Saturday, August 5, 2006


Time exists so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
Albert Einstein

There were moments in my childhood where I had it pretty rough. For example, my father used to make me wait at least an hour between eating a meal and being allowed back in the swimming pool.
This might sound like a reasonable request to you. You are obviously severely underestimating the fact that an hour to a seven-year-old girl – particularly one who loves being in the water - is like forever.
I would excuse myself from the table, brush by teeth, change my t-shirt, pace around, read a book, pretend to play chess, throw myself on the bed and count the bricks in the ceiling over my head.
How much longer now?

51 minutes.

Flash forward seven years. Chemistry class. 45 minutes of pure, hallucination inducing torture. I would stare at the clock over the blackboard. Draw my name in bold letters on the sides of my sneakers. Scribble a note and pass it to someone. Anyone? Raise my hand and ask permission to go to the bathroom. Saunter along the school hall, a paso de gallo - gallina (where you put the heel of your left foot right up against the toe of your right foot, then switch feet). Arrive at the lavatory. Rinse my face. Squash my nose against the mirror to see how I would look up really close. Find gum in my back pocket. Unwrap it. Put it in my mouth. Chew. Return to class.

38 minutes to go.

Now, I can’t seem to stop it. We have lunch with friends and calculate, incredulously, how long it’s been since we last saw each other. We promise our families we won’t let too much time go by without seeing them, and before we turn our backs on them at the airport, it’s been more than a year since our last trip. Early February, I was talking to a friend and asked how her baby was doing (feeling pretty proud I remembered she’d had one). “Dushka” she said, “he’s nine.”
Who came up with this thing we call time? Do we travel through it, or vice-versa? Who determines how fast or how slow it should go? Is it constant, or does it play tricks on us? Does it vary per individual? Does it exist at all?

The picture you see above was taken in 1966, three years before I was even born. It’s Luca and Fabio, his older brother. Luca’s mom swears to me her husband took it only yesterday.

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