Friday, April 17, 2009

just on time

i thought i had run out of things to say about time. but no, one more. i don't know whether everybody has this, or whether it's just me, but as a child i collected quotes. poems. stories. lines from movies. bits of text which moved me. i would write them in diaries, between the lines of my schoolbooks, i would memorize them, and recite them to myself at night on the swing in the garden. of course, these bits of thought by philosophers, writers, actors and poets of various kinds bore little relation to my 9-year-old life, and so somewhere along the road (probably in the murky muddy waters of puberty), i forgot them, one by one.

the strange thing is that recently, these texts have been coming back to me, re-membering themselves, in quiet moments, and each time, i realize with a shock that that particular bit of text has now become my life. it is almost as if, all those years ago, i had written a script for life in a language i didn't yet understand, and now i am living it out, bit by bit, as it unfolds within me. Jacques Brel once said that all the dreams a person ('a man', he always said 'a man') will ever dream are dreamt by the age of 10. the rest of life consists of trying, with more or less success, to make these dreams reality.

maybe it's the same with quotes.

anyway. here it is then, the short but perfect chapter from an old/new favourite, the Little Prince, which came back to me this week. just as i was ready for closing time.

"Chapter 23

- Hello, said the little prince.
- Hello, said the salesman.
The salesman sold pills that quenched thirst. You swallowed one a week, and you no longer felt the need to drink.
- Why do you sell these? asked the little prince.
- They are a great economy of time, said the salesman. Experts have calculated that you can save fifty-three minutes a week.

- And what do you do with those fifty-three minutes?
- Anything you like...

'If i had fifty-three minutes, thought the little prince, i would walk very slowly towards a fountain...'"

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