Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Times flies. Are you having fun?

I remember a book I read summers and summers ago.  Actually, remember is a bit of a stretch, because I don’t, but ingrained indeliably through the fog of time is a particular quote.  It has stuck with me for over a decade.  I found it so profound I stopped reading, reached from my bunk in a caravan somewhere in a field in Southwold, where I was performing that summer, grabbed my purple inked pen and wrote it down on the front page of my turquoise leather-bound diary (I have always had a penchant for turquoise, and leather, and luxurious stationery.)

Organic pathways. This contains ethanol. How do I not remember it?
I’m glad I did write it down, for otherwise, it would be lost, swirling within the dark coils of the forgotten, along with organic pathways, how to ask for help to change a tyre en francais, and how to disassemble a SA80 rifle; things that only a French-accented hypnotist with a big pocket watch could help me access now.

My eyes snapped magnetically to the quote like an iron filing.  I suppose I liked it so much, because I am, at the core, a romantic, and long, run-on sentences bursting and crumpling like a soufflé of desperate emotion, just GET me.  They stab me in the heart and twist the knife like a Calabrese, they churn my intestines as if through a meat grinder, they suck the air from my alveoli and leave me breathless.  They strike me like a bowling ball, straight and true, and leave me scattered.

Par example mes petits lapins, in Dirty Dancing, when Baby confides to Johnny, in a helpless, heart-pouring way, “Me? I’m scared of everything!  I’m scared of who I saw, what I did, who I am.  But most of all, I am scared of walking out of this room and never feeling my whole life, the way I feel when I am with you.”  Surely, surely, one of THE most stomach-flipping lines in modern cinema.  (And I could type it without even looking it up.)  (Should I admit to that?)

Here is the clip, in it's I-recorded-this-on-my-camcorder-in-the-basement-of-my-parent's-home-where-I-never-leave-and-I-wear-a-snuggie glory.  Apologies for the quality of this, the better ones were all protected, this one wasn't.  And it shows.  But, pah!  At least those of you who read that quote and wondered what I was gibbering on about, will now know.

Now, don’t get your hopes up.  This is not a line of such erupting emotion, but as quotes go, it is one that resonates with me as strongly now as it did over a decade ago in a caravan in Southwold. 

“Time.  I’m so scared of time.  That suddenly the portion in front of me will be smaller than the one behind me.”

I am terrified of wasting time.  I type this blog after over five hours waiting  for my flight in Fort Lauderdale airport courtesy of Jet Blue—oh, I had the Jet Blues alright—so it’s on my mind.  You know I don’t like my time to be wasted.  And, if you don’t know how much this offends me, I refer you to TIME WANKERS: I'm Waitinggggggg!  I suppose time is even more of a kick in the arse as I am paralysed, like actually deer-in-the-headlights-frozen that, at 32, the majority of my eggs have been cooked. Poached? Scrambled? Fried? Fertilized? So, you know, I am just a lil' bit ancy pantsy about time.
My zen friends tell me to live in the moment.  Ah.  Sweet.  That’s just peachy.  Sure, I’ll go with the flow!  Look Ma, this is me, going-with-the-flow, no hands, unplanned, I’m just letting it be. 

Phooey.  If I don’t have a plan with a deadline, however am I ever going to have something to aim for, something to achieve?
I had goals this year.  I sincerely thought that two years since signing my retainer, this would be the year.  The magic P. year.  (And no, I don’t mean pregnancy, I mean the book baby, the book baby!)  But here we are.  It’s December.  How the fuck did that happen?  Was I sleep-living through the last eleven months?  Did aliens kidnap me, probe me (we are talking Aliens here, and I have just watched Paul) and did these little green men steal my time from me?  (And my eggs?)

Why is it that we all say, “OH! December! The years go faster every year!”  No they fucking don’t.  I’m a scientist, and I know I have the same 365 days to use or waste as everyone else, but yet, IT’S DECEMBER, HOW. CAN. THIS. BE?  (No, am not forgetting Leap Years.  Don’t be pedantic.)

Ennie-ana Jones, bringing it back.
It’s not just me, right?  Tell me that I am not the only one who has been alien-ated by the space-time continuum?   Why is it that the sands of time are running out before my eyes?  It can’t be that I’m busier than ever, because retirees who mark their days by seasons of what shows are on, say it: “Oh, the year’s just flown by!”  Where?  Where has it flown?  I want to go to there and rescue it back.  I’ll throw my Indiana Jones hat on, my new trusty brown leather riding boots, my rope and my rifle (which I’ll try to remember how to assemble) and I’ll rescue it all back!  I’ll lasso it and bring it home, along with my thyroid, my cocker spaniel, my grandparents, the man I love so much I can hardly breathe.  All the things I have lost and so desperately want back.
Just give me the address.
Or failing that, answer me this: why does time fly faster?  How can I slow it down?  Not death, obviously.  That’s not all that appealing right now, thanks.  But why does my life flash before my eyes?  How do I live "in the moment," when so much is swirling around like a tornado and slurping down the friggin' pipe like a thirsty, deprived Catholic on spring break?  
And why are tears so, so salty?  I want it back.  I want it all back.


  1. The slipping sands of time torment us all, a little differently, but the same. Poets from Carly Simon to Pink Floyd to Hootie and the Blowfish have lamented, cautioned and reminded us that time waits for no man – or woman – or egg.

    But the question remains: How do we cope with the inexorable March of Time in the context of our [ever evolving] hopes and dreams?

    We try our best, we live in the moment, and we forgive our daily shortfalls to fight another day – if we’re lucky. There’s not much else we can do.

    And in between the madness of all of the above, we must be sure to recognize those moments when we’re happy, because to postpone happiness for some later date – for some future event or crowning achievement – is to truly throw away that valuable gift of time, and with it, that one and only life we’ve been given.

  2. Am channeling my inner Scarlett O'Hara and reminding myself of the mantra, "tomorrow is another day."

    Thank you for reminding me, Don, that the time I spend searching my navel for the answer, I am missing the moments I should be savouring.
    And maybe contemplating how my life is falling short of the grand plans I had envisaged, I AM missing the good bits, or, at least, expending too much salt water when I should be writing.

    And tonight, I put the closing song, Cry to Me, on the juke box, and Michaela and I danced our cares away. Good times with great friends. Timeless.