Without a doubt, time speeds up when you get older and, right on schedule, it has dawned on me that I no longer have the same eternity stretching before me that seemed to be there only a few years – or decades – ago.
Not only that, I’ve begun regretting the time I wasted.
I want back the hours upon hours I used to spend listening to Oprah explain to me the meaning of life, knowledge of which is considerably clearer when people give you a standing ovation everyday just for showing up for work. Having a billion dollars to come home to doesn’t hurt either.
I regret all the time I spent in 1977 searching for a radio station playing something other than Hotel California and the evenings I wasted in 1981 thinking I was going to meet Mr. Right in a beach bar.
I’ve lost entire weekends driving my Aunt Angelina around to find some mythical product she couldn’t remember the name of, but had heard about and that was rumored to be at any one of a dozen or so places only to end up with something totally unrelated to the original item. We’d go out for “something like a salad spinner, but it’s not a salad spinner” and come home with clothespins. She’d be looking for “a hat that wraps around, but you can also wear it as a skirt or belt” and come home with underwear. Of course, you say, she was just a lonely old lady who wanted her only niece to spend time with her. But you didn’t have to endure the blank look on the clerk’s face when she asked for something that “looks like one of those enema bags, but you make your chicken in it and wear it when it rains.”
I regret all the time I spent driving around looking for a parking spot 20 feet closer to the store entrance. However I also regret the time it took me to walk miles to the store entrance when I first got my drivers license because I was afraid to park between two cars.
Little League games – while, like any devoted mother, I do not grudge the time I spent watching Heir 2 play baseball. But his total playing time over a seven-year period amounted to approximately 31 minutes. The rest of the time was spent listening to adults threaten each other and trying to find a comfortable position on metal bleachers in 90-degree heat.
Then there is the 3,532 hours I’ve spent watching I Love Lucy. This is not to say watching I Love Lucy is in and of itself a waste of time. It is, in fact, required viewing for any enlightened being and it is a badge of honor in our household if you can sing the entire Phipps Department Store jingle – both versions (“. . .Phipps is a great big bunch of jips!“) and recite the Vitameatavegamin commercial, both sober and drunken version. However, since I’ve had every episode memorized since 1967, there hasn’t been any need to actually sit down and view it anymore.
There’s all that time I wasted trying to train my Parson Russell Terriers, Salt and Gaspode, to follow my commands. I should just sign the deed to the house over to them and spend the rest of my life feeding them and throwing a ball for them to chase.
And was it really necessary for me to spend all that time while I was pregnant with Heir 1 trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube?
I truly wish I hadn’t bothered to spend months upon months trying to find the absolute perfect hues to paint the walls of this house when we built it. Like that famous scene from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, the painter nodded politely as I handed him my paint chips in the colors of golden wheat, dove grey, and eggshell and then painted my walls yellow, purple and white.
I’m really ticked about all the time I’ve spent waiting or looking for Dirtman. Dirtman lives in his very own time dimension that is in no way related to this world. For instance, 10 minutes in Dirtman’s realm is equivalent to a half an hour in our world. Sending him into a store to quickly pick something up is a guaranteed endless wait in the parking lot. Where he goes during this time is anyone’s guess because if you accompany him into the store, he will disappear. You can walk up and down the aisles, call his name or have him paged; he will only materialize an hour later, looking bewildered as to what you are so upset about.
Hindsight being 20/20, you’d think I’d be time efficient these days. But I still can’t pass up a Sudoku puzzle.