UNTIL THE END OF TIME
If there’s one thing I miss from my childhood more than anything else, it’s time. When you’re a kid, you have nothing but time. Time and the complete freedom from time. There are no deadlines, no bills to pay by the end of the month, no boring parties you need to make appearances at when you’d rather be sitting on the couch doing time trials on Mario Kart. Whoever said youth was wasted on the young was wrong. It’s time that’s wasted.
Whenever I see a kid riding his bike to nowhere in particular or playing hockey in the street, it makes me mad. They have no idea how lucky they’ve got it. I want to go up and push them into the dirt or beat the crap out of them with their stick. But I don’t, because I don’t have time.
I think this became even clearer to me on my trip. I spent about twelve hours on airplanes, and I loved every minute of it. On an airplane, you have no obligations and nowhere to go. You never have to feel like you really should be accomplishing something, because there’s not much you can do on a plane that’s of much value. So instead, I spent my time doing invaluable things. I read two and a half entire books, I listened to music, I watched a shitty in-flight movie that I would never have seen if I had anything better to do. It was bliss.
I started wondering how I could arrange it so that I’d be able to spend the rest of my life on airplanes. Being a pilot or a flight attendant would defeat the purpose; I don’t want to work. But maybe there was another way to recreate that experience of being an airplane passenger, that combination of confinement and a surfeit of time. Hmmm… prison? Prisoners get to read and write and play Scrabble. They even have gyms in prison — imagine having time to go to the gym! But how? Suddenly, I was back to my fantasies of beating up kids.
One of the things I was looking forward to when I quit my job was having some time again. Being poor is no fun, but it was a fair trade for a little while if I got to watch some of those DVDs I never got to. Well, now I’ve got a new job that starts in a week and a half. I’m grateful for the employment, but I’m already mourning the loss of time. My new job is going to be challenging and stimulating and (hopefully) fun — all the things my old job wasn’t — but it’s going to take up a lot more time.
The new job is only going to last three months, so it’s not really the end of time. But before it begins, I’ve promised myself I’d do a few of the things I wanted to do in my time off: finish my new script, read that mountain of books I’ve been meaning to get to, watch more Buffy, maybe even go to the third or fourth happiest place on Earth. I’m not going to sit at home surfing the internet all day (yes, I’ve already been doing this for half of today, but I had a lot to catch up on, okay?). I’m old enough to know the value of time, and I’m going to make the most of what I’ve got left.
But if you’re thinking of riding your bike or playing hockey in my neighborhood, consider yourself warned.