Bernard Mendelman: Where does the time go?

The Persistence of Memory, a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí.

Confined mostly at home since COVID-19 I have much more time on my hands. The following column appeared October, 2012 in The Suburban.

“Time waits for no one.

It passes you by.

It rolls on forever.

Like the clouds in the sky.”

— Lyric sung by Helen Forrest recorded 1944 on Decca Records

Timex, a world-leading watch manufacturer, conducted a survey recently on how much time Americans spend in various situations. How much time did Timex take for this timely survey? The comprehensive survey was conducted for a week, during August, with 1,000 respondents. Here are some of the Timex results followed my own observations.

Time waiting in line for a cup of coffee about seven minutes

That seems right the few times I’ve lined up at Tim Horton’s, but what really annoys me is the longer time I’ll spend in what’s supposed to be the super express line at supermarkets. Bad enough few people pay attention to the eight item limits, but most of the time I end up behind someone who’s disputing the price of an item, can’t get approval for their credit card, or fumbles in their purse counting out ten dollars in nickels, dimes and quarters Then, when I finally get to the cashier he or she is changing shifts, causing yet a further delay. Instead of calling this a super express lane, shouldn’t they change it to a “stupid express lane”?

Time waiting at a doctor’s office about 32 minutes.

I’m fortunate that most of my doctors respect the times of their patient’s appointments. However there are certain doctors where you can always expect to wait an hour or two before they see you, leaving you in their reception room, with nothing to do but read magazines that are at least three years outdated. As for going to a hospital’s emergency room, unless it’s a life threatening situation, be prepared to wait at least five hours.

Time sitting in traffic about 21 minutes.

Not if you live in Montreal during rush hour, where bumper to bumper two hour waits are not uncommon.

Time to honk at the car in front of you once the light turns green, about 50 seconds.

Only exception, if its a driver of a much- dented vehicle, dressed in red-neck attire, smoking a cigar with a tattooed muscle on hand outside window resting on roof, with bumper sticker reading, “Rectum-Its what I dun to ma other 2 cars” –then I give him all the time in the world to move without even a small peep on my horn.

Time willing to wait for a table at a restaurant, about 15 minutes.

Without a reservation, be prepared to wait much longer in some of our city’s popular dining spots. It’s not the wait that bugs me, but then being seated in front of an air conditioning vent going full blast or near the kitchen or toilet.

Some other items worth noting in the Timex survey of “where the time goes” was time waiting for significant other to get ready, about 21 minutes; time willing to wait for a blind date before leaving, about 26 minutes; and time watching sports on a weekend, about 1.9 hours. (Seems to me much more at this time of year with Baseball World Series and N.F.L. football.)

When it comes to where the time goes, everything is relative. Time flies when I’m doing something that gives me great pleasure. Time slows when I do something that totally bores me. Time also seems to pass more quickly as I get older. My youthful summers never seemed to end, but this summer zipped by in the blink of an eye. Albert Einstein had this to say about time. “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.”

The time it took me to write this column –- approximately three hours. The time it took you to read it –- approximately three minutes.

On the first Sunday of November, I’ll have an extra hour of time when we return to Standard Time from Daylight Saving Time.

— By Bernard Mendelman:

— AB

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