speed of light.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Time Cannot be Captured

  1. Geezer-In-Waiting says:

    As I became a great uncle yesterday, I am feeling less and less comfortable with the expressions “Old Age”, “Senior”, etc…

  2. Pat Newcomb says:

    You packed a lot into a small space today. Here’s a mind experiment in the same vein: As we get older, each new day, week, month, year becomes a smaller portion of our life. To a 69 year old, the coming year will be 1/70th of a life – ten years ago that year would have been 1/60th of a life. Does it SEEM as if time goes more quickly because indeed it is a smaller portion of my experience?

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