Monday, 6 April 2015

... And The Effing Tortoise Won

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light”
from Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters
Elton John

Remember when we had all day to do nothing in particular?
I was driving to work this morning, Timmies in one hand and the steering thing-a-ma-hooey in the other. I was early so I pretty much kept to the speed limit making damned sure I wasn't in the way of any soccer Moms or already two minutes late Dads. Those people am crazy, Man!
Apparently I'm throwing grammar out the double-hung.
Any-hoo... I came to an all-way stop sign. I was second there and, as courtesy and the law proclaim, first come, first serve. So, I'm waiting and glance at the other driver. They seem to be frantically busy with something below the dashboard, which to me indicates they are either reading the Wall Street Journal, loosing their bladder or reading a text. I'll go for the latter if it's all the same to you all. And they wave me through.
I hesitate.
I start to move and suddenly their head is up, their foot is off the brake and they're speeding through the intersection – proclaiming their love of humanity with a single finger salute.
Now, I know I've been in a hurry at times. I've been PO'd at other drivers who seem to have intentionally made it their business to block my advance. Yet I know it is my own issue because I was the one who started late in the first place. It's not their fault I wasn't paying attention to the alarm or whatever else made me late. A flaming, fickle finger and heinous sideways glance isn't going to solve much, ya know?
I shrugged it off and took a sip of Timmies. Ahhh.... back to normal.
It seems the more I slow, the faster the world spins. Everyone is in a hurry. They're in a hurry to find the love of their life (Where the hell is he!). They're in a hurry to advance up the career ladder (For crying out loud! I've been here for SIX months!). They're in a hurry to get the things they think will make them happy (Yeah... just call. I'm sure they'll extend my credit.) We're pushed by bosses who consistently want more for less (Hi Hon. I won't be home tonight. Dude has me doing eleventy things at once. I'll see you Sunday.)
We're in a hurry for everything to show up yesterday and miss the opportunities right under our noses.
While I'm on the topic, it's not possible to do eleventy things at once. The brain is wired to do one thing at a time. Period. You might think you're doing more or you're different than every other human on the planet. You're not. There is a time lag switching from one task to another. The brain has to readjust and can take up to five seconds to catch up. Studies have also proven that the quality of the work being done while multi-tasking is far inferior to work being done one task at a time. There is no such thing as multi-tasking. There is only the perception of multi-tasking and the reality is, the brain only focuses on one thing at a time. If it makes you feel better to multi-task, more power to you. The reality is, you're only hurting yourself.
Which is why cell phones and radios and friends in the car are attention thieves. By the time your brain catches up to what's going on, it's too late.
We live in a world where faster is considered better. Unfortunately, as we whiz through life, we're only skimming the surface of all that surrounds us. I don't have anything against speed in moderation. Let's be honest – I have no inclination to give up high speed internet or a vehicle which propels me where I wish at 120 kilometres an hour. If I have a two week vacation, I would like to get to my destination and spend some time rather than have to turn around and come home immediately. (Although that may have it's positives as well.)
Our need to get more done in less time has become an addiction. We're on constant alert for better-faster-sooner.
-The average Canadian sleeps 90 minutes less than a century ago.
-The average Canadian spends an average of 72 minutes per day behind the wheel of a car.
-The average Canadian spends a half hour per week devoted to making love.
-The average Canadian spends less than six hours a week relating to their kids.
-The average executive loses 68 hours a year waiting on hold.
-15 percent of Canadians polled admitted to being on the brink of suicide due to job stress.
This has to end somewhere, right? (For the record, the making love thing really bothers me. At my age it takes a half hour just to figure out I should get started. Just sayin'.)
I work hard. I work long hours. And I have a goal. That goal is the diametric opposite to what and how I work now. Fortunately, I work at a job that pays well and there are few time constraints. If I'm late... pfft... I'm late. I simply make up the few minutes at the end of the day. Simple. It's much more gentle than when I was in corporate life being chased by paper hangers and bosses and, and, and... all with expectations and deadlines I struggled to meet. I kind of like playing the part of the tortoise surrounded by harried hares.
And I've never been happier. Period.
That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself
The return to innocence...”
You do remember who won the race, right?