It’s a funny thing about time.  I mean, it goes by at the same rate all the time obviously.  (Boffins – if that isn’t accurate, don’t tell me here ok?  Save it for the next symposium).  What I am trying to express here is how the passage of time can appear to be slower or faster depending on the circumstances.  For example:  at 15, waiting for the last five minutes of double physics seemed to take several hours.  Likewise, waiting for Alan Rickman to finish a sentence sometimes – well it seems like it may never happen. 

I am sure there are statistics about waiting.  How long we spend in queues (UK – about 6 months of our lives; Greece – what are queues?), how long we spend waiting on hold (about 5 minutes a day, which translates to about 30 hours a year, which translates to too bloody long).  Also the behaviour of waiting, which actually follows the same principles of the 5 stages of grief:  Denial (This won’t take long), Anger (I can’t believe how long this is taking), Bargaining (I know this person was here before me, but my needs are more important than theirs), Depression (I wonder what fresh air feels like going into my lungs – oh who cares, I am never going to make it out of this queue) and finally, acceptance (good thing I brought a sandwich and a good book).  But whether you are waiting for something specific – at the bank, in the post office, on hold etc. etc. or something more generalised – inspiration, Mr Right,  or even tomorrow,  the general consensus is that time will always seem to pass more slowly.  And conversely if you have a deadline looming over you – your essay/presentation is due in the morning, you only have 5 minutes to choose your Ticketmaster tickets and fill in all the details before you have to start the whole torturous procedure over again – time seems to pass much quicker.

I am not working at the moment and as a result, time seems to pass excruciatingly slowly.  I try to plan things.  I set myself things to do every day, and I am generally extremely good at keeping busy, but after the last three months of near constant frenetic activity, laundry and a trip to the post office is just not going to make me feel like I have had a big day.  There are however advantages too.  First of all, I get to do things at a slower pace, which has fooled me into thinking that I don’t make as many mistakes, but also it lets me appreciate the inadvertent comedy in day to day situations.

Today for example I went to the post office.  Outside the post office is a fruit and veg stand.  I wanted a carrot.  If you go to the supermarket, it is difficult to buy one carrot, you usually end up having to buy 500g at least.  (Of course, had I thought it through, I would have realised that it is much less embarrassing buying one loose carrot at the supermarket where you don’t have to have a conversation with the person selling it to you).  So the guy smiles at me and says –

“How can I help you, love?”

“I would like a carrot please.”

“A pound, a kilo?”

“No, a carrot.”

“Er, okay love.  What size?”

Oh no.  Abort! Abort! I was thinking. 

“Large?” I said at this point trying to pretend that I wasn’t asking for anything out of the ordinary.

He smirked as he rifled through the crate. Smug Bastard.

“Will this do?” he asked holding up what could easily pass for a massive and obscene sex toy.

I tried not to blush.  After all, I wanted a carrot to finely dice and cook.  I don’t have a lot of space, so I thought I wouldn’t get too many.  Even this knowledge couldn’t stop my colour from rising. As I was answering, I felt myself blushing furiously.

“Yes, thank you.”

“10p please.”

So I paid and then as I was leaving he said, practically cackling:

“Bye love, enjoy.”

Can I just die now please?  I mean all I wanted to do was save space in my fridge and cook something for dinner.  Is that too much to ask?  Now the greengrocer thinks that I use vegetables to pleasure myself.  I want the old world back.  The one where buying solitary vegetables meant you were sad, not depraved.

Oh well, I will just have to take another route to everywhere I go from now on, it’s no big deal. 

The worst part?

When I got it home and out of the bag to peel and chop – it was limp.  Good thing I only wanted to cook it!