Backchat With Catboy
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.