How fast is fast? Maybe it depends what you’re measuring. Or who you’re asking.
Surely, at some point, you’ve had a passenger in your car tell you to “SLOW DOWN! You’re driving too fast!”
No? Okay, maybe it’s just me. But then I AM used to driving on the interstate everyday and I’m just trying to keep up with the rest of the traffic, officer. And here’s a little hint I learned from a bus driver. Sometimes, the slow lanes, especially the ones that merge, actually move way faster than the far left lane, the one everyone dubs “the fast lane”. Try it sometime. Only, not on MY highway, okay? I don’t want EVERYONE to know my secrets.
But I digress, because this isn’t about traffic. It’s about my son’s perception of how to measure the passing of time, and the quickness with which events can take place. We were in the car, and I was driving him to school (okay, so maybe this is about traffic) and he was, as usual, talking at me about his current favorite Disney characters from Beauty and the Beast (and yes, I did mean to say “at me”).
Apparently, the Beast and Belle, along with Cogsworth and Lumiere, (if you’re unclear on whose these characters are, I suggest you rent the movie) were up to some kind of shenanigans in my son’s bedroom (and I apologize here for not giving more details, but sometimes I have to tune out from his stories, especially when I’m driving). If you’re a parent, his teacher, a neighbor, or a relative who’s spent any time with the kid, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
But anyway, apparently, whatever these characters were up to, they did it all very fast. “BAM! Fast like that!” “Faster,” my son proclaimed, “than you can count to 22! Faster than you can cook!”
Faster than I can cook? “Faster than I can cook what?” I wondered. Are we talking a seven course meal or Kraft Dinner? Am I watching a pot boil or can I use the microwave? Because it makes a difference here, it really does.
And so I timed myself. I can count to 22, speaking at a moderately fast pace, but still slowly enough to enunciate correctly, in 12 seconds. That’s pretty fast, I think. Speaking even faster, still believing most people would be able to understand me, I can count to 22 in a mere 7 seconds. That’s a whole 5 seconds faster!
You’re not impressed. I can tell. But look, I never claimed to be the speed talk guy who reads the fine print on television commercials. That guy? Now he’s fast!
Back to my original point though. Whatever those characters were up to, if it took them somewhere in the range of 7 to 12 seconds to pull it off, that’s pretty good. I think it’s fast enough to avoid getting caught in the act by most folks. But obviously, not fast enough to get by my son. Because obviously, he saw them do this, and not only that, he timed them! After all, he described to me a way to measure their quickness! If he was a super hero, maybe he’d be “Stopwatch Boy – The Kid That Never Misses a Trick!”.
Anyway, I guess my real point is (and no, I didn’t see this coming either. I thought this was going to lead back to traffic), with kids that quick (and yes, all children are so quick that NOTHING gets by them), it explains why parents these days have so little oppurtunity for intimacy. It’s not like we can grab a quickie, because well, we just aren’t THAT fast.