David J. Paola

The Passage of Time

I read the following recently in a Kurt Vonnegut novella:

“After watching four rural hours inch by, he had concluded that the clocks of the farm were lubricated with molasses, and that noon was still a century away in terms of time as he had known it in the city.”

I vividly understand this. I think everybody does. Everyone on earth has been in a situation that just felt like time stretched on forever. Much of high school springs to mind.

It struck me that I haven’t felt something like that in a long time. I haven’t felt that time was passing slowly since college. I’ve absolutely noticed, personally, that time seems to have sped up as I’ve gotten slightly older; but the juxtaposition of the two hadn’t struck me until now.

Perhaps this is why many adults don’t exactly sympathize with children when they feel bored. On some level, we might envy kids when they feel like time is passing really slowly. Do we lose this feeling as we age?