In this day and age speed is the key right? You have to search around for some roses in order to stop and smell them.
As I write this I’m caught in the irony that I enjoy taking the time to write but I also let the weekend slip by and I feel rushed to keep on some arbitrary deadline. The balance is in knowing that I while I will have something, it will be at its own time.
I enjoy having taking the time to not fall into the rat race. There are definitely times when I choose to make haste. Work is one of those time for most people. I choose to try and get the work done as quickly as possible without sacrificing my beliefs in doing a proper job. Of course this method might get me trouble for but life is the ebb and flow of risks and benefits. I choose to go to work and not lay in the park and stare up at the sky. I also choose to save money and not live paycheck to paycheck.
Fast and slow are relatives like anything else that is a duality. Hot/cold, light/dark. You need one to define the other.
I’ve lived in places where fast and efficient was the rule. Take a moment pause at the wrong time and you get someone to roll their eyes that you are taking up their time. I’ve also lived in places where people continue to talk about when the stoplight got put in. Each place has its value even if the other person doesn’t see it.
I feel more often the need to make time to slow down, to not feel and become taken up in the perceived hurriedness of others. I’ve placed things into my life that lend themselves as ‘slowers’, with some intrinsic property that forces the slowness into being.
I enjoy writing with my fountain pens. I believe I have 7 of them in total. One without an ink well (think quill), two of one kind, two of another kind and the last two the same brand but different types. When they are working well and I haven’t let them dry up, the ink flows under my guidance to form the object, general a letter, from my mind. With my Dr. Grip pen and extra fine tip, I can write very quickly across a page in my journal, my thoughts spilling out faster than I want sometimes leading to unclear sentences when I look at them later. I can’t do that with my fountain pen. The nib of each pen is subtly different. A different pace for each pen along with a different ink or ink color. Slow and the line is thick. Fast and the line may be so thin that the ink may not have time to catch up. I’m forced to write as a certain pace, one that usually helps me to pay attention to my thoughts and what I’m writing.
A hammock is similar to laying in the park and staring at the sky. I can set it up and be laying down in a few minutes. Sleep, don’t sleep, read, don’t read. Perhaps just lay there and ponder. There’s not much to do. That’s the point.
My record player besides the acoustical differences from a clean CD requires getting up and turning the record over. No 60 minute CD or multihour MP3 disc playing. I have to set up the record in the player. I move the arm with the needle and once it starts I can go and listen. But not for long. That side of the record will end in relative quickness and I can choose to leave it be or get up and flip it over to continue. There’s no sitting on the couch with a remote to skip from one track to another or stream from a large collection. The only thing in the cloud might be thoughts and visions that the music evokes.
Reading is a split. I have a kindle which can store a massive library I can carry around with me. The book itself made someone obsolete. I still enjoy the feeling of holding a book and the manual action of turning page to keep the story going. I get lost quickly enough in what I read that the enjoyments from the physical book become lost as I get lost in the words. The ebook reader lets me keep up, anti-slower I’m ok with.
Got fuzz on my face? If I’m feeling the pressure out comes the modern multiblade razor and swish swish the stubble is gone with nary a nick. But with time in my corner out comes from single edge razor. Still not as slow as it can be as I have one with replaceable blades instead of a fine edge that must be maintained with a stone and strop. The process is wonderfully lengthy. The best shave with the hairs nice and moist after a shower or after being under a warm moist towel. The badger brush whisking the shaving soap into a proper lather. No pressing the top of a can and seeing a glob of shaving cream spew out. Then with care letting the razor slide down my face. Too rough and not cleanly done and blood and public acknowledgment will ensure, the product of a very very sharp and inexpensive blade. The cuts, even if not bleeding, can easily been seen. It’s a slow laborious process of love to get a close shave.
The last things in my immediate thoughts are the letters I used to write. That pen and paper thing with envelopes and stamps. The now termed snailmail. Having to wait for someone in the mail, writing a response and then sending it off to wait again for an indeterminate amount of time for yet another response. Back and forth with anticipation. No quick gratification or fear you sent an email too quickly. If you make a mistake writing, you can start over or just cross it out. Whiteout showing that a mistake was made even if it can’t be seen easily. In an email, just autocorrect, hopefully correctly, and no one would be the wiser.
There is a time and place for haste and sloth. The balance that keeps up functioning at the level we want to be at. Think about it the next time you find yourself rushing to yoga so you can relax.
-Santa’s Fallen Angel