Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Einstein Code

Albert Einstein offered us the great insight that time is relative. It speeds up or slows down based on how fast one object is moving relative to something else—thus the term, relativity. For instance, a clock traveling near the speed of light would be slower than a clock mounted on the wall of Bloomingdales near a sale rack.

Despite the fact that many of us were not yet born in 1905 when Einstein published his Special Relativity paper, I believe that couples everywhere were specifically what this genius with bad hair had in mind when he came up with his theory. The secret and authentic meaning of Relativity can be referred to as the Einstein Code (with apologies to Dan Brown and Einstein). How, you may ask, can such a remarkable claim be true?

Simple. Just close your eyes—no peeking!—and think about a relationship in your life, past or present. Now picture the two of you getting ready for an important social occasion. Okay. Now consider this. Almost every relationship is made up of two types of people—Always Late or Always Early—who move according to the speed of different clocks. As the name would imply, one tends to be infuriatingly late; the other tends to be unnecessarily early. This, most likely, is because one partner’s mind is gently wafting off into space where time notoriously slows down. And the other is firmly planted on Earth, where second hands are known to be speeding along at a faster clip.

The important question in understanding how this relationship equation can work is figuring out how these two people—locked in slightly different time zones—can peaceably co-exist.

While Einstein was quite successful in observing and identifying relative time differences—even winning the Nobel Prize for it—he was, nonetheless, not very helpful in coming up with ways to bridge the gap. True, theoretically, one partner could cross over to the other’s universe. Always Early could “relax already” into a slower timeframe by exploring the ethers of inner space and ignoring life’s deadlines. Or, perhaps, Always Late could touch down to Earth and actually give a damn about getting somewhere on time.

Sadly, neither of these scenarios appears possible because of the immutable matter/antimatter nature of these people. Science has not yet found a safe means for speeding up or slowing down the pace of human beings. Either would amount to an aberration of physics. To expect two parallel people to move through life at the same rate would defy the physical realities of the space-time continuum and, more importantly, of the basic, stubborn nature of the one who is obviously wrong.

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