October 30, 2008

The Time-Thought inequality

Everyone's faced this. When you are deeply involved with something the time seems to melt by whereas when you are not, those 5 minutes you have wait for the train to arrive feels like eternity. I've experienced it first-hand many a time but today just jolted it back on me. I left school a bit early, it being terribly chilly and not being helped by the incessant boring drizzle. And all the way over to the train station, I was pondering a solution to a process problem that I was facing in my research. Absently I checked the schedule monitors and registered that it was 9 minutes to the next train, in other words, eternity. But as my mind was occupied with reaching a solution the next thing I knew was throngs of people rushing out of the shaded area towards the train that had arrived. Musing to myself at this marvel, I climbed in and leaned against my usual bar once more lost in thought. And after what seemed like merely a moment, I stared out the stationary train, glassy-eyed and unfocussed. The train blared it's closing horn 3 seconds after which the doors would shut. Just at that second my eye caught the station name.

Val de Fontenay

My stop. In a flash through the closing doors I darted out to the platform, shocking the many idling passengers I am sure. I couldn't believe that I was so consumed with my thoughts that I hadn't noticed the train make it's customary 3 stops before my own. Of course you know how it is when time never goes by. It just doesn't! There's certainly an inequality when you are occupied and when you're not. And its only glaringly obvious when you are unoccupied.


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