Posted by: nickgerlich | September 5, 2007

Fast Times

One of my recurring complaints is that there are not enough hours in the day. If we could somehow slow down the rotation of the earth to, say, 28 hours per day, we might actually get everything done on our daily to-do list.

And even get some sleep.

50s familyI am convinced that in the 1950s, the earth was in fact rotating much faster, and people only needed 12-14 hours in each day to get everything done. There was plenty of time to go to work, mow the lawn, and spend time in front of the black-and-white television contemplating the day’s events and resolving sibbling squables.

But things are different now. I cannot begin to fathom how people lived in those archaic times. The very idea of having time to prepare dinner in the home, and then sit around as if nothing else were happening, simply confuses me.

If I put my mind to it, I can actually recall episodes of my childhood in the 1960s. Dad went to work. Mom cooked dinner. And we sat around a lot, wondering what else we could do. Looking back on it all, I see mental video footage that is running at only about 1/8th normal speed, because no one was ever in a hurry. There was nothing else waiting to be done, so what was the point in rushing? There was no “next” thing.

Contrast that to life today. Yesterday, while riding home from work, I fielded three incoming calls, placed one, and returned another. Had I purchased a Blackberry this summer instead of an old-fashioned phone that only allows for talking, I could have handled a few emails as well.

And probably been run over by a truck while trying to juggle it all.

The fact of the matter is, our lives are being lived at warp speed these days. It is hard to imagine life without a cell phone. If I am driving somewhere, I consider that time to be almost wasted if I am not busy returning calls or staying in touch with my family in Florida. And as soon as I get home, I head straight to the computer to see what’s in the email queue.

Just last night I found myself cooking (and eating) my dinner while engaged in a conference call with people from all over the country. And I wasn’t the only one multitasking, for I heard pots and pans rattling long after I had swallowed my last bite. My wife and kids were God-knows-where, no doubt attending to gymnastics classes, shopping, and their own dinners.

I don’t know about you, but I think we need more gadgets to ease our fast-lane existence. We need more tools to help us juggle the bowling pins of our lives. Maybe we should lobby for faster speed limits.

Because I can’t manage to find the brake pedal for this rock we call home.

Dr “Hurry Up” Gerlich

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