Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Past smears

At my job, we often have to take advantage of restroom facilities of the various places we visit. This was one of those times.

I hurried through the lobby of some retirement compound with the wind having just insaned my hair nicely. There was an old lady in the lobby. Without even a pause she said, "You're runnin'." Was I runnin'? I took a moment to assess my stride. Hell, I guess I was, definately to her anyway. Let's take it to the bigger picture...

We live in an age of instant gratification. We want things either now or yesterday and it is usually disposable satisfaction. Fast food (really? is it really fast?), instant downloads of music, box-stores on every damn corner (same things in all of them, it's the CONVENIENCE of them everywhere), instant American Idols (prepackaged instant hits television show that runs season to season only to be forgotten through the years), cheaply made reality T.V. (that runs season to season too) where we want to see conflict amongst the players and often don't care the results after the big winner has won and gone (can you even remember the full name of the first Big Brother Winner? The first Apprentice winner? --without looking it up instantly on the internet?). Our whole way of life seems to revolve around the hurry-up or hurry-up and wait lifestyle.

Before you know it, you will be old and then dead. At 36, I'm already looking at high school yearbook photos and going, shit, that was me....20 years ago? Yeah, yeah --we've read all that nostalgic drivel of where have all the good times gone, and that's not the point of this.

I think what that old lady was saying was: take it easy boy, LOOK AROUND. Maybe if we actually stopped a moment and gave pause to reflect we'd see things a little more clearer. Maybe that's why I kind of enjoy birdwatching; seeing the abundance of what is around you if you would just stand still for a spell. Maybe we'd see that we're being fed crap as entertainment on television, maybe we'd see that we really don't have to buy that DVD of "Walk the Line" just because it's on sale for 16.98 (unless you KNOW you would watch it more than 4 times in your life), maybe we'd see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that our government has been hijacked, that the 20 minutes in a fast food line would probably best be spent to make your own damned sandwich every once in a while. The list is long if we take the time to read it.

So thinking all of this while urinating, I decided to slow down a little, at least for the walk out (small steps, as they say). Strolling down the hall I enjoyed the large oil paintings of the stuffy old men, perhaps the founders of the retirement home, I enjoyed the long Japanese tapestry on the wall next to the small library, the fabric glowing a golden hue with intricate green and red lines for asian gardens. On the way out, the same lady, still perched in her chair by the motion sensitive front doors, gives me the eye again, and with the same sense of authoritative wisdom says, "You've slowed down."

True. "You're runnin'" no longer applies.


Reading: "Kafka on the shore" by Haruki Murakami

Listens to: The Cougars

3 comments:

Lisa said...

While I stood in my "fast" food line yesterday, I read a page or two in The New Yorker; the woman ahead of me talked about nothing on her cell phone.

Platypus Rex said...

just be careful while you're at work that your time for slowing down doesn't run the risk of being viewed as non-productivity. Such is the proclivity of management types. Obviouslyif you have the time to examine the pictures you have more time to get work done. It's the all work mentality of American citizens that kills us, literally. When was the last time you took a vacation? I kow tons of people that trade in their vacation time for that extra week of pay. We forget how to relax most of the time, and it seems perfectly natural to me that you should ponder relaxation at a urinal.

cnb said...

The original Survivor winner was Richard Hatch. And I didn't have to look it up. I hope somewhere there is a big hourglass (yes, like in Harry Potter) totalling up all my inane trivial knowledge points.

Working at a school has only made the passing of time more obvious for me. It was hard enough working in the "real world". There are more landmarks in a school year, "ok, its time for soph. english papers again.", "its time for seniors to hear from their prospective colleges.", "time for promotions for JROTC and Peer Ministry." etc. etc. Instead of the time flowing by quietly, you are jarred into realizing, "Holy geez, its spring break time and I've totally not done tasks X, Y & Z." "How can we have finished the school year? Wasn't it just September yesterday?"

I think some other people are soothed by the repetition of the school year. They know what to expect, at that time, every year. The only thing that changes are the faces. Hopefully, I won't become one of those people.