Baseball games are speeding up.
Golfers are being encouraged to speed up.
Kids are being put in accelerated classes to speed up their education.
Traffic on many highways, here and elsewhere, is speeding up and crashes are common.
Whatever happened to taking the Simon & Garfunkel advice: “Slow down, you move too fast.”?
Granted the first two examples are based on legitimate concerns that involve the fan and/or player experience – the folks who pay to watch or play.
Just last month, Major League Baseball added a pitch clock to speed up games so casual fans won’t get bored and leave. Apparently, some could-be fans won’t even show up because they don’t have time for a four-hour ball game.
Golfers – amateurs and pros alike – generally have another group playing behind them, and nobody likes to wait for the slowpokes who enjoy a leisurely game.
Students whose academic skills are beyond many in their age group could do well with accelerated, higher-level classes, of course. But what about children whose parents push their youngsters to do more, faster, better – if those kids simply don’t have the capacity to succeed at an advanced level? Is that good for a child’s mental health?
And traffic. What has happened around here that is causing so many accident reports from our law enforcement agencies? It seems we get at least four alerts daily about yet another accident on Hwy. 278 or 170, or the parkways. Too often, these are serious crashes with injuries – and fatalities.
We can likely point to an increase in our local population. More cars on the roads means more opportunity that they could run into one another.
But a lot of workers are still remote and don’t drive as much as they used to. So the answer might not be simply the increased number of vehicles.
I believe we’re all just driving a little too fast, getting comfortable skimming through another yellow light, and just in a big hurry to get somewhere.
In fact, it seems we’re LIVING a little too fast in general. We feel like we need to do more, go more, see more people and places, and do it all before everyone else. We are living like we’re in hyperspace, traveling at warp speed. (And yes, I realize I’ve mixed two sci-fi franchise metaphors.)
Simon and Garfunkel had the right idea.
We’re coming into our high season for visitors. As soon as school is out in the northeast, our Saturday traffic will seem to quadruple. (“Seem to”? That might actually be accurate.)
Presumably, not all of our 2.5 million annual visitors will drive here – certainly not in one car each. But it will seem like it in July. By then, we’ll all be hot and fussy anyway, and just the thought of getting into our cars and going somewhere will change our good moods to dark thoughts.
Let’s just not go there. Let’s all take a deep breath, think about clouds and puppies, and slow down. Consolidate four weekly trips to the grocery store into one. Ride your bike to your favorite restaurant for lunch. Walk to the pub. Wander down to a dock and just sit.
Occasionally, just don’t go anywhere except your porch, garden or backyard. That kind of activity instantly calms my nerves and lowers my blood pressure.
And when we must drive, let’s do so gently. Let’s slow down and take it easy on ourselves and others.
We all deserve it, don’t we?