Friday, June 13, 2008

Melancholy in bullet time

I was driving down the highway one day when I had another of those bullet time moments. You know, world slows down, heightened awareness sort of thing. What brought it on was my attention being captured by the sight of a small white butterfly flapping away in front of me.

It was a pretty little thing, pristine white wings the size of postage stamps, bobbing along in that way for which, it seems, the word 'flutter' was invented. There I sat, admiring it, thinking how odd it was that a slip of the tongue would forever curse this happy insect with the name 'butterfly', as opposed to 'flutterby', which I think is far more appropriate. For me 'butterfly' conjures the image of some hick hurling a wad of dairy products through the air.

Anyway, all this was going through my head (bullet time, remember) when I was quickly brought back down to earth when the pretty little butterfly (flutterby!) very suddenly became a small splat on my windscreen. My eyebrows did raise as those two dove-white wings tumbled through the air in two seperate directions... And the world sped back up again. I was full of guilt*.

Since I'm on the subject, am I the only one who finds the term "bullet time" somewhat lacking? It's not a recent phenomenon or anything, it's been known for centuries that the human brain has a funny ability to alter one's perception of time. Anyone who's played any sport would know that. If you're not sporty, a little weed should set you straight. But my point is, using the phrase "bullet time" to describe this state of mind seems to cheapen it somehow, reducing a powerful, somewhat spiritual experience to a movie special effect. Just say the words "bullet time" and poof! the image of Keanu Reeves in shades and a big black coat doing the limbo under some 9mm pops into your head. I'm sure there's a better phrase out there. Probably in French or German. They seem to have words for everything.

* Note to self: Would like to write a little something on the sanctity of life, or lack thereof. Preferably without regressing into a fuck-PETA-and-the-ALF rant.

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