When I was at work yesterday afternoon, I popped upstairs to see an old colleague of mine who had heard that I might be able to help him out with a problem he was struggling with. I first met this guy about ten years ago and worked very closely with him for three or four years before I moved on into my current job. He's a nice chap, so I was more than happy to do him a favour.
I sat down at his desk and we spent five minutes or so working through the matter in hand before he suddenly looked at me, frowned and blurted out:
"Bloody hell. You're going grey!"
Now, whilst this is undeniably true, of all of the things that might be noteworthy about my hair, I've always felt this one isn't the obvious one. With this in mind, I pointed out that my hair was probably falling out at a faster rate than it was turning grey.
"Oh yeah, but I wasn't going to mention that."
Right. So it's alright to point out that I'm getting old, but not that I'm going bald? Eh?
....And then it dawned on me that he wasn't really making a comment about me at all, but was really making a general observation about the passing of time. Kev is about ten or so years older than me, and when he first met me I was about 23 years old, more or less straight out of University and very green about the gills. I wouldn't be surprised if a part of him probably still sees me as that kid, and seeing that I am now going grey was a sharp reminder that we're both ten years older and that the sand of our lives is slipping down through the hourglass even as we both remain in the more or less the same place and doing more or less the same things.
I experience something similar every time I bump into another old colleague of mine in the corridor.
"Hello Steve. How are you? How's the nipper?"
"I'm good thanks mate. She's not so much of a nipper now though - she's 9!"
It seems as though, every time I ask him, this poor girl has aged in an increment of years, when in my head she's still about 6 months old. Next time I ask, I imagine she'll probably be 23 and a surgeon or something. Perhaps she exists in some kind of a parallel universe where time runs more quickly?
No. That's not it.
I think it's far more likely that I am stuck in a universe where time runs very, very slowly and where things remain immune to change as the world outside moves on relentlessly without me
.... although judging by my hair, it's sadly not a universe where I'm immune from the ageing process.
Pandemic Legacy Season 2: April
20 hours ago