One of the paradoxes of Northern Ireland politics is that while time flies it also stands still.
It is now 26 years since the peace process began in earnest - ceasefires by the IRA and loyalist paramilitary groups, followed by a Forum election to select negotiating teams and then a lengthy talks process leading to the GFA.
It is 22 years since the hopes engendered by the GFA referendum, and 13 years since the DUP/SF reset in 2007 and a renewed hope that Paisley and McGuinness could really deliver something better.
And it is just a few months since the Executive, after a three-year hiatus, was rebooted on the back of a collective promise that things really would be different this time.
I'm not known for my optimism but even I thought a pandemic and the unique nature of the crisis we faced would allow the Executive to place trust and selfless co-operation front and centre of their agenda.
But no - it still continues to operate under the shadow of Churchill's 'dreary steeples.'
Sinn Fein and the DUP continue to use social media to attack each other on a daily basis, and Alliance, the SDLP and UUP are also scatter-gunning attacks on the big two.
It took almost a week, two DUP vetoes and a series of on-again, off-again meetings for the Executive to reach agreement on restrictions last week, and even then the SDLP abstained and Sinn Fein voted against them.
No sooner was that agreement placed in the public domain than the briefings against each other began again, with rumour and counter-rumour flying about what was likely to happen next.
Indeed, it seems likely that the indication that pubs, restaurants and hotels could ease into normality on November 27 will, again, turn out to be misleading.
At moments like this Sinn Fein supporters resort to the 'false equivalence' defence and insist that the DUP is to blame for the chaos.
But Sinn Fein returned to the Executive in January fully aware that the veto used by the DUP - which Sammy Wilson says will be used again if necessary - is part and parcel of the decision-making process precisely because its use has never been properly defined, let alone reformed in any of the regular crisis talks over the years.
And Sinn Fein also knows that its response to the Bobby Storey funeral seriously undermined the credibility of its latest criticism of the DUP.
My personal view is that the DUP was wrong to deploy a cross-community veto; but I also thought Sinn Fein was wrong to collapse the Assembly in 2017.
But my view doesn't matter. Both parties know what they can and can't do and will do what they want when they want. It's what they agreed in 2006/7.
What needs to be asked is this: irrespective of the challenges they face is it possible for the Executive to tackle them in a genuine spirit of co-operation, with decisions underpinned by collective responsibility.
The answer is no. And for all the complaining by the three smaller parties the fact remains that they also joined the Executive in January, knowing that the problems which have dogged it since 2007 (indeed, some people would cite 1998) remained unresolved and that the DUP and Sinn Fein would continue to treat them with utter contempt while they held separate meetings and reached their own 'ourselves alone' arrangements.
The other thing to remember is that the political/constitutional dynamics remain what they were in 1998.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP see everything through the prism of a border poll, an event they now believe to be inevitable.
The DUP and UUP don't want either de facto joint authority or direct rule and they certainly don't want to be left blowing in the wind and entirely at the mercy of Boris Johnson in the event of a bad deal or no deal in a few weeks.
The ongoing challenges of the pandemic, accompanied by Brexit and the attempts by unionism to celebrate Northern Ireland's centenary will, I fear, push relationships between the DUP and Sinn Fein to a final breakdown.
And I don't think there is enough evidence to suggest that an early election would do much, if anything, to change the situation.
So maybe we have reached the point at which the UK and Irish governments will have to consider the post-Executive/Assembly scenario.
I know there is still a feeling within British/Irish governing circles that the peace process is too important to be allowed to fail; yet I'm also pretty sure the DUP and Sinn Fein have milked that 'feeling' for their own ends. Put bluntly, why change your modus operandi when you believe the two governments will always bend over backwards to rescue the process for you?
That said, what is the point of a process which stumbles from crisis to crisis?
What is the point of still living with the mantra, "sure it's better than it used to be and God knows what happens if we let it go"? What is the point of deluding ourselves that anything is going to change?
What is the point of pretending that what we have deserves the title of a government? Worryingly, I'm not sure the political parties are even aware of the sheer scale of the public contempt in which they are held.