826. And what did Dostoevsky and Marie Antoinette have in common? Everything, everything that mattered. Because both of them were placed in a cart, and driven by others through crowds to their execution. Marie to be executed, and Dostoevsky to be pardoned at the last moment.
827. "Now Buboni", concluded the Duck, "are you really going to suggest that those fifteen minutes in the cart had no significance? The simple truth is that every segment of fifteen minutes in a life is either equally significant, or on the other hand equally pointless. Take your choice, and as a Duck I chose the former, and you as a worn out old frustrated professor, will probably chose the latter."
828. But what of me, I thought to myself. How many times did I look up at the back wall of the post office and note the time, fifteen minutes more till the morning break, or thirty minutes more till lunch. How many times did I mark on a scrap of paper a line to represent a minute gone by on the way to five o'clock. My life was exactly like that famous poem with the line, "I measure out my life with coffee spoons."
829. And in the same way that I marked time each day in intervals of five minutes, so also I marked out the years to pass until my retirement, my retirement when I could turn my attention to all those things that really mattered to me, the only problem being that nothing really mattered to me. It was just wishful thinking. I suppose I felt that once I reached the magic age of 65 some purpose for life would pop up as if out of the ground, and I would turn my attention to it.