Five minutes at a time - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Quick apologies to all mi familia out there, but, let it be known that I have never seen any of the Fast and Furious movies. Not the original Fast and the Furious, not 2 Fast 2 Furious, not the Tokyo Drift one and definitely not the newest installment: Fast X. Having said that, one of the lines from that movie that has become inescapable is from Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto in the first movie.
He tells Brian O’Conner, played by the late Paul Walker, “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.” There, he’s talking about street racing, which really captured the hearts and minds of the fans of those films, but I know it’s been adopted and co-opted and all of the other “opteds” in the years since by those who want to make it sound like... well, like, whatever, as I said, I didn’t really watch the movies.
Whatever the people who quote that movie are trying to accomplish by telling their friends and neighbours by saying they live their lives a quarter-mile at a time - again, I have no idea - it made me think about how Jess and I live our lives one five-minute timer at a time.
I might not be wearing a mechanic-looking shirt and I may not be as enticing as Vin Diesel, but it’s still a cool thing to say. And, frankly, according to the internet, which is always right, it takes about five minutes to walk a quarter-mile, so, maybe my life and the life of Vin Diesel’s character in the Fast and Furious movies aren’t so different after all.
Here’s the story. It all starts when my colleagues and I airdropped our cars over some mountains in Azerbaijan - wait, no, that’s a scene from Furious 7. The real story is that my daughter’s life is dominated by timers. I can’t remember how we first brought them into her life, but the timer function on our smartphones has become a third parent in our household.
Leaving the park? Set a timer. Getting ready to leave the house to go to the park? Set a timer. Going to bed? Set a timer. Getting up? Set a timer. Dinner time? Set a timer. Time to stop watching Paw Patrol? Set a timer.
You get the point. We’re setting five-minute timers to move things along a dozen times a day. And, as you watch that time (literally) tick away, you wonder what else you could be doing that’s a bit more fun, productive, you name it. Now, if we’re outside playing with Tallulah or spending quality time with her, it’s not as though we watch the seconds click away. That scenario would be more at home when she’s watching something on her phone (one of my old phones she uses to watch Netflix or the like). But, when you live your life one five-minute timer at a time, like I do, it really makes you think about time, the value of time and how quickly it can tick on by.
When we’ve been out, whether it’s on the block for a walk or at the park to play, people have always wondered what’s going on when the timer ends and my pocket starts chiming. It’s funny to think of someone not knowing that that’s what’s going on, when it really is a kind of second nature in our household. There seems to be a timer going in one way or another almost all of the time. Having that clock ticking down, frankly, may stress some people out, but for us, it’s part of our lives.
Tallulah uses it to put off things she doesn’t necessarily want to do. So, as we took her to the calling-all-three-year-olds program at Hullett Central Public School and we thought ahead to her being in school, I think both of us wondered how many times a day she might be asked to do something by her new teacher, only to ask her to set a timer on her phone. Surely, it’s bound to happen.