IT'S not such a good idea to measure your life out in possibilities.
If you think about all the things you'd still hope to do and to achieve, compared with the restraints of time ... well, I quake afore it.
Countries to travel to and foods to try and songs to hear, it all makes me realise how limited a time we have to do it in. Books, books are the worst. At the moment I'm only averaging one a fortnight. That's 26 a year. If I live to my average life expectancy, 80, that only allows time for another 1300 books. I shouldn't have read A Town Like Alice five times. What a waste.
Choose wisely, is the motto here. That, or spritzing.
Spritzing is a nifty scheme invented by a Boston-based company that works with text streaming technology. It's a way to read without moving your eyes and, therefore, wasting valuable reading time.
Your eyes read by looking for a point in a word, the "optimal recognition point", or ORP, and, when the ORP is found (slightly left of the centre of each word), the brain can process the meaning of the word it's looking at.
Spritz lines the words up with the eye's natural reading motion, it identifies the ORP of each word, makes that letter red and presents all of the ORPs at the same space on the screen.
With 20% of reading time spent processing content and 80% spent moving your eyes around, Spritz speeds up reading.
It is intended for email, social media and ... digital books. "Atlas Shrugged in a day? You betcha," says the Spritz website. The developers boast a novel reading time of 90 minutes.
From one a fortnight to, say, three a week. That's 7800 books. That has to be a boon, doesn't it, stretching my literary lifespan until I'm just about immortal.
The thing is, rereading Nevil Shute doesn't feel like a waste. Neither does the delayed gratification of easing a novel gently through 14 days.
The whole thing puts me in mind of The Little Prince (read carefully and at leisure) in the chapter where the wee fellow meets a merchant who sells pills that quench thirst. Swallow one pill a week and you will never need to drink anything again. They are, the merchant explains, a time saving device. Experts have computed that not drinking will save a man 53 minutes every week.
"If I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked," says the Little Prince, "I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water."