Monday, April 14, 2003

It’s tough, being stranded. See, my car isn’t working just now, because the radiator is apparently supposed to hold water and not dribble it on the road. And today, due to my tendency to put things down in random locations and forget them, my wallet and keys are across town. This makes it harder to open the lock securing my bike, and get to work. As soon as I discovered my situation, I called into work to let them know I was stranded, and set to work finding a bus route to get to my friend’s house, where my keys and wallet lay happily on the floor. The route was plotted and I was almost ready to leave when I realized I had no money for bus fare and promptly slapped myself on the forehead. After a few minutes, I called another compatriot of mine, who agreed to give me a ride when he had a chance. Thus began the waiting game.

Waiting drives me nuts. Especially waiting in futility. I found myself pacing about the house between fitful, squirming bouts of watching TV, always glancing at the clock. I felt like a shark: as though if I stopped moving, I would die. I felt as though I were being held in place, drowning in time… and I thought to myself, this is why sloth is a sin.

Next to murder, lust and greed, sloth seems like one of those minor sins, like cursing might be. It’s not. Time spent sprawled on a couch waiting for something to happen could easily be spent on a thousand better things… and today I felt it. I felt this strange inner fire, trying to tell me something. Trying to get me on my feet. This isn’t right, it says. Get up. Do something. For the love of God, don’t waste time. Interesting that impatience can be a good thing sometimes. It reminded me that time flees.

I don’t think my situation today was particularly sinful, but it left me thinking about how I spend my time. About how destructive procrastination can be. About how many opportunities I can miss if I’m simply not… active enough. There is a time to wait, and a time to throw asphalt in the air behind you as you run. If I’m sitting when I’m supposed to be running, I may lose my only chance to run.

Sloth, I realized, is a sin because I have no reason to expect that my life will last longer than the next keystroke I type. I have no reason to expect that since I can run today, I’ll be able to walk tomorrow. I can’t control the hypothetical meteorite that could at any moment blast through the ceiling and smash my kneecap to gelatin. To a greater degree, I can control leaving my keys at someone else’s house… but these things still happen.

Here’s a thought: as far as we are concerned, neither the past nor the future exists. The only moment that is is now. Now, I would say, is all we’ve got. We’ll have eternity later. But now is the single place where time and eternity intersect. Think about it.

Tempus fugit.

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