Backchat With Cat­boy

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - CONTENTS -

Our man on the ra­dio is run­ning out of time

BBoy, this week is go­ing fast. In fact, this month is go­ing fast. No, scrub that. This year has flown by. The same goes for the mil­len­nium. If I had to de­scribe my life as a GIF (hello kids), it’d be some­one tum­bling down the “up” es­ca­la­tor and never be­ing able to get off, or a fool­hardy swim­mer be­ing car­ried away by rapids as he flails un­suc­cess­fully to reach land.

I won­der if this is what it’d be like if di­rec­tor Christo­pher Nolan made a Doc­tor Who film. If he made the Doc­tor more re­al­is­tic, like he did with Bat­man. An or­di­nary guy strug­gling to un­der­stand the con­cept of time and not re­al­is­ing its worth or rel­e­vance.

I’d watch this film. How­ever, I’m not overly com­fort­able liv­ing it. Life seems to be on fast for­ward th­ese days. Every­thing is rushed. There’s al­ways some­where to be, an ap­point­ment to keep or a page to write for What’s On.

Ac­tu­ally, that’s quite a de­cent ex­am­ple of time no longer seem­ing lin­ear or con­stant. I get an e-mail once per month and have done for the past five years or so, ask­ing if I could whizz over 500 words but some­times, when I hear the ping of my in­box, it feels like mere days since I last sat bang­ing the key­board like those mon­keys do­ing Shake­speare.

I’ve had to start us­ing the cal­en­dar app on my phone for up­com­ing events. Not be­cause I’m get­ting for­get­ful but be­cause I need to al­most watch the days pass to make sure some­one’s not steal­ing them.

This can also, of course, be at­trib­uted to mid­dle age and the con­stant, sub­con­scious nag­ging of one’s own mor­tal­ity. Is time run­ning out? How much do I have left? Is it bor­rowed? I re­mem­ber be­ing a child and time feel­ing ex­actly the op­po­site. Sum­mer hol­i­days were six weeks long but felt like an eter­nity. Kids would come back to school in Septem­ber hav­ing for­got­ten how to write! As an adult, if you told me I had some­thing to do six weeks from now, I’d think: “I’d bet­ter go up­stairs and find some­thing to wear.”

What I wouldn’t give for a child­hood Sun­day right now. When I was a kid, the shops didn’t open on a Sun­day and the tele­vi­sion chan­nels didn’t make much of an ef­fort. I can vividly re­mem­ber de­spis­ing the day be­cause it was too long and there was noth­ing to do. On sunny Sun­days, I re­mem­ber my par­ents, aunts, un­cles and grand­par­ents would con­gre­gate in the gar­den and sit on deckchairs or lay on the grass with their eyes closed for what seemed like for­ever.

I used to think they were re­lax­ing, sleep­ing, or just be­ing bor­ing, old peo­ple… But now I re­alise they weren’t. They were liv­ing at a dif­fer­ent speed to me. They could feel the Earth spin­ning at sixteen hun­dred kilo­me­tres per hour and they were just hold­ing on for dear life, try­ing to slow it down.

Well, now that’s me. Wish­ing for a day with no school runs, meet­ings, ra­dio shows, con­certs, quizzes, or su­per­mar­ket trips. There aren’t many rea­sons I’ll doff my cap to the dreaded UAE sum­mer, but this is one of them.

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