Artwork by Darren Tunnicliff
Thought for the Week
My friend Allen once wrote a script about a fast-food stand. In one scene, a smart, ambitious teenage girl slaps at coins, attempting to make “quick” change for her customers. The annoyed customers watch as she drops their change on the floor, hurls their burgers into a bag, and tears their receipts in half—all in roughly twice the time the chatty airhead at the next register takes. Yet the ambitious girl honestly believes she’s “saving time.”
It recently struck me that, even though I’m well beyond sixteen and very much of the male persuasion, I’m that teenage girl. My hyperactive metabolism, coupled with years of diligent practice, have programmed me to race about bumping into things, trying to do two or three things at once, sloppily and badly, rather than one thing smoothly and well.
And so, as an experiment, I began forcing myself to stop and take long, deep breaths every time I caught myself hurrying. Only then, after thinking “what’s next?” would I allow myself to thoughtfully and intentionally resume my activity.
At first, these pauses seemed wasteful, extravagant, even if they did hold a certain indefinable peace. But oddly enough, I discovered that, in those “spaces-between-the-spaces,” time seemed to pause with me, and then to resume when I resumed. I know this defies the laws of economics, but I’m finding that:
When I take time, rather than “save” time, I gain time.
Near the ending of The Time Machine, one of my favorite movies as a kid, the inventor of the titular device disappears into the future. His housekeeper asks where he’s gone, and his best friend replies, “I don’t know, but he has all the time in the world.”
Time doesn’t follow the laws of economics, it follows the same mysterious laws that made us, and occupies the same spaces we occupy. In fact, it’s a part of us—we are time machines. So when we take time, we gain time. And we find…
We have all the time in the world.