Am I really slower getting out the door when high, or is it all in my head?
Dear Tortured Tortoise,
This totally made me laugh—not at you, but with you. I mean, I’m hoping you’re sort of laughing; the alternative would be that you’re actually freaked out, which would just be a bummer.
There’s a lot of research and thought around time perception—both in the macro and micro sense. For instance, most of us experience the months and years speeding up (and speeding by) the older we get. You know: when we’re kids, we wait forever for Christmas; by the time we’re in our twenties it’s like, how the hell is it that time of year again? Steve Taylor, a British academic and lecturer whose ideas about spirituality and psychology appear on Psychology Today, the BBC, and beyond, does a cool job of outlining a few theories to cover that particular mindfuck in a piece called “The Speed of Life.”
But what you’re talking about is more akin to that feeling you get when you stumble and fall on an jacked-up strip of sidewalk and all the sudden life is in slow-mo. (And that’s why your question made me laugh a little; am I the only one who sort of relishes a good trip?) Taylor has a really interesting way of breaking that down, too. He points to a study from the ‘60s that showed a correlation between the amount of information our brains are picking up and our perception of time. Bottom line: “The more information there is, the slower time goes,” he writes.
And don’t most of us smoke pot to get into new channels and access more information? (And aren’t we taking in a lot of information when we’re about to face plant in public—like, who’s going to see us, how are we going to break the fall, which pants are about to experience a catastrophic knee blow-out, just how hard is that concrete?)
So, yes: It’s very likely that your perception of getting out the door is skewed because your stoney brain is open to so much data. But it’s also really possible that you’re actually getting sidetracked—pulled into some real world wormholes, too. From sock drawers to social media feeds, everything’s a little more captivating inside the weird and wonderfully psychoactive THC bubble.
If you're actually concerned about your time management, do like our British scholar does and crunch some numbers. Set a clock when you're high, set a clock when you're not high. But if, like me, you're just sort of amused by it, look at it this way: You might just be fighting back Father Time.
Van der Pop does not endorse or condone the illegal consumption of cannabis.