You know how people declare what they don't “do?” Like a friend, also a passenger on an airplane, who, gripping both arm rests, said grimly, “I don’t do turbulence.” Another, age 60, swore, “You know, there’s only one thing in life I do not do,” he enunciated. “Pain.”
I fell out laughing, but this guy was dead serious. Funnier still, damned if he DIDN’T do pain! Seemingly, anyway.
I recall these “don’t do’s” now because recently, I declared one myself. “THIS holiday,” I said to my husband, “I’m not doin’ HURRY.”
As a matter of fact, unless there’s an emergency or I’m running in a race, I may just not hurry right on through the holidays and beyond. This is my mission, anyway. Here’s my mantra:
“I’m going to go where I need to go…WITHOUT HURRYING…
I’m going to go where I need to go…WITHOUT HURRYING…
I’m GOING to go where I need to go…WITHOUT HURRYING.”
So far, I’d give myself a C-minus.
Hurry, I happen to believe, is killing us. Maybe something else, too.
Years ago, someone took a poll asking the question, “What is most stressful for you?” The results were interesting. I can’t remember which one came first, but the top two stresses were speaking in front of a crowd and looking for things. Maybe I’m just becoming an old hag (clearly, I’m a ham), but to me…hurry trumps them all.
In past jobs, hurry was rewarded. As a film location scout, I had X amount of time to find Y. Once the location was found, everyone moved to the production phase where time was even more precious, the work more intense. This intensity was as ongoing as an avalanche until the director and/or photographer called it a “wrap!” Only then would I begin to slow down, and it was days later before I actually slowed. Then P would point out, “You know, you have two speeds — 90 miles an hour and asleep!”
After one shoot, particularly harried, a friend and co-worker made a decision. “I’ll never work like this again,” she vowed, “And here’s why,” she said, handing me a piece of paper that’s still pinned to my wall. On it, she’d drawn a triangle and put a word at each point, “Fast – Good – Cheap.” At the bottom were two more words: “Pick two.” I got her point. She got on a plane and went home to Dallas. In fact, I haven’t seen her on a set since.
Years later and rather late in life, I decided to put the camera down temporarily and try my hand at writing. You might imagine the transition. Hell, it took me two years just to sit down. It took another year to complete a paragraph, but from the get go, one thing was clear. HURRY took a hike.
Slowly, I grew to appreciate all that I’d been missing. Stuff like quiet, stillness, time and space…to THINK, therefore, write. No wonder I was just now picking up a pen!
In fact, isn’t time one of the things that makes C-SPAN such a hit? To me, it's down right pleasurable. Aside from the fact that there are no fast-frame, eardrum-bursting commercials, C-SPAN covers events as is, and more. Stuff you’d never see on other channels and often as informative as the program itself. Like in the movie Tender Mercies, there are long, silent pauses where the camera is just on and running, prior to and long after, say, a speaker has left the podium and folks are moving around, mingling. There’s time here for the viewer to take in what they’ve just seen and probably, like the people mingling around are doing, chew on it.
So how might you ask, on the 12th day of Christmas, am I doing on my Don’t Do Hurry mission? Well, yesterday as I was stopped at a red light, a nice bus driver slowly pulled up alongside my car and pointed. “There’s something on top of your car!” he yelled. I jumped out to see the cat bed (size “large”) still sitting atop my convertible. Must have missed it, I laughed.
There’s time, though. Also hope. Recently, I’ve taken to baths more than showers. Actually soaking, as opposed to showering and my usual shake, rattle and roll out the door routine. Sometimes, I even sprinkle in some minerals from a jar labeled, “Tired Old Ass Soak” that offers this for advice:
“If you are too pressed for time to take a bath, take a foot bath — or just quit your job!!”
But I like The Tortoise and the Hare story. Heavy on the tortoise, who proved that you can indeed go where you need to go…even beat a hare…without hurrying!
His mantra? “I may be slow, but I’m sure.”
Something to live by - especially during the holidays.