Dana Filek-Gibson finds a way to relate to Anne Hathaway.
I’m going to live forever. Or at least it feels that way. Blame it on youth or delusions or a complete lack of scientific understanding, but something tells me that I will still be here in the year 2200, riding the metro and complaining about early-morning funeral bands.
It comes down to a matter of lifestyle: Oreos for breakfast, 20 minutes of road rage on my morning commute, long hours before a computer screen, 12 coffees a day and dinner from the nearest Family Mart. Is any of this healthy? Probably not. But there’s nothing quite like surviving a bit of irresponsible behaviour to make you feel invincible. By all accounts, I shouldn’t have teeth or eyeballs. But I do.
Of course, you can eat sugar and stare at computers anywhere, but in Saigon there’s also the time warp to consider. By some strange combination of math and science, the second hand moves a lot faster here than anywhere else on the planet. I’m no expert on the matter, but who among us hasn’t checked the calendar after a particularly long day only to find that June has become October? I may have moved to Vietnam at 21 but, several years and many sunburns later, I am still 21.
How can this be, you ask? Allow me to explain: remember in Interstellar when Anne Hathaway spends an hour on that planet full of tidal waves? That, dear friends, is pretty much Saigon in a nutshell — no shade, lots of water and everyone using their outdoor voice. The whole trip only lasts 60 minutes, but by the time Anne and a very touchy Matthew McConnaughey return to the space station, it’s 23 years later and NO ONE HAS AGED.
If there were ever such a thing as alternate dimensions on Earth, Saigon would certainly be one of them. This is how Saigonese time passes: in massive increments and when we least expect it. And I – with half the theatrics, none of the Botox and twice the self-awareness – I am Anne Hathaway.
But the trouble with invincibility is that it starts to catch up with you. Live like you’re 21 at 21 and it’s endearing or, at the very least, acceptable. Live like you’re 21 at 26 and someone in your life will inevitably inform you that cake is not a food group, nor shopping a reasonable alternative to doing laundry.
I suppose these truths are universal. Still, in Saigon, where time has a habit of racing ahead without your knowledge, it’s easy to forget that your peers are getting married or pregnant or really, really strange if you don’t check Facebook for a few days. We may be stuck in a time warp but the rest of the world is not.
And so I am learning to be an adult, despite my youthful aversion to chores. Let me be clear: this does not change my commitment to wearing white after Labour Day or short shorts well into my 50s. So long as I am in Saigon, I will continue to take full advantage of the time warp. Until the point at which time catches up with me, I will live at whatever age I choose.