Sometimes a tiny event can occur that is so seismic you can feel the time/space continuum lurch beneath your feet.
I was running late, which is my default position. I had to get from the university to Prestonfield House at the sort of speed that gets generated by super keen bits of matter in the Hadron Collider – if it’s working.
This meant I would have to take the car. This meant I would have to drive into the city. This meant I would have to park, in the city.
As I said, speed was of the essence, but the universe didn’t care. The minute my trusty red Fiesta turned out into Great Junction Street, we all stopped. Now, I don’t actually mind a traffic jam. Well, the situation has been taken out of your hands, hasn’t it? It’s Kismet on tarmac.
Who among us hasn’t burst into a meeting, exclaiming “the traffic!” to be greeted with warring sighs and groans, as Burns might have said if he was writing about the current state of the roads.
At last the bottleneck broke, and I bowled my way up to George Square. Beyond my wildest imaginings, I found a parking space, right where I needed it. This was astonishing. I glanced around to see if this was some sort of hidden camera prank, but no, there it was. I bounded from the car to the ticket machine and the universe started laughing again.
You’re probably ahead of me. Just not enough change. Aha! The mobile phone system. Not working.
Suddenly, as if by magic, there he was. The Parking Attendant. No idea where he came from. He must have been hiding in the bushes, that’s the only explanation. I thought he was eyeing up Esmerelda for his next scalp. Speed really was of the essence now. I raced to defend my car, shouting about the phone system not working.
The young man smiled. Yes, the terror of the parking bays smiled. He said, OK, how much change have you, that’s fine, that will take you up to about five minutes before the end of the tariff period, just do that, and I’ll watch out for you. Off you pop.
And he smiled again, told me not to worry, and left me thinking the entire fabric of the universe had suddenly become a whole heap nicer.
A Trump tango could be the new diplomacy
This has all been forgotten in the Twitter storms surrounding travel bans, judge-bashing, and Putin-praising, but when did this Presidential First Dance become a thing?
Did JFK or LBJ do this faintly embarrassing dad dance whilst the rest of the world gazed on admiringly? Well, not in Trump’s case, obviously. Most of us looked on in alarm at the giant Wotsit. Poor Melania appeared to have been soldered to his suit at appropriate points, and he was just steering her about, like a weird hostage situation.
It’s like some bizarre wedding first waltz. Perhaps we should be grateful that that the Presidential Dance was just a stunted soft-shoe shuffle. First dances at weddings can be ridiculously elaborate affairs now, with folks getting them choreographed like Busby Berkeley musical numbers. Mr Trump would like that sort of thing, because he is good at everything he does, he tells us.
It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see Trump following the wedding example, and ramping up presidential foxtrots to full-on Strictly treatment for future events, maybe even score-settling.
In fact, if his feud with Arnie gets any more heated, we could see competing torrid tangos between the Trumpster and the Terminator. I’d get the popcorn out for that.
Time is all relative on the 22 bus
I really do have no idea where the time goes. One day I really must chat to that Hawking fellow to ask why the universe is constantly expanding and the effects of that on time.
It is clearly not a constant, particularly on the Number 22 bus. There it can race past the appointed meeting hour with meteoric speed – yet simultaneously slow to a hirpling crawl, because the man sitting next to you is screaming down a mobile phone to a woman in Moscow, Mumbai or Madrid, the person in front of you hasn’t had a shower since 2005, and the guy behind you is giving vent to the sort of hacking cough that conjures up images of plague pits, carts piled with bodies and bell-ringing council employees shouting ‘Bring out your dead’.
Trust me, time can stop.
Caught on the hoof
Given the traffic, the roadworks and the new 20mph limits, I was thinking of trading in the Fiesta for a pony. It’s roughly the same speed, as far as I can judge, and I bet my little pony and I could ride on the pavement. Everyone else seems to. And we’d get manure for the roses.