“Just 5 Minutes”

clockIf they say, “Just 5 minutes,” don’t believe it for a second. From Bali to Bhutan, there is no such thing as “just 5 minutes.” There is no place that’s a 5 minutes drive. There are no 5 minutes stops, no 5 minute walks, nor 5 minute errands. There are no 5 minute friends, snacks, or temples. No one will ever “be there,” “be back,” or “return your call” in 5 minutes. We will never leave here, get there, or stay there 5 minutes. There are no 5 minute banks, government offices, ceremonies, or shaves, no 5 minute check-ins, checkouts, showers, or shoe repairs.

When a collector tells me his other shop is just 5 minutes away, I cringe. If he says 10 minutes, I decline. When my friend, Daeng says, “we’ll stop and look for 5 minutes,” I look for a comfortable chair or something fascinating to do for a while. If it is 12:05 and the note on the front counter says, “Back in 5 minutes,” I know at some point in time that will be true. I’m just not waiting around to find out when.

Oh yes, there are also no 5 minute jumps in the pool, naps, haircuts, hand car washes, or essays (this one took more like 5 hours after rewrites and edits). While we are on the subject, there is nothing which “isn’t far,” and nothing that “won’t take long.” Except in my dreams, nothing has ever been, or ever will be “just 5 minutes.”


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Having journeyed to the Far East and Asia over 20 times in the past 20 years, I’ve been intrigued and inspired by the ingenuity, craftsmanship, balance and human spirit that have gone into the making of those works I have seen and collected.

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