Thursday, 10 January 2008

Campus Time Slip

My partner, of whom I'm inordinately proud, registered at university this weekend.

He's turned 40 and has no senior school-leaving certificate, or any education beyond what life has handed him.

A miner for most of his days, he's now been in the Security Industry - as a cash-in-transit guard (most dangerous and he was held up at AK45-point twice) , then as a Control Room operator, and now as a manager in a guarding division, supervising a pack of foot-soldiers in the busy, seedy downtown Joburg area.

He's gained maturity exemption for his studies - a feat which has given me pause in considering my own ultra-privileged position as the daughter of two well-to-do scientists.

I didn't have to do much to earn my place at 'varsity when I was a teenager, except be good at Physics.

And I was.

But on Saturday morning, I found myself standing in a queue of prospective students tailing out of the Registration Hall and across the lawn, thinking with a little shock that it had been over thirty years since I'd first been in that position .

Does time run faster the older we get?

Well certainly - I have more years behind me than a 20-year-old, and so one year is, to me, much less time out of my life so far than it is to them.

I hear there's some talk of time slowing down, elsewhere in scientific ivory-tower-dom, but this is not the same thing at all.

I was relaxing, watching the glossy starlings swoop from the top of the campus buildings to the moist earth beneath, when a young lady walked past us - baggy pants, sloppy sandals and T-shirt, carrying a stack of textbooks in her arms, her long hair loosely tied back in a pony.

In an absolute flash I was thirty years younger.

My sight adjusted to being eighteen. My nose and ears told me I was back on campus at the start of my studies-all sights, sounds and air-tastes conspired to make me feel for sure that I had slipped backwards timewise.
More poignantly - my mother it was who was standing beside me, bursting with pride herself that her daughter was so much like her in love and aptitude for maths.

Then it passed, and I was left wondering.

If time travel is that easy, and that unpredictable, why do we go on about the impossibility of it?

Pic: Wits, Mostly My Alma Mater

PS Chuckle for the day at Fair Deal Homeopathy. "We reserve the right not to publish vitriolic abuse" . The whole site's pretty funny.