Since my washing machine is still broken (ahem…), I needed the car today so I could go to the laundrymat. This, of course, is something I look forward to with every ounce of my being (another “ahem”); who doesn’t love watching the laundry spin around and around (obviously not I, for I am sitting here writing instead…). Anyway, I needed the car, so I had to take Mr Izz to his clinical (he’s on his OB rotation at the local hospital. I’m not worried about this…he probably has more experience than most of the doctors, HA!). So, we drive into town…only about 10 minutes away…grab a coffee at the coffee shop, and then drive over to the hospital. There is a bit of traffic in town, for it’s the North Country’s version of “rush hour”, but on the whole, nothing big. Bored yet? Don’t worry…the climactic element of my story is close at hand!

As I drove back through town, I noticed the traffic had let up a bit. But as I turned on to the main road out of town, a guy that had been behind me at the light quickly switched into the passing lane (mind you, we had only just turned at the light) and flew past me. Now, I was going 30 mph, which is the speed limit until you leave the city…about another mile up the road. The guy in the big, bad SUV must have been going 45 mph at least. Could he have been late for work or an appointment? Might there have been some sort of emergency that he needed to get to? Sure…any of these scenarios are possible, but more than likely it was none of the above. Finally, I’m getting to my point in writing this!

Americans, as a whole, are a very impatient people. When we want something, we want it NOW. Delayed gratification is a concept which is very foreign to us. Don’t believe me? Look at how much the fast food industry makes per year…someone is buying those “Billions and Billions” of hamburgers from McDonald’s. We can’t be bothered to take the time to actually cook; it’s far easier to get it on the road, since that’s where we spend most of our time…this one has soccer, and that one has band, and I have Yoga or whatever; everyone has their own thing to do, and n’er the twain shall meet. Who has time to cook and come together as a family? We need to have something NOW!

But there’s more…when you go grocery shopping, do you just go to any checkout when you are ready to checkout? Probably not, if you are typical. More than likely you walk up and down in front of the registers, trying to determine which one has: a)the least amount of people, and b) the least amount of stuff that needs to be checked out. Getting out of there as quickly as possible is the only priority…don’t make eye contact with anyone, you might get stuck! Don’t have a conversation with the checkout person…it might take 5 more minutes!

And look at the beginning part of this story…Mr SUV didn’t have to go 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, more than likely. He just didn’t feel like waiting. This is the story of our lives….and I’m sure that many of you reading this are guilty of it as well. You might even be one of those that lays on the horn if the person in front of you doesn’t hit the gas the very second the light turns green. See yourself in any of these examples? I know I’ve been guilty of at least a couple.

So why are Americans so impatient? It’s hard to say. I tend to think much of it is cultural, and stems from the fact that we, as a nation, are still very much in our adolescence (and very much behave like we are as well). We have a need to be always running here and there; to this event and that game. We also need to be constantly entertained, and have that entertainment at our fingertips instantaneously….if this might be judged by how much television we watch or how many movies we rent. TiVo and DVR have become necessities, along with a stove and a washing machine (as I watch my clothing merrily spin…), and Netflix or some similar thing, has superseded even junk mail in our mailboxes. Entertainment, how and when we want it. No waiting until it comes out on cable, let alone at the theatres. Simple methods of entertainment have become passé…why read when you can rent the movie, and watch it in a fraction of the time it would take to read? Or why play music yourself, on your own instrument, when you can just listen to someone else play it on your iPod? Or, and this one amazes me, why cook from scratch when you can buy something similar, pop it into the microwave and eat it in the fraction of the time? Why does this amaze me? Because I can’t, for the life of me, understand why anyone would want to feed their family such disgusting stuff when they can make something themselves that tastes way better, is much healthier, doesn’t take as much time as you’d think to make, and costs far less. But apparently my position is not very well taken. No one cooks from scratch anymore…at least if the colourfully painted pie pumpkins at the grocery store were any indication. Heaven forbid we should use a food item as food.

I find this whole “hurry up” culture we live in to be irksome. It’s always hurry, hurry, hurry…no one seems to have time to meander by a stream, or watch the sun set the sky ablaze at sunset, or even just reflect upon the day. We’re far too busy going, trying to make sure we get that last “thing” in before it’s too late. But what we don’t realise is that it already is getting too late. Blink an eye, and the children are grown…their littleness will never again charm and delight us. We’ll be too old to meander along the stream, too blind to see the fiery sunset, or too forgetful to reflect upon the day. These are the things we all stand to lose in our “hurry up” way of thinking. Is this what we really want?

I guess my point here (as I continue to watch my clothes spin around and around) is to remind everyone, including myself, that there is more to life than the endless running and hurried pace that consumes our lives. Believe me, the place you are racing to get to will still be there if you drive the speed limit. And maybe, just maybe, if you do go a bit slower in life, you’ll see a few things along the way that you hadn’t seen before. Those things really are worth the time…I promise.

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