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Sometimes you can give yourself special dispensation for breaking all the rules

A question asked of the first agony aunt – who was actually an agony uncle named John Dunton – was why an hour's sermon seemed longer than two hours' conversation. An early example of the complete fluidity of time: everyone sees it differently.

When I took my laptop in to be mended two days before deadline the shop seemed quite pleased with itself when it said I could have it back "in not more than three weeks". A friend didn't think it odd that she'd nearly finished a sweater that she'd been knitting for 33 years; my father always held that packing and writing Greek prose always took "as long as you've got"; and we all have notions of when we should eat and drink and how long it should take. Only licensed alcoholics have vodka for breakfast; the rest of us wait until noon – but it seems we can actually grow out of being strict about  such things. The other day, after a rather bruising session of physiotherapy, I put a shot of Scotch in my coffee, though it was barely 11am, encouraged by an elderly couple at the next table who were swigging wine; when I thanked them for setting me such a good example, the man said simply: "The closer to the grave you get, the less the rules apply." I am now thinking what other rules I can feel safe to ignore.

Katharine Whitehorn

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source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/17/how-long-have-you-got

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