Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why Are You In Such a Hurry?

This, sort of, is a follow-up to yesterday's Electronic Things post...  As I wrote yesterday, the usage of computers was forecast to give humans more free time to spend with their families in recreational pursuits.  I really don't think this has happened; or, if it has, mankind has twisted this available time...  My parents raised me to believe that I should be at any and all appointments on time; whether the "appointment" was to see a friend, have lunch, see a doctor, meet a teacher,or just arrive at work.  "On time" meant that I arrived 5 to 10 minutes early, so I would be in place and ready to see the person I was meeting, or so I would be ready to begin my work, at the designated time.  I was taught to make allowances for traffic jams, for breakdowns in transportation, or any other emergencies, and still arrive before the appointed time - and, of course, all this was before cell phone technology was discovered and embraced.
  Why are people in such a hurry today?  Is there an expiration date on time?  I frequently shake my head in disbelief at folks who weave in and out of bumper-to-bumper traffic just to be one car-length ahead of me.  I was trained, in driving a vehicle, to accelerate and decelerate smoothly, to save fuel.  I was taught to look ahead and see traffic lights ahead of me, and to try to tailor my speed so I wouldn't be stopped at each one.  Of course, I did grow up during times when gasoline was, occasionally, in short supply; when it depended on your license plate number as to whether you could, legally, put gas in your car on a certain day, and when 55 miles per hour was the highest speed limit allowed, so you and your vehicle wouldn't waste fuel.  I admit that when I'm on a highway, here in the west, I can see why the speed limit is 75 mph - wide open spaces, huge sight lines, and mostly flat country help  a great deal; but I still question why people speed in city limits, where there are children and pets at risk.
  I can understand an occasional need to hurry - but I have a friend who is always running late to go to work, and I don't understand it.  I don't even try to talk to her until after her work time is finished because I've been greeted, for the past 10 years, with, "Hi!  Running late, as usual!  Hope I get to work on time!"  She claims that "things always take three or four times longer to do than I count on..."  She'll tell me to meet her at a certain place at a certain time; I'm on time, and always carry a book to read because I know I'll have a 5 to 50 minute wait for her.  It's frustrating - but at least I have a good idea of who is going to be late in my life.
  Why do people not give themselves enough time to do something?  Why do people charge up to red traffic lights and stomp on their brakes?  Why do people speed away from a traffic light that turns green, when they can see that other cars are already stopped at the next traffic light in front of them?  Why do people over-plan and over-schedule and then zoom dangerously in and out of traffic to be somewhere at 20 minutes past the time appointed?
  Is this about entitlement?  Is this about the Me generation? Is this about poor planning?  Is this about planning to do too much with too little time?  I try NOT to be in a hurry - it causes indigestion, bad feelings about other travelers, and unresolvable anger.  What use is it?  I'd much rather relax and be in a good mood.

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