Writing and Relativity

IS IT POSSIBLE that time is flexible rather than fixed?

I know. The idea flies in the face of everything we think we know about—-for example—-astrophysics, Carbon 14 dating and the mechanics of clock-making.

But how often have you complained to someone about how slowly the day is passing only to have them say “I was thinking the same thing.”  And we all know how slowly time passes when we’re waiting for an oil change, or how quickly an hour turns into two (or three) when we’re fooling around on-line.  Our language even has common words and phrases to describe the phenomenon. Time “flies” or it “drags;” an event “seems to last forever” or it “passes in a flash.”

I started wondering about this because May has been the most social my social life has been since before Christmas and yet I’ve done a lot more writing than I did in April, when I didn’t have much going on.

My guess is that most writers, being solitary folk, have social lives somewhere between “retiring” and “moribund.” Speaking for myself, unless I make an effort, I can find myself at the end of the week having barely left the house. Because I’ve set aside a few months to write; I feel, dammit, as if I should be writing.

But this month, for no particular reason, I made an effort, and my friends seemed to have the time and interest at the same time. I went on a garden tour, the ballet, several lunches and brunches and an art show. And the dissipation continues: I’m going to a decorator showcase (tomorrow) and the newest Star Trek movie (on Wednesday), a hike (on Thursday) and another brunch this Saturday.

Through all this, instead of having less time to write because I spent time with friends, I seemed to have more.  I would come home from whatever I’d been doing and I’d write for the same amount of time as I normally do on a day when all I’ve done is walk the dog and have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.

I’m just not sure how this happened unless time isn’t a constant. Same number of hours in a day. Different amount of stuff getting done. My new model has time resembling a length of elastic, with the same number of inches as an equivalent piece of string, but able to flex in places along its length.

Someone call Princeton and the New York Times.