It's a small world. As the Martians say.
I set out this morning on a walk I have done many times before. The same streets, the same turnings, sometimes cutting a corner this way sometimes that, but without fail taking fully 25 minutes from A to B. This morning;fair weather, little wind. This same journey took 21 minutes. I wondered why.
I am what you might term a 'strider-out' doing as an average the full four miles to the hour. Sure of step, firm of purpose and with nary a care in the world. I do however plan to arrive a little early and seldom if ever late, but not too early either. So...
The answer as to why four minutes worth of walking had been 'lost' came to me worryingly fast and quite staggered me with it's simplicity. But, to save you the shock, dear reader, I shall attempt to explain things in a more considered, if in a more round-a-bout way.
Say you have a lawn to the back of where you live, you mow this lawn fairly regularly in season, you know with a degree of certainty what is involved as regards effort and time. With the perfectly natural ambition, from time to time to improve life in any and all ways you can, you one day hit upon the idea to go out and buy a newfangled lawn-mower. You deserve nothing less, you tell yourself and you agree. Nothing less will do. So off you go and in a little while you are home again in the company of the greenest, shiniest top of the range dooh-dah.
When the time comes to wheel the thing out and around your back greenery you take to the task with renewed gusto. Brrum-brrum, you might say.
In no time at all the job is done. What a clever person you are. Even if you say so yourself.
But. Where, if at all, should the praise be given? Do not be fooled, dear reader, into thinking that the machine did all the work or that you were inspired by it's sleek lines to tear about. None of which is actually the case. And here's the rub.
They are 'at it', at it and no mistake. By some other-worldly guile aliens are stripping swathes of our world out from under our feet. This is why, I conclude, four minutes walking has been lost to me this morning. In a pattern not unlike a jig-saw puzzle whole sections of our world are being removed to another dimension. In true Star Trek form I hear you exclaim, "Anomalous Phenomenon". And you would be entirely correct so to exclaim. Sections of the roads I trod this morning have been removed...and this explains a great deal. Lets go back to our gardening. Around the Englishman's pride and joy (the lawn) there is ever a boundary strip of flowers, both annual and perennial. Consider the perennial, the old faithful friends to the domestic horticulturist. There are times, I am sure, when you enquire of yourself why this one and that has 'failed' this year. Not failed, dear reader, but lost due to the actions of the aliens I am speaking about. Your newfangled, hoity-toity lawn-mower is no faster than the old. Your garden is smaller, hence the loss of the odd plant. Hence too the loss of my four minutes of road.
Perhaps prior to mowing the lawn you say to yourself, "I will do that next, but first the lawn." Then as you mow back and forth you stop to dredge-up from the memory that thing you were to do next. Only to discover that the whole idea is lost to you. This happens, I contend, when you stop close to or upon the cusp of this world and the 'other dimension'.
There are many other examples I could give you, but to suffice I would like to point out the mesmerised look on the face of Steve Strode in the pub during the recent get-together. He too was sat upon one such cusp. He, truth be told, is susceptible to this kind of thing. Think on how close he has come to Old Swan only to find himself somewhere else entirely. I rest my case.
So, when next you bump into something you managed to avoid for years past, dear reader, please don't blame yourself. Now where is my pencil...it was right here a moment ago...