Relativity of time – and go-carts

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

The velvet creases of the sky lay softly upon the golden horizon and the tender chill of the day began to sink into a deep cold. Crickets cleared their throats in preparation for the night's symphony. Everything seemed content with the day. All things were done and the sun sank slowly into slumber.

A loud screech ripped across the tree line as I yanked the pull chord to my go-cart. It never seemed to start with the first attempt so I naturally pulled the chord several more times before the engine bustled with life. I clapped my hands together and began to rub them for warmth. The harsh cold of winter had returned once again for the holiday season.

Christmas Day has always been a prominent gathering for my family, as I am sure it is with most homes. We chose different locations to hold the function each year, but the same faces and food graced each occasion. This year it was our house in Pleasant Home. Presents lined the green carpeting below the tree and delicious bowls of culinary concoctions lined the kitchen counter. I decided to sneak out for a while and ride my go-cart before dinner.

I slide into the seat and pressed the gas pedal down to the floor board a few times. The engine buzzed like an angry bee in reality, but it sounded more like a Porsche in my mind.

What else would you expect from a 10 -year-old boy?

I gripped the steering wheel tightly with mesh cotton gloves and gazed intently down the length of our grassy driveway. My foot slowly lifted from the brake pedal and the go-cart began to roll down the hill.

I let the go-cart roll down hill for a while waiting for the speed to come naturally, but my lack of patience got the better of me. I slammed the gas pedal to the floor and the go-cart engine slowly begin to wind into a tight buzz. My hair began to feather in the wind and my lips grew tight from the cold night air. A bit of braking was necessary to glide around the corner at the end of my driveway, but I made it with ease and continued my course down the side of the paved road. Here is where things turned not bad, but embarrassing.

The dinner bell rang from the house and I turned the go-cart around to journey back home. Speed was lost during the turn, but it was quickly regained. My driveway came increasingly closer and I decided to take the turn without my brake to save time. Racing does take a lot out of boys after all.

The driveway came into range and I jerked the steering wheel in an effort to conquer the curve. The back end of my go-cart slide around more than I had intended and I found myself tumbling across the ground. What could only have lasted a mere seconds seemed like an eternity. After two topples I found myself pinned beneath my muscle machine.

The passage of time is one of the greatest mysteries in my life.

Sometimes a day can seem longer than a month. Other times it seems shorter than an hour.

Sometimes there is not enough time in the day to do all the things you wish to do. Other times it seems hard to find things to fill the length of a day.

It is difficult to find a healthy balance between the two passages of time. The day I flipped in my go-cart seemed to be the one balance of time. The entire event seemed to pass by within a glance. Brightly colored gifts surrounded the Christmas tree and delicious scents filled the air inside and outside the household. Everything passed by quickly until the accident occurred. I did not get hurt, but the shock of the event slowed the night to a painstaking crawl.

In a perfect world we could have control over the pacing of our time - days would end when our deeds were done and begin when we had rested our weary minds. We have no control over the passage of time as it now stands. We must simply make the best of what time we are given - remember the past and plan for the future.