"Quarantime"...Weird perception of time during the lockdown...

As we began the drive to Benabbio while in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy in 2013.
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Today's photos are from June 23, 2013, while in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. See the link here for more details.

A weird phenomenon has befallen us as we spend more and more days in quarantine, another word for our status in the lockdown in Mumbai India.
Now, some may say describing our situation as quarantine is faulty when in fact we are in a state of lockdown, not quarantine.
The cafĂ© and entrance to the only restaurant within a 30-minute mountain drive from Boveglio, Il Cavallino Bianco, was quaint and charming.
"Quarantine" is described in part in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as follows: "as a state of enforced isolation." That's us. The common misconception of the word quarantine during times of COVID-19 is that one must actually be sick or potentially sick to be in quarantine. See further descriptions here.

However, today's story is not in regard to the definition of the word quarantine. Instead, it's about our perception of time itself, while we're in quarantine and/or lockdown.
Houses we encountered as we walked through the town.
In no way do we diminish the difficulty of us being in lockdown as being more challenging than for others throughout the world. But, our situation with the lack of opportunity to be outdoors, let alone meander in larger spaces feels for us more like a quarantine of those infected with the disease than our intent, coupled with stringent lockdown rules, to remain virus-free.

From the basis of this scenario, we have observed a peculiar sense of time passing: the days are long, the weeks are fast. What's the deal with this? After doing some research I discovered this peculiarity is not so unique after all.
Mustard painted house across from the restaurant.
It's apparently prevalent enough to warrant a story in the popular publication, Psychology Today which we found here, written by Dr. Casper Addyman, Ph.D., a psychologist, and writer for the fine publication. Below is a snippet of his article oddly posted only a few days ago on June 20, 2020.

Based on his analysis, the word has been renamed in regard to the times of lockdown and quarantine during times of COVID-19 to "Quarantime" not "Quarantine," as commonly used in today's media.


Vivienne's grocery store, across the street from the restaurant.


"Quarantime: Why the Days Drag and the Weeks Fly By 

Research on time and memory explains why the lockdown distorts our perceptions.

Posted Jun 20, 2020, by Dr. Casper Addyman
Everyone on lockdown in their own home is experiencing an unfamiliar kind of relativity. Every moment seems interminable but days and weeks are rushing by at dizzying pace. This was how Irman Khan, the head of public engagement at the Wellcome Trust, describes the feeling.
Strange lockdown time-dilation effect; days have become much longer, but weeks much shorter.
Any explanation for this?
@ImranKhan, 2:21 PM · May 14, 2020
As it happens, I have done a fair bit research of time perception so I have a few thoughts about this. First up, I think we should call it Quarantine. And then I am happy to report that there is a scientific explanation. Here's what I tweeted back to Imran:
Quarantime!
My longer answer as a time perception researcher is that the passage of time as it happens (days) will be slower because of the monotony of your environment. But the memory of the time elapsed (weeks) will be shorter because time is made of events and there were fewer of those.

Time is memory

This is all to do with how your brain tells the time. Essentially, time is memory. Your brain tells the time by counting the events that pass — the more events that occur the more time has elapsed. So when you are stuck in the same environment with very little variety to your day there will be two complementary effects.
First, the lack of events will make it seem that time is passing really slowly. Because..... each.... external.... event.... that.... happens.... takes.... a.... long... time... to... arrive.... But your heart and physiology carry on at their normal pace. So it seems like experience has slowed down and, additionally, it is just more boring. Those events aren't especially eventful.
But then, when you look back upon that interminable and unremarkable day, you will find you have very little to remember. Perhaps enough things to fill half a day. Retrospectively, therefore, it will feel like your day has whizzed past.
At first glance, this seems paradoxical, but that is because we have an incorrect notion of our own experience of time. For us, time really is relative. Which is weird because that's not how clocks work (unless you accelerate them to close to the speed of light).

What tells the time?

There are no clocks in the human brain. Well, there are some quite clever timing circuits in the cerebellum that operate on a millisecond timescale. But there are no ticking clocks. At least none that work on the human experiential time scale of seconds and minutes. There are three big problems with the idea of clocks in the brain.
  1. Despite forty years of looking for them, no one has found them.
  2. A mathematical law called the Central Limit Theorem proves that human time perception is worse than any ticking clock would measure.
  3. If we did have clocks we'd probably have to start one for each event we ever wanted to keep track of."
A sign in the town square describing the village's history.
The balance of this story may be found here. There are two above-mentioned aspects of our lives right now that attribute to this peculiar sense we possess day after day:
1. A lack of memorable events transpiring throughout the day making the days drag on
2. When we look back over a passing week, when we had so few memorable days, they all seem to blend into one fleeting passage of time, whether in weeks or months
The interior of the church was austere and dark. 
Thus, the daily sensation of the slow passing of time, a week later, a month later, is all becoming somewhat inconsequential in our memory banks as a significant part of our lives.

As we review our time in Marloth Park when each day was action-pack, days and weeks seemed to pass in a cohesive and consistent basis. As we review past posts, we can remember each day distinctly.
The organ was above this doorway on a balcony.
But, I assure you the many months we're spending in lockdown now will remain in our minds as one single experience with little to recall. Oh, we'll remember the day the cyclone passed through; the walking in the corridors; the repeated room-service meals; and the endless hours we spent streaming shows to occupy our minds. 

The rest, which may prove to be six-months long, will be a blur of one long and challenging period in our lives, in our travels, caught in a scenario we never could have anticipated.
The confessional.
May all of us, during these trying times of COVID-19, experience memorable days, weeks, and months that we'll carry with us well into the future.
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Photo from one year ago today, June 23, 2019:
At the Station House Museum in Clifden, Ireland two-wheel buggy used over 100 years ago. For more photos, please click here.

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