I arrive at the meeting bang on time.
It was a close run thing; I had to walk with purpose to the office and then forego my ritual coffee and breakfast.
But as I find a seat and claim my space at the table, it seems clear that the facilitator is still messing about with the audiovisual link to our other office. This is annoying and frustrating most of the time, but today it smells like Opportunity. I pause for a moment, unsure whether to act.
To hell with this, I want coffee.
I step outside without explanation, and stride meaningfully down the full length of the building. My mother says I look angry when I do this. I'm not sure if it's true, but I've observed that folk don't tend to step in my way. Well, not twice, anyway.
I reach the kitchen and find that the coffee machine is free. I pop my mug in and push the button for an Americano - a shot of espresso with some hot water in it. A bit of a lame brew in itself, but I intend to add a double espresso to my large mug if there's time.
And so it begins. The grinding. The gurgling. The slightly incontinent dribble of steamin'-hot Joe into the mug.
Slow, slow, slooooow.
Oh, come on! Come ooooon!
Good grief, it's unbearable! I need to get moving! The meeting could start at any moment, and I hate being late. My heart is pounding, and all I can think of is how long this damned coffee machine is taking. I'll never have time for the second shot of coffee.
But without fanfare, a curious thought crosses my mind.
How long until I am missed? Two minutes maybe?
I breathe deeply, and start to count slowly.
One second. Two. Three.
Time slows. Or rather, my perception of it does. Instead of focussing on how long this machine is taking, of how it eats seconds that I do not have, I simply mark the passage of those seconds.
Time slows. I notice out of the window the first shafts of breakthrough sunlight after days of rain. My mind wanders to the windows rattling and showering beneath the overnight storm as I lay curled in my warm, comfortable bed.
Time slows. My heart slows. No hurry. No panic.
The Americano finishes.
Twenty seconds. Twenty one.
I drift back to the machine, and hit the button for the double espresso. This is notoriously slow. But I'm not thinking about it.
Time slows. My counting becomes automatic, a background task, a slow pulse that divides the days into wide, leisurely slices. I look forward to the weekend, to company and good food, to time spent with those closest to me.
Thirty seconds. Thirty one.
A few seconds ago, time was compressed. Now, it is distended. Nothing has changed except my perception of its passage.
For the first time, I understand relativity.
Forty seconds. The espresso finishes.
Forty seconds. Time stops.
There is a profound feeling of total calm.
I have all the time in the world.
I collect my mug and take an ambling walk back down the corridor.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009/2012