There’s a Tom Waits song that goes,"I wish I had all the money that we used to spend on dope. I'd buy me a used car lot and I wouldn't sell any of ‘em. I'd just drive a different car every day, depending on how I feel.’ It’s called Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis.
I feel the same way about time. I wish I could get back all the time I wasted when I was younger. Especially when I was a student. I just used to watch the days passing, like a child watching an ant crawling along a leaf.
For a while I really believed I could slow time down or speed it up just by the way I looked at it. I thought that time spent walking in the park was different from time spent writing an essay, or working in a factory. And time spent when you were in love didn’t count at all. It was just a little bit stolen from eternity.
But you can’t speed time up or slow it down. All that happens is that you speed up or slow down with it. And people in love get older in exactly the same way as everybody else.
Nowadays I feel like I am trying to empty a great lake of narrative with a spoon while the devil himself clings to my spine like something that grew there. ‘You’re never going to get it all done,’ he whispers over and over again.
I had a friend who did nothing but write from the time he left school. He married a woman who took care of all the domestic stuff. He got tradesmen in to do the simplest tasks. He saw himself solely as a writer and in time he became a very successful journalist. For a paper that I wouldn’t read.
He once said to me, ‘The one thing I envy about you Brian is that you went to university. I often think I should have done that. Did you have a really good time there?’
‘I had the time of my life,’ I told him.
Now I want it back.