Sunday, November 23, 2008

Relatively Speaking

When I was a kid Christmas came once a year. Each Christmas was separated by three hundred and sixty-five very, very, very, very, very long days.

I'm convinced clocks ran slower back then.

Tick ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Tock ... ... ... ... ... ...

The build-up to Halloween was nearly as bad, but once the trick-or-treating was over, there was an enormous span of time to Thanksgiving and an even longer wait for Christmas.

Today, it's, like, everyday I wake up it's Christmas! The alarm goes *beep* and it's Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas! Part of this accelerated time phenomenon is due to our merchant and marketing friends starting the big push for holiday shopping earlier and earlier.

At one store this October I spied tiny fake Christmas Trees (oh, pardon me, "artificial" Christmas Trees.) (No, wait, "realistic, environmentally friendly" Christmas Trees) lurking behind the candy displays. Ready to spring into action as soon as the calendar read "November." Sure enough, by November 1st peals of Christmas music wafted from every speaker in every store in every part of the country.

"Christmas is here! Christmas is here!" they blared.

"Don't worry about that turkey behind the curtain. That's only Thanksgiving and we'll blast through that in no time. And, speaking of No Time, it's NO TIME like the PRESENT to buy your Christmas PRESENTS!!!"

And so it goes.

A few days ago I overheard a little kid talking with his Mom about the holiday season. He was quite excited and big-eyed, but serious like kids are at that age.

"Mom," the kid implored, "Thanksgiving is a whole week away, then it's a month, Mom, A MONTH until Christmas!"

Mom was being patient but I'm sure she's heard this refrain before.

The kid continued, "Why can't Christmas be tomorrow, Mom? Huh? Why do we have to wait a WHOLE MONTH."

I think Mom was about to deliver the Let's Not Be Greedy Lecture #276, so I moseyed along.

On reflection, though, I realized the kid had a point. The calendar is fixed, isn't it? Time moves along at Time's speed, doesn't it?

Or does it?

When I was a kid I moved at the speed of light. I ran everywhere I went. There was no "walk." It was stop (no, wait, I forgot fidget) or go. And, go fast.

As we all know from Einstein's Theory of Relativity, for a stationary observer, time appears to slow down for a moving traveler. The faster the traveler goes, the more time appears to slow down.

Thus and ergo, for a kid moving fast, fast, fast, and ever faster, time appears to slow down. Christmas does take a longer time to come around relatively speaking for a kid.

Fast forward (that's a joke, son!) to when you're older and slowing down and time speeds up! At first you don't notice it. It's Spring, Summer, Autumn and Christmas. Then it's Spring, Autumn and Christmas. Then it's Spring, Christmas, until, finally it's Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! Every day. Every minute. Every second.

Faster and faster and faster!

Suddenly you look around and you're covered in scarves and socks and underwear and fondue sets and puzzles and toy trains. It's chestnuts roasting jingle bells frosty the snowman hark the herald pa-rum-pa-rum-rum.

What to do? I need to put a cork in this bottle, but is it too late? I think not. I have a plan.

Tomorrow I'm going for a run. Einstein's going with me.

Join us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jess is of the stop/fidget/gogogo variety. Except for when she's getting ready for school. Then she's positively glacial.

I've noticed frustrated parents using the "Santa only brings presents to the GOOD girls and boys" line a LOT earlier this year. Personally I don't have to resort to that one because Jess knows that the little plastic box in the corner of the room, just near the ceiling? That's nothing to do with the burglar alarm, hell no. That's Santa's CCTV. And every time that little red light blinks, it means he's watching you.