Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rip Van Winkle syndrome (or I wish I were the Flash)

by Michael Dymmoch

When she retired, my mother told me she never had enough time to do all she wanted. Since I was juggling a house, a job, a kid, and a writing career, I thought she was crazy. Now, not so much. I retired. I traded my house for a condo (no lawn to mow; no driveway to shovel; Maintenance washes the windows). My kid grew up and became self-sufficient. Now I never have enough time.

It’s not just that the pace of life has quickened. Scientists have evidence that age related changes in our nervous systems slow nerve transmission and subsequent response time. Old people don’t just seem slower; they are.

Some days I feel like one of those Sci-Fi characters who’s stepped through a portal to a place where time passes at a fraction of “normal” speed. When—after a day’s sojourn—she returns to her own world, twenty years have passed. I sit down to look something up on the internet, or write a letter or… When I next look at the clock, two or three hours, or a whole day, sometimes an entire week has passed.

Writing is sometimes like that.

Reading is almost always like that if the book is good. But that’s not a bad thing.