Relationship Relativity

How is it possible for you to stay the same age yet everyone else ages?

You know what I’m talking about. You see a Pop Star on TV from your youth and they are suddenly OLD, or an old girl/boyfriend appears in your Facebook feed and you think – WOW, how did s/he get so OLD.

I have a theory here, and I think you will like this one. They appear to be old because they ARE older then you now. True. This comes right out of the mouth of Albert Einstein.

When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

Albert Einstein

He said it better, but we’ve all seen the same thing – take ten minutes on the Internet and it seems like an hour to your partner who asked you to do something else. Try standing on a corner waiting for a ride – those two minutes stretch relative to the temperature outdoors.

Now, alongside this relativity of time that we can accept, Einstein also said that time is warped by gravitational pull. If you recall, Einstein said that speed of light is relative and that things travelling faster get shorter blah, blah, blah, and that distance and gravity affecting time – it’s all explained here as part of the science behind the movie Interstellar. If you didn’t click the link, you will just have to trust me that the stronger the gravitational field surrounding you, the slower time travels.

So how does all this link to relationships? Well, I think we can apply Einstein’s theory relative to relationships, and here’s how:

The stronger the physical bond between people (i.e. their gravitational pull on each other), the slower they will age, when compared to people who are in a weaker gravitational field relative to us.

Think about it – we are going about our daily lives when suddenly a celebrity from our youth appears on the news. BAM!! They are suddenly old! How can that be? They were one of the beautiful people in my youth – they are of my generation, yet here they are, old, and here I am, looking at my partner and seeing someone who hasn’t changed since the day we met.


Adam Ant, then and now

Relationship relativity, as I’m calling it, also affects the size of things. Do you recall the house in which you grew up, or your first school? Remember how big that place was? My childhood home was enormous in my memory. My bedroom was big enough for all my stuff, with plenty of room left over to play, yet today we need the whole house to contain our stuff and there’s still no room – yet go back and look at that old house – tiny!!

So, the good news in all of this is that, to the people closest to you, you are no older today than when you first met. And those beautiful people all get old much more quickly than you – especially that guy/girl who stole your heart back in High School. They got VERY OLD, VERY QUICKLY.


Time – that strange truth of the physical universe. It is absolute – a second is a second, a year is a year. Unless you are flying close to the speed of sound out and back to the edge of the Universe, time has the same value wherever you are in the world. Except it doesn’t. Time is relative, and not in any Einsteinian way. It’s relative to the task being accomplished at any given moment. You know I’m right, but think about it for a moment:

You are having a leisurely evening with friends, doing your bit for the viticulture industry. In this situation, hours will fly by until it is suddenly 2am, there are a dozen empty bottles and you know there will be woodpeckers in the morning. In this scenario, the wings of time fly swiftly and the hours flit away like the seeds of a dandelion clock on a summer breeze.

Or alternatively, you are chained to your desk racing a deadline to complete a report / homework assignment / press release (insert your own nemesis here). The evil Gods of Time choose this moment to fast-forward the clock. When you started, you had 2 hours to complete what would normally be a 20 minute task. Now, just minutes later, you’re down to 20 minutes to complete what would normally be a three hour task.

Anyone who has woken in the wee small hours knows how minutes can drag into hours. You’re lying there, in the dark. The green digits show 03:48. You don’t want to get up, it’s cold out there, and you will disturb the dog and you will have to let him out to pee, and then he will think it’s morning and time to eat,then go for a walk, then …. You get the picture. And you can’t turn a light to read, because you will wake your significant other, and you do not want to wake your significant other. Oh No. So you lie there, staring at the ceiling. You lie there for what seems like an hour. You turn your head to check, and the clock flashes back at you: 03:57. And so it goes on. You toss and turn, you get too hot so you throw back the covers, then you are too cold. You go pee. You lie there some more, then glance again: 04:26. Finally, finally around 05:12 you fall asleep, only to be woken milliseconds later by the alarm blaring out at 06:00

And another – if you are waiting for someone and you are in a warm car, or indoors, time drags, sure, but nowhere near as slowly as if you are on a windy corner, maybe in the snow. Take off your gloves – the time will move even slower. But if you are the one they are waiting for, your time speed changes exponentially based on the situation in which your waitee is waiting.

Mrs Drew often ‘pops in for a few things’ when we are out in the car. “I’m just getting bread and milk – 5 minutes,” she says. And I am sure to her, she does go round the store quickly. And it takes her thirty minutes and four shopping bags to get bread and milk. My thirty minutes, without my glasses to allow me to browse inappropriate websites on my phone to while away the time, takes 2 hours. Hers, fighting the crowds, spotting exceptional offers, takes 10 minutes.

And so, all you Physics types with your laws of relativity and planet sized brains, figure that one. If time is absolute, why is it so elastic?


And with that, I conclude my T posting. And I am almost back on track for the Challenge. I O U a U.