Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life in the slow lane suits me just fine

"How are things going?" I asked as I placed my groceries for the clerk to ring them up.  You know, the small-talk.

But, I didn't expect some serious response from him.  All these years, whenever I went to his lane, he has always been a nothing more than a typical response kind of a guy.  Not today.

"Am trying to speed through" he said.

Before I could figure out what was going on, he added, "that's what everybody wants these days.  Rush, rush, rush."

Perhaps it was a bad day for him.  Or, perhaps he recognized a simpatico in me.

I have no idea where everybody is rushing faster than ever.  On the road, they zoom past.  In the stores, they whiz through. Sometimes I wonder if these are the same people who are at the fast-food places and the drive-through coffee kiosks.  I, on the other hand, take my own sweet time walking in the stores, driving along the winding roads, preparing my own foods and eating them slowly, and brewing my own coffee and relishing every drop as I sip the black elixir of life.

"I know what you mean" I told him.

That encouraged the clerk.  "It wasn't this way when I was growing up" he said.  I doubt if he is even forty and he already feels this way?

"I talk with people born in the 1940s and 1950s, and they talk about everyday life that was slower."

I nodded.  I was impressed that unlike me, he was able to talk and do his job even though he was also a male.  I either lose my thought, or ... wait, what are we talking about? ;)

As I walked back to the car, I thought about the article that will frame the discussions on Wednesday.  "Speed kills" screams that title, with "Fast is never fast enough" as the subtitle.  The author asks there:
Speed has become the measure of success—faster chips, faster computers, faster networks, faster connectivity, faster news, faster communications, faster transactions, faster deals, faster delivery, faster product cycles, faster brains, faster kids. Why are we so obsessed with speed, and why can’t we break its spell?
Another simpatico.  We are becoming an endangered species, ahem, really fast!

The author observes:
Acceleration is unsustainable. Eventually, speed kills. The slowing down required to delay or even avoid the implosion of interrelated systems that sustain our lives does not merely involve pausing to smell the roses or taking more time with one’s family, though those are important.
My foot is steady on the pedal, sometimes even easing off, as I slowly ease through the rest of the third.


Ramesh said...

I learnt a new word today - simpatico. Had to look it up in a dictionary.

Step on the gas Khé. You loudly proclaim that you are in the final third of your life. You have so many things to do. Like tell Mallika what you really thought of her 40 years ago. Like slapping TKR back. Like finding those abominable guys in whatever Engineering College you went to for a day. Lots of things still to do.

But seriously, here's a rare post where I completely agree with you. Just rushing around is going to annihilate the species. There is a time for speed. There is also a time for pause and contemplation. Sadly, the latter may be words that have to be looked up in a dictionary for many people.

Sriram Khé said...

Hehehe ... you have remembered all those stories of "unfinished business" that I have ... as unfinished as they are, they are also way, way down on the to-do-list.

Yes, sadly, there is no more slowing down. We will only speed up even more. As a friend's father put it decades ago, it is like we are riding on a tiger. If we want to get off the tiger's back, well, we fear that we will be eaten alive by it ;)

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