I hate going out these days.
Everyone is in such a rush.
On the roads people jump out in front of others when they really shouldn’t. Others drive too close to the car in front. Some rev their engines in frustration. Motorbikes weave dangerously around cars in their effort to “get ahead”. There are even some drivers who purposely get into the wrong lane then push into the right one at the last minute.
Sadly though it isn’t just on the roads any longer. Maybe it hasn’t been for a while and I am only just noticing how obsessed everyone has become with speed. No, I haven’t lived in a bubble for the past 20 odd years. I know it has been a thing talked about often – how we are all rushing about in the rat race.
The problem, as I see it, is:
- It isn’t just in big cities or even small cities for that matter
- It isn’t just on the roads
- It isn’t just working people (the members of the “rat race”)
- It isn’t even just “rush hour” (which incidentally is more like 3 hours now!)
The more I look, the more I see that it is people from all walks of life. People who are out and about for a wide variety of reasons. From mothers with children to elderly couples and all those in between. They are all walking as fast as possible. They stand in queues fidgeting and complaining or huffing audibly. The tactics used on the roads are even employed in shops and on the streets. They try to jump the queue, to get ahead, to cut down their own waiting time. They occasionally pretend to not understand where the queue is – a tactic normally employed by the older generation.
Women pushing baby buggies use them to bully their way down aisles or to get in front of someone. Their children seem to be trained to kick up a fuss at the most crucial moment giving the mother an excuse to be rude or at least back up the silent plea in her eyes that beg you to give her a break. When these women pair up with others of their kind, there is no chance of anyone getting through them. Their tactic changes slightly and employs conversation as the main stratagem. They chatted away as if they haven’t seen another living being for months) and ignore the children who, having already deployed their usual “kick up a fuss” routine, behave abominably. It you so much as say “Excuse me please”, they will turn on you with venomous eyes and, at best, move 1 inch before ignoring your attempts to squeeze through. Meanwhile their children are hindering any person in sight, enjoying the freedom and the chaos it causes. The mothers continue chattering away. It is only when their children pester them or hinder them that they will pay any attention. Typically a chastisement the children have learned to ignore after a few seconds.
Yesterday, I was in the grocery store using one of the self-check out machines. There were 6 of them in total. A women with a buggy kept inching her way at me the whole time I was scanning my items. I only had 6. At the third item, I started slowing down. I hate to be rushed. She kept pushing that buggy forward. By the time I had finished, it was just millimetres from the backs of my calves. I was angry as I left vowing to never go to that store again. I know that is childish but the customers in that store tend to be more rude than in others.
But why?!It was mid-morning. No where near and school run times. She wasn’t dressed as if on her way to work. The items she was buying were only snacks (crisps and sweets really). So why on Earth was she in such a hurry? I am the first one to give the benefit of the doubt but only if I can think of a good excuse for an individual. But when they are so many behaving in this way, I can’t come up with enough reasons!
On the way back to my car, I passed by the little playground in the middle of the High Street (is it a High Street when it is only a village?). As usual, there were children wanting to play but none on the equipment. They were tugging at the mother’s arms and trousers and being told “we don’t have time today”. It is very, very rare to see a child having more than just 1 go on the slide. But there is never a seat available at the bakery and always a queue going out the door.
Back at my car, I put my shopping in the boot and climb into the passenger seat. There are cars queueing in the car park and one already has it’s indicator on to grab my spot. I shut the door and sit. I turn on my iTunes, put my headphones on and play Jack Johnson’s “Inaudible Melodies” and listen. It is one of my favourite songs. When it finishes, I climb over to the driver’s seat and get ready to set off. The queue of cars has gone and no one is waiting for me to pull out.
I don’t feel guilty at all for duping the other drivers waiting for a space to park. If I hadn’t taken time to calm down, I would have, no doubt, become more annoyed on the drive home.
So my message for this post is simple: SLOW DOWN! Maybe try to plan things to allow you more time to get stuff done. Take a moment when you need to calm down.