I think it was Woody Allen who said, “Time is nature’s way of preventing everything from happening at once.” He’s a very smart guy.
Time is different for everyone, I think… or should I say perception of time is different. When I was growing up, it seemed that there were three phases to life: childhood, parenthood and old age. Childhood seemed never ending at the time. I had the template of what I thought parenthood would or should look like. I never thought of old age except as a wizened old man passing my wisdom to a group of wide-eyed young people, intent on listening to every word I said.
Once in a great while, I have had the sense that I have stepped out of the flow of time. In my days taking photographs of the streets of New York City, I would frequently focus on a detail that could be isolated from the surroundings. If it were an aged architectural detail, I could block out everything else and imagine the clock turned back to when it was new, and what it must have been like then. People in older cities of the world can turn back the clock even further than I could in New York: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, for example; I was there for it’s 900th anniversary as a city
As a child, with an autistic brother who required a lot of attention, there was nothing that I could do some of the time, so I stayed out of the way. Time went more slowly at those times. I imagine that to mums and dads raising autistic children these days, time is short and there is never enough of it.
I cannot imagine how torturous time must seem to older parents who must prepare their low functioning children to live away from them. A very touching movie that portrays this is called Best Boy, 1979, award-winning documentary by Ira Wohl. It is about his cousin Philly, who is retarded and living with his aging parents. Unable to live by himself, the family must prepare for the separation so that Philly can be placed in a group home.
As my mother said recently, the best possible outcome for parents with severely handicapped children is to know that they are getting the best care possible. Time must seem endless for those striving to make that happen for their children.
Time may be nature’s way of preventing everything from happening at once, but wouldn’t it be great to have some say as to how fast everything does happen?