Time In A Bottle

I’ve had this strange experience my whole life while watching TV – a kind of time dilation.

It goes something like this – I’m watching a TV commercial, and it seems to me to be the longest commercial I’ve ever seen. Later, I’ll see the very same commercial – only it’ll pass by so quickly, that I’ll wonder if it was in fact the same commercial at all! Inevitably I’m shocked! By comparison, this time it went by in what seems like a snap of a finger. But I’m sure it’s the same commercial.

This hasn’t happened to me once, or twice, but dozens of times.

I hear about the same phenomena from friends who have been in car accidents, who talk about the slow-motion perception. Glass flying through the air in slow motion.

It’s very “Matrix” isn’t it? That scene where Neo suddenly hits the Zone, and then his hyper-vigilant fighting against Smith turns effortless; a quarter of the effort results in twice the power, twice the impact. His arm moves as if in slow motion.

My favorite way to play with time dilation is one I discovered in college:

I was laying on my back on my bed, my legs up in the air against the wall. I was very comfortable.

In my hand I held a plastic water bottle, a clear one – I’d torn the tag off. In the bottle was just a bit of water. Just enough to slosh around as I tipped the bottle, tilting it first one way, then the other. The sunlight was streaming in my window behind me, catching droplets of the water in the bottle. In some places, the water fractured the light into rainbows. Rainbows in my bottle.

And as I contemplated the beauty of the water, the beauty of the minute rainbows, as I watched with the utter breathless delight of a child, the water tipped slowly back and forth across the ribs of the plastic bottle, making tiny wakes.

And time stood still.

I often wonder, where else could my life take on new dimension if I watched the moment as fully and in as much detail as I watched the water and the rainbows?

Do you get time-dilation too? When? Where?


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