If the Big Bang theory and sci-fi get you raring to go, you are probably up to speed in dimensional theory. Maybe string theory floats your boat. Perhaps you used to have one of those posters of Albert Einstein hanging in your dorm room. Or maybe, like my husband, you watch Nova as a soporific; sort of televised Ambien. But don’t be fooled by PBS or podcasts of Isaac Asmiov or the staccato suppositions of Stephen Hawking. Because if time is the recognized 4th dimension, there is an additional dimensional addendum that sci-fi writers and astrophysicists don’t talk about.
In our house, we call it Man Time.
Man Time is a dimension unto itself. An alternate reality that defies normal time. Like string theory, or for those of us less scientifically inclined, a rubber band, Man Time is able to expand, stretch, bend and overlap. Contrary to the popular belief, time does wait for Man. The fluid contours of Man Time do not obey the general laws of physics, do not adhere to preconceived notions of recognized time. Man Time does not march on. It stops and waits for the game to finish.
Ever been waiting with suitcases by the door, wrangling several small children while making sure that everyone’s passports are accounted for lest you pull a Home Alone move? Ever get a text that says “I’ll be home in ten minutes, I just want to wash the car”? The rest of us, the ones who inhabit this plane of reality, know that it will take ten minutes just to leave the office, another ten to drive to the car wash, ten to get the car washed, and ten to drive home. In the spirit of generosity, I won’t count the ten to fifteen minutes it will take to calm down an apoplectic wife as that’s usually done in the cab on the way to the airport. Even so, in real-time, we are looking at forty minutes. But Man Time makes it possible. Because in man time, 10+10+10+10 actually equals 10.
How about this: “I’m ready to go, I’m just waiting for you”? In the dimension of Man Time, ‘ready to go’ doesn’t include the time it takes to change clothes, use the toilet, search for keys, put on shoes, cut your toe-nails and water the plants. Because in the dimension of Man Time, ready to go means I’ll turn off the television when I see that you have your coat on, tapping your keys against your thigh and sighing theatrically. And then do all of the above.
Man Time also fuels the phenomena known as “making good time”. Man Time allows drivers to race the clock. No, not the actual clock, which as we’ve seen, holds no sway in the dimension of Man Time. I mean the ‘Can we make it to the next rest-stop before my heavily pregnant wife wets herself even though we just passed a rest stop clock”. Man Time expands to allow a male driver the ability to block out the fact that a woman with a nine pound human being residing on her bladder may need to use the facilities more often.
In the dimension of Man Time, getting up at 7:45, checking your e-mail, Facebook, and fantasy sports teams, requiring coffee, a shower, and breakfast, still leaves plenty of time to leave the house by 8.
Man Time also moves more slowly than actual time. Try this little experiment at home. Ask a woman to take out the trash. Chances are not only will she grab the trash, making sure it is properly tied, but she will also notice the dog needs to be walked. She’ll grab the leash let the dog go potty, deposit the trash, in the correct receptacle, check the mail on the way back, double-check the garage door is locked and turn out the porch light. Now ask a man to take out the trash. If the planets are aligned correctly and there’s nothing good on television, a man will take out the trash. End of story. And it will still take him longer to do it.
In my eyes, focused on the here and now, ever mindful of the clock, Man Time is something of a handicap. I treat it like I would someone suffering from color-blindenss. Just as I would help someone who couldn’t differentiate between brown and black match their socks, someone locked in the Man Time Continuum may need some extra assistance. You may need to tell a few little white lies regarding the start times of certain events. Half an hour usually is sufficient, thereby ensuring the sufferer is merely ten minutes late as opposed to forty. You may need to threaten to wet your pants and pee on the newly detailed car seats when someone is trying to beat their personal best on I-95. Alarm clocks can be set ten to fifteen minutes fast. And the trash? Well, that one we may just need to suck up.
Women are not from Venus. Men are not from Mars. We are all just earthlings, making due with the chromosomal hand we’ve been dealt. We just happen to inhabit different spatial dimensions. From time to time.