the world is moving faster.
time itself seems to be speeding up, as its perceptual anyway.
i can still remember staring at slow passing clouds as a child, watching friends who seemed miles away play football in the park – summer days that seemed to last forever.
the pace of everything seemed different.
once upon a time, time crawled.
looking at the schoolroom clock at the end of the exam hall, the second hand seemed to take an infinity to measure each tick; and chalk dust floated through shards of latticed light.
each day was full of new possibilities, new friends, informal tribes that would gather around some impromptu banal activity, seemingly devised to waste time – to mock its perpetual rhythm.
these tribes would dissipate just as easily, floating apart at the call of dusk but safe in the knowledge that it could all be done again tomorrow, only better.
then, as we were older, and had more formalized rituals of tribesmanship, we would make plans to meet and pursue some banal activity.
you would say you were going to meet at such and such a place, halfway, so to speak, at a designated time. if you were early or late the other person would wait, maybe casually carve their name into a park bench, maybe smoke, maybe throw stones in a pond, and in time you’d be together again, passing time.
this did not require much in the way of technology to achieve. a phone call perhaps, a note passed in school, a message relayed by a younger brother in passing, whatever.
now i get mass invites from social networking sites telling me what entertainment may be for sale tonight, targeted by information amassed from my digital shadow, and my tribe and i condescend to attend.
a flurry of emails and IMs ensue, and confusion in half-read, half-ignored ADD-fueled snippets across a range of media lead to an angry swarm of SMS texts to my mobile.
we race in confusion towards the city lights, as though pulled by the gravity of a central communications mast. times, locations and participants are jumbled on the way. we’re doing it our way. every last one of us.
the phone continues to notify me things are changing. updating constantly. a hail of digital information reigns down, letting me know that there may be a better party across the city, a better dj playing a better bar, more interesting people in a different cafe; everybody you know is more relevant than everybody i know.
i tell a joke and do shots. you say you’ve heard it. the music is too loud for you to hear anything i muse, but that doesn’t matter, as we’re going home again now. i have 10 seconds to explain everything.
i’m left wondering if i chose the best place, the best friends and the best drinks to express my sacred individuality. the city washes past the window of my taxi.
tomorrow i’ll hear from everybody again, just to dispell our fears that that may have not been the greatest night out known to humanity, and we’ll reboot from scratch and repeat.