(old article written 7 years ago and guess what Im still running around! Photo from http://zenchick.com)
Last Sunday, I slowed down.
I mean, seriously: I was fed up with running around, beating deadlines, meeting schedules, pleasing other people and doing my duties like a perfect person – I went on a small discrete personal strike and took a cruise down the highway with my speedometer set at 20 kmph.
Now finally I can in fact recommend everyone to try this once at least ... It changes perception, it puts things in proportion, and it totally surprises. Its almost as funny as being able to put the rest of the world in fast forward and sitting back watching their curious antics with total detachment.
Well, this is how it felt.
The rest of the country seems to be obsessed with speed. Sonic wooshes as cars, lorries and bikes overtook on a race somewhere where good things were happening, where regular mortals did not want to be left out. (And since this was Sunday morning it could not be the office crowd or the Sunday evening crowd returning from their families outstationed…) so there was I sitting day dreaming about life and time and the need for speed…
Ever noticed how rushed people are today ? Stop, slow down a minute and look around . From around day break when the school vans wake non school going people rudely with their raucous honking, to the daily rushes at banks for example and finally the evening daily office returning crush; are all these desperate house husbands really speeding and cussing and ploughing their way HOME? You wonder- are there so many dedicated family men on the roads at 5 30 pm or is it something else Im missing? Are these guys ALL running home to help the wife with dinner or take over the toddlers so that Missis can put her feet up and take a break?? wow!!Im impressed !…
People are so obsessed with getting to the head of the queue or winning this race, the man in front of you moves half a step and the man behind you is practically panting down your neck to urge you on. And trust me the "ladies" in ATM queues are worse, they actually poke you with the edges of their check books or umbrellas or sharp things which you don't dare turn around to face…
The amazing thing about this modern rush is that it happens in a time when science has fine tuned time saving devices to next to absolute perfection. Civilization never took less time than this to , for example, get you your so called "daily bread" and no, lets be honest, its not the price of that bread which is keeping our noses to the grindstone.
Coffee machines make your beverage in two minutes, rice cookers, pressure cookers and washing machines finish your work for you unsupervised and grinding grain and curry powders is the work of minutes, and the ubiquitous computer spews out spreadsheets and reports that would have taken months in a matter of seconds. Isn't it wonderful. Just one question- where did all that saved time go? You would think it meant that we can practice a minute or two of patient
The cost of living is high but then that's not what kills us, its this need for speed, because we don't eat properly, take walks or exercise and we don't talk to our parents or children any more,let alone having a meaningful conversation with someone who may actually need us, or time for a pet.
Before you know it you are hit by diabetes, cholestrol and thickened arteries not to mention a whole horde of mental hang ups caused by the sheer stress of the race- and this too in a time where things have never been quicker ,easier and smoother than right now.
There was admittedly a time when people got around by bullock carts and elephants which mean maximum speed was about 20 kmph. A time when you did your own laundry near some well, with the birds singing around nearby and took time off to grow your own vegetables and cook them slowly over wood fires. And there weren't these wonderful ATM machines which saved your time, or the Internet over which you could manage your finances without having to step out onto the street in the first place.
Did all of that give us more quality family time? And if not, what happened?