Time is an elusive thing.
It’s kind of like the wind in that you can’t see it but you can certainly see its effects.
I mean we can certainly measure time well enough by clock, calendar and carbon dating and there’s numerous ways to measure the wind, from miles per hour to the hurricane scale to whimsical words like zephyr and breeze.
And although I’m sure there are meteorological reasons for wind, time isn’t as easily defined or explained, but it’s suffice to say it’s Mother Nature’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once and things are in some kind of orderly fashion. Mothers are like that.
But it seems to be as I get nearer to 60 and further away from 16 there’s some accelerator factor going on here. The minutes, days, weeks, months and years go by so quickly and so unexpectedly you wake up one day (which is a good thing) and you’re, well, old (it should be noted that I’m not quite 60 yet but I like to tell people “I can’t believe I’m sleeping with a 60-year-old” – most people laugh, my wife, not so much).
Life was slower as a child, maybe because we didn’t feel responsible for everything and there wasn’t all this instant gratification stuff like the Internet and Facebook and Snapchat.
I don’t think there’s a similar factor at play with wind speed, it seems about the same as it was in the ’70s but who knows maybe climate change has screwed that up too.
Anyway what I’d like to know is why if we’ve invented all these time-saving devices are we so strapped for, well, time?
I mean we don’t have drive-in restaurants anymore, where you’d park and eat your dinner in your car.
It’s a positively quaint concept at this point where now we honk our horn if the car in front of us at the drive-thru takes too long deciding what to take home for supper.
We have washers and dryers that are much faster and more efficient (especially than beating clothes on the rocks down by the river), we have dishwashers that eliminate one of the biggest chores of my youth (although now kids fight over unloading the dishwasher), we have microwaves that can zap a meal in five minutes, and we have all kinds of prepared meals available from the supermarket.
Then there’s take-out and dining out and something called Skip the Dishes, which all stand for no one’s cooking tonight.
I heard a story on the radio this week about how condo developers are considering designing units without ovens because the next generation doesn’t use them. Plus it saves space.
Yikes. I get it, but it also might be a sign of the apocalypse.
I used to think the ever-increasing number of blades on men’s razors was a sign of the apocalypse (I think the meter is at five or six right now and when it gets to 10 we’re all in trouble) as we hand over 50 bucks for a pack of 10 cartridges.
I’d like to see the evidence that a razor with one or two blades doesn’t do just as good a job as one with five or six (I thought Trac II was the pinnacle, and maybe even a con job way back then).
But now I think it might be bagged salad. I mean who thought we were all so lazy or time-strapped or unmotivated that we couldn’t even rip up our own lettuce? Well whoever it was was dead-on and we’re paying for it.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not being high and mighty here.
I hate making salads and if there’s a salad to be made, and my wife for some reason won’t do it, I’m all over a bagged salad.
I’m just saying I don’t think anyone went broke underestimating the need, the desire, the demand, maybe even the lust, for convenience.
So, again what do we do with all that extra time all of the above has given us?
Well, that’s the thing about technology, not only has it allowed us to do everything faster and more efficiently, it’s also provided outlets to fill all that free time that used to be dedicated to the necessities of life.
For instance, we can binge on Netflix, we can post our kid’s latest misadventure on Facebook, we can watch cute pet videos on YouTube, we can see what stupid thing Trump said on cable TV, we can catch a discussion of the stupid thing Trump said by various talking heads on numerous 24-hour news channels, we can text, we can check our phone 50 times a day to see if we missed something, we can surf the Net…or we can ponder how time seems to be slipping away on us.
Glenn Mitchell is the former editor of The Morning Star.