Seen the film?
Or heard of it?
Well, of course. Those iconic fight scenes, where Time itself slows down.
Many of us carry a memory of Time slowing down: of calm descending within, allowing us to judge the perfect moment, for the perfect move.
I am walking along a well-lit main road in a Navy city, late on a spring evening. My paces bounce; I’m on the way to see my boyfriend. I untie my long hair as I walk; I shake it loose. Someone stops me and asks the time: my watch says five past ten.
That someone then follows me into the darker street where my boyfriend lives. And he starts talking. I notice he doesn’t have short, Navy-style hair. He doesn’t have an identifiable accent. There’s no-one else about. Although I’ve begun to feel anxious, I keep him talking. Because while he’s talking he’s not doing anything stupid. And I’m nearly there anyway.
Then he knocks me off my feet and I begin to fall…
And now fear does something I’ve never known of before, to my time: it stretches it out for me, allowing me to collect my thoughts. As I fall, I think back through the day. Through each thing I have done, all the way back to the morning. Like re-reading a story, backwards. Effect, then cause. Why did this happen? How did I get there? How did I wake up? My boyfriend has a radio alarm. I woke up to the morning news bulletin. In the final item, a girl has been attacked, at some stables somewhere in the countryside, by a stranger, “but he was scared off by her screams.”
I hit the muddy tarmac with a shock. The phrase replays in my mind: ‘he was scared off by her screams’.
And now I realise I’m probably within earshot of my boyfriend’s house. I scream out his name; I give it all I’ve got. I hear it echo down the street.
But it doesn’t matter. By the time the scream dies away I am alone again. I pick up my bag and go on my way.
fMRI is a wonderful thing. It has, only recently, enabled us to discover how very real this effect is: not just enhanced memory, but a genuine increase in awareness – in in-the-moment-ness. Adrenaline’s effect is to speed up our bodies, causing a perceived slowing-down of everything else.
We are literally more present – outside the Matrix of our reconstructed Time.