Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Make Time to Stand and Stare

WHY, oh why, does everything today have to be so fast? We have fast food, fast travel, fast weight loss, instant communication, instant credit, instant gardening… the list is endless.

Take food for example. What’s wrong with slow cooking? Why eat a tasteless meal heated in the microwave in just a few minutes when you could savour tasty, tender succulent stews, casseroles and soups which have simmered for hours, giving the flavours time to develop.

And what about travel? Everyone always seems determined to reach their destination in record time, whether it’s by road, rail, air or water. But why not take a more leisurely and enjoyable journey – and if you must be somewhere at a specific time then set out earlier, instead of using roads as a race track.

When I was a child (Grumpy Old Women are allowed to say that) gardens were nurtured for years. Seeds were planted, cuttings taken, compost dug in, and gradually, over time, the garden grew and flourished. But now a quick trip to the garden centre (and a lot of money) will enable you to create your new-look plot in a couple of days.

Then there is communication. Not so very long ago we all managed to survive quite adequately without being instantly accessible to all and sundry every minute of the day. We wrote letters and spoke on the phone (or landline as it has now become known). Airmail was about as fast as things got.

But computers and mobile phones have changed all that and people are no longer prepared to wait. They expect us to be there when they want us, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, while the hi-tech equipment that makes this possible gets faster all the time.

The urge to be faster than everyone else means no-one has time to consider others, or to appreciate the world around them. Rush, rush, rush is the order of the day.

If you are walking, people push and shove to get ahead, shut doors in your face as they walk through, and bash you with bags, buggies and brollies. It seems the basic rules of courtesy have been forgotten.

On the roads the story is the same and it’s each driver for himself as they press ahead. The only thing that matters is to keep moving, whether it is their right of way or not.

Now I am not a fan of poet W H Davies, but he does strike a chord when he says:

“What is this life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?”

Travel in the slow lane and you will still reach your destination.   So ease up, look around and enjoy the journey.

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