Slip Slidin’ Away

I woke up this morning with a jolt. Thursday! I feel as if I’ve jumped a week. It’s not that I’ve been comatose or anything for seven days, I’ve done stuff. Lots of it. And I have a whole bunch more stuff to do today. The days are in fact pretty long, it’s the weeks that are short.

Back in the ’70s, Steve Miller wrote the classic line:

Time keeps on slippin’ into the future

I wonder what he makes of it now. I hadn’t heard the song in years, and the psychedelic backdrop of the YouTube montage drew the usual fauna. Some of the comments are hilarious, most reflect slightly (and in some cases severely) altered states of mind.

Song lyrics are often corrupted, and in this particular case a friend from way back always replaced the title line with “smoke like a beagle”, a tribute to the cancer experiments performed in England on the poor mutts. In some cases, lyrics are just misunderstood, and at one point there was a whole website devoted to those. My favorite was some poor soul who’d interpreted the last line in the chorus of Purple Haze as ‘scuse me, while I kiss this guy.

When my daughter was small, she thought Montserrat, in the Beach Boys’ classic Kokomo, was really Monster Rat―That Monster Rat Mystique. The island itself is a soul destroying experience. Like a visit to a scarred moonscape, dotted here and there with completely disoriented inhabitants, their home and livelihood completely destroyed by the 1995 volcano. Before that, the little outcropping in the Leeward Islands was a millionaire playground, and home to George Martin’s Air Studio, although a previous hurricane had already closed the facility. I was there a few years ago, and the few people left looked scared, lost, and above all, confused. As if in some kind of perverse therapy, they make a living by taking tourists to the high points of the disaster that obliterated their island.

Time fascinates me in the way that numbers do, because it is without beginning or end. And because it will defeat me. I hate losing, and time will win.

We have decomposed our lives into a kind of symphony of times, and defined both tiny intervals and eons, which may be relevant in technology, but are meaningless to the common man.

“I’ll be with you in a minute,” popular with restaurant waiters and airport clerks, speaks volumes about our disregard for time. Right now, once more, time has beaten me. I was thinking of talking of life models, and particularly about how a tree is able to live forever, which strikes me as a pretty neat trick. It does so by replacing cells, just as we do, but at some point we became too complex, and so after a while we just give up the ghost. If nothing else fells us, that ‘while’ corresponds to a certain number of heartbeats.

Time wins again, and I’ll need to pick up the pen again tomorrow.

Today, I plan on breathing slow.

The India Road QR links for smartphones: point your camera and click.


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