Einstein’s theories can be difficult to grasp, but let’s give the one about time and relativity a try.
Without getting into all the stuff that’s over my head, I think it boils down to something like this: The older you get, the quicker time flies.
Think about it. We’re in the stretch run for 2012. Wasn’t New Year’s Day just a couple of weeks ago?
That’s relativity for you. When you’re 10 years old, a year seems like practically forever, because it represents 10 percent of your life. Today, that percentage is a lot less. But I’m starting to think the clock actually is ticking faster, because all a sudden I’m starting to show up late for stuff. In my family, if you’re not half an hour early for something, you’re late. For Mom and Dad, timeliness is next to godliness.
So I try to carry on the tradition by allowing a reasonable amount of minutes to make it from Point A to Point B. What worked fine in the past, though, isn’t doing the trick nowadays. Must be that time theory thingie.
Or maybe we don’t have to involve Einstein at all, unless he came up with this one: Traffic and construction make you late to your function.
Obviously, the price of gasoline has deterred few, if any, folks in their mission to be somewhere. And interrupting traffic flow is no deterrent to the powers that be taking backhoes and jackhammers to the streets.
I thought that constantly being thwarted by road closures and gridlock was my own bad luck, until I started hearing everyone else’s stories. Here’s one that a personality on my favorite radio station told last week.
Seems he was on his way to Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference and attempted to reach the Steelers’ South Side facility by traveling through Mt. Washington. When he tried the most expedient route he knew, he ran into a construction site that forced a detour. He doubled back and drove another direction, but met with more roadwork.
Eventually he wormed his way out of the labyrinth and was about to make a left-hand turn to reach his destination with moments to spare. Just then, a funeral procession started down the other lane, delaying his turn until it was too late. He ended up driving home while trying to catch as much of the press conference as he could on his station.
Sound familiar? Certainly, except for the Tomlin part. If you want to keep an appointment as scheduled, you’d better double your travel time. Then cross your fingers.
Or just treat punctuality as a quaint notion that’s gone the way of tipping your hat.
Einstein won’t mind. He’s been dead since 1955. Seems like he figured out everything he needed to know about time except how to stop it.
Harry Funk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.