The elasticity of time is a concept mused upon at curious junctures. I’m sitting in the Sydney Airport and my flight has been delayed three times so far so this becomes such a juncture. I’m watching other planes depart and arrive in a parade of continuous movement. Despite the fact that some force has pressed the Pause button on my forward movement, others carry on.
On awaking this morning, there was a text announcing the first delay. My head quickly filled with the ramifications of this. This day could easily elongate – not as long as the day of the Lindt Café siege for its victims but definitely longer than what is the norm.
The mind has the power to choose how to respond to such circumstances. I opt for a coffee first and a muse over the puzzle page of the newspaper. The trick is to make the most over that over which you have no control.
A relaxed Uber to the airport, a positive chat to service staff to secure a later flight to Mount Gambier and a browse around the over-priced shops at the airport is in order. It is now time to write.
Meanwhile, my flight has been delayed for a fourth time. Calm is challenged yet again but the day was given over to the airline before I woke.
When you are busy or thoroughly enjoying life’s delights, time has wings and the speed of light. Conversely, waiting in Hospital Emergency or in the throes of prolonged labour, time takes on the weight of a wet bag of wheat being dragged up hill.
The day is glorious beyond the panoramic glass of the terminal. The wonder of flight is repeated before me over and over again, as one hefty plane after another miraculously rises into air and veers away toward its destination.
When my sister lay dying in a hospice, I wanted to reel time back as it ran down the track on Usain Bolt feet. As it unravelled, time simultaneously dragged too, with every rasping intake of breath and the eternal pause before air was released one more time. How long does it take to die? Answer: as long as each life’s piece of string.
How long does it take to complete a Sudoku, eat an apple or write a column? I will be able to tell you long before my flight becomes a reality.