Posted by: Corina Paraschiv | December 17, 2008

Time Perception

March 20th, 2008

This is a story that could seem rather anti-climatic. To an observer, someone outside this floating university, nothing much has happened. A friend is gone for four months onto a ship touring the world, eventually comes back, and esumes daily life. The truth is much more different; the story, the real story, is a story about people, about daily life, about things that change and things that remain. It is a story about social constructs. About imperfection. About many people sharing germs and classrooms, but not necessarily views of life. It’s an insider’s story; welcome to my world.

Back when I was still at home, I seemed to run after time, the most sought-after comodity. I’d buy time, even, because it was more rare than money; every time I went to the restaurant instead of cooking myself, every time I went to a tutoring service because it would take too long to read everything ever written on a topic, every time I took the cab because taking a half an hour bus was more expensive to me. I was just buying time.

And now here I am on this ship where I can speed up time or slow it down at eternum. All I have to do is walk. I walk into the dinning room; Julio (NY) sits down with me. We present our Rotaract idea to the land director, between a spoonful of soup and a bite of steak. When the pitch is made, we get up, and speed upstairs, splitting our ways to the next meetings. I walk, fast-paced, taking in the stairs three steps at a time. I walk into the International Lounge, sit down next to Rodrigo (Mexico), and five minutes later, time just sopped; overloaded with homework, he zooms up the stairs to dance a Bollywood dance, and decides to stay for Tango as well, because the entire Mexican community is slowing down the clock.  Downstairs, a collection of schoolbooks lay untouched, until real life starts again, and the clock ticks down threateningly towards the deadline of the assignments, once more.

For the Mexicans, time is free.  It is there to take, to seize, to enjoy, to share.  Sometimes I wonder if it is the same time we are speaking of; that time that hangs like a sword of Democles above our heads, that same time that seems so elastic and stretchable to them.

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