The Oddball Effect - When Time Slows Down
I'm sixty-five this year, which obviously isn't young. Soon, I'll be able to get my seniors discount at Denny's Family Restaurant and ride the Skytrain for a fraction of the cost.
Still, at sixty-four, with a few more months left before the big "B" day, I'm old enough to notice something odd happening which is disturbing, something I overheard my parents talking about when I was young as they were growing old: Time is Speeding Up. The years are passing-by at an accelerated pace, the calendar days flipping by faster than an owl taking a nose dive towards an unsuspecting field mouse.
There is an explanation for this; older people find time shorter because they notice long-accustomed changes less frequently. It's called a temporal illusion, a distortion in the perception of time. This happens, when the time between two or more events gets processed faster by the brain, in less than a second. When this happens, time can seem like it is speeding up, slowing down, stopping, going backwards and even out of sequence. In other words, as you age you don't perceive things as you use to.
You actually don't have to be old to experience time slowing down or speeding up. I will give you this example of what happened to me, where I felt time slow down...
I was about thirty-five when this happened. It was a cold miserable November night, drizzling and windy. I was visiting a friend in the West End of Vancouver. Around one o'clock at night I left to go home. Taking a short cut, I went up a dark side street, where I was confronted by two younger teens, bigger than me, obviously high on drugs, no shirts, throwing rocks at me from the other side of the street. I heard a few whiz by my head and land in the bushes beside me. Within seconds they were in my face, ready to attack. Not that I'm a chicken or anything but I knew they had an advantage over me, two to one.
The fight or flight response kicked in. I decided to run. I had a split second to jump out into the middle of the street. I ran all the way back, up hill to my apartment with them right on my heels. Time slowed down. I could almost feel their breaths on the nape of my neck, I even remember hearing the one's footsteps nearest me, as they hit the pavement, I remembered counting them, of all things. I remember passing other people, going the other way, who seemed to pay no attention. That was five full city blocks, me running up hill, at my top speed, in the middle of the night.
When I got to my apartment building I remembered the front door didn't lock, so I opened it and ran to the nearest staircase because I didn't want to be a sitting duck waiting for the elevator, so climbed (sprinting) up ten flights of stairs to the safety of my apartment. After locking the door, I collapsed on the couch, thinking I was going to pass out, the adrenalin rush, my heart pounding on my chest. I could hardly breathe. I honestly thought I was going to have a heart attack.
That whole incident took approximately two and 1/2 minutes or less. It seemed like an hour. It's called the, "Oddball Effect" when time slows down.
I was thinking maybe I could stop time or maybe slow it down a bit, somehow, artificially. What if I read more, keep mentally active, debated a little more with you guys, would that help?
Maybe it will, but so far, I found the best way to slow down time is to do the complete opposite. Tuning out, vegetating in front of the television set, smoking pot, which lately, I'm doing now on a regular basis. It does seem to slow things down a bit.
Hey! I'm rolling one right now. What day is it? Still Sunday?
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