What’s the rush? Where’s the fire? To what are we racing?
I see people in gas station and grocery store lines who act as if they have the most important business to get to, and surely some of them do. But they look furious, impatient. They are shifting from foot to foot, checking their watches, astonished at those turtles in front of them who are blocking their clear path to the Egress. Are they their own ambulances?
So much of our culture is based on Saving Time. Doing Things Faster. Being More Efficient. Multi-tasking. If you save three seconds here and two minutes there, it must be a great satisfaction. But where do those moments go? I dread the thought that the people racing around will have much more time to spend in some unhappy place, like the intensive care ward.
And occasionally the people whose pants seem to be afire are rude, heedless, self-destructive. If you rush through a task, will it be done well? Is the world a microwave oven? Will the young man who roared out of the gas station this morning get home safely? I pray that he does.
For years, I have been quoting my favorite-title-of-a-record-I-have-never-heard to people. It was a Decca “Sepia Series” side (we know what that means) circa 1941-2. The band? Doctor Sausage and his Five Pork Chops. The composition? TAKE IT EASY, GREASY (YOU STILL GOT A LONG WAY TO SLIDE).
Words to live by.
But the greasiness of that composition might seem repellent. How about making a commitment to live your life in Count Basie time? As fast as the tempo gets, Basie never seems to rush. He’s never hurried. He has a goal, but he knows that breathing steadily will get him and us there just the same.
And Lester Young knew that hurry was a truly bad idea, too. Try taking it easy and see if your slide through life is less arduous.
May your happiness increase!