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Accordion Time, Liquid Time

Travel in machines is always a miracle; ask any dog who sticks his head out a window.

In the Orlando airport, I took off my shoes, my belt, and put my coins and keys in a box, and entered the Temple of Security. I was searched with wands. Then two hours of waiting.

Then I board, and 1200 miles in two hours. And two hours to get home, 10 miles from LaGuardia on the Q33 bus and the 7 train, then the G train.

You could measure life in heartbeats per mile: infinite beats standing still in the airport, 10-12 heartbeats per mile on the plane, 600 per mile on the train and bus. There must be some way to measure time that is more accurate than seconds or minutes, a way to define liquid time pouring through smaller and larger openings. So far the system is ad-hoc: I am busy; I feel lazy; I have a minute; can I call you back; no, I'm not doing anything tonight.

“I'm about 10 heartbeats a mile right now, can I call you back?”

“Going to lunch sounds perfect: I'm about 1000 heartbeats a mile right now.”

This has been a 100 heartbeat a mile week, but I'd like to get back to 1000 soon.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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