Friday, September 30, 2011

The Speed of Life

I was making a call on my cell phone while driving some place last week (I know I shouldn’t but I do.  I need to get a hands-free, but even with  that, calling while driving results as the same level of distraction as being impaired by alcohol or other drugs.  Another bad habit I need to change—calling while driving, that is, not alcohol or other drugs). As I was making the call, I thought that with the technology we have now we don’t even have to wait until we reach a phone to make a call.  We basically don’t have to wait for much these days (waiting for babies to be born is a notable and happy exception)—we download songs and documents in seconds; we use the “express lanes” for everything from groceries to banks to fast food.

And so because we can do more faster we do. We multitask and drive ourselves crazy with speed, speed, speed.  It becomes harder and harder to slow down and not be driven and anxious.

The pace of technology slowed life down in the past.  It took weeks to sail from Europe to America; people traveled by horse (4 mph at a walk to 25-30 mph at a gallop but only for a mile or so) or on foot (about 3 mph on average; letters took weeks to arrive; and when people visited they stayed for a long time because any trip was lengthy and arduous.   
Now, instead of preparing a horse and carriage for a journey (or having one’s servants do it, which meant waiting for them to do it), we open our cars remotely, jump in, fire up the engine and drive off.

When trains were first introduced in England, some people feared that the speed at which they traveled (about 30 mph) would drive the passengers insane.  Maybe, in a sense, the speed of our lives has driven us all a little crazy.  Excuse me, I’m going to write something by hand and then take a nice leisurely walk.

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