In a Hurry—But Getting Nowhere?
THE DRIVER cruised along at what he considered a comfortable speed: 80 miles (130 km) an hour! His passengers, though, used to the restrictions of a fixed speed limit, were thoroughly unnerved by the fast-moving traffic on West Germany’s autobahns. For there, except in designated sections, no speed limit exists. Indeed, even at 80 miles per hour, cars and motorcycles were whizzing by! Able to restrain herself no longer, one of the passengers demanded: “Why is everyone in such a hurry? Where is everyone going?”
“Probably nowhere,” her smiling host replied, obviously in jest. Because it was apparent that everyone was going somewhere—and rather fast at that!
Nevertheless, why is everyone in such a hurry? Have they forgotten that half the pleasure of traveling is in taking time to enjoy the scenery? Was life really meant to be a breathtaking hundred-yard dash?
Fast cars, fast-food chains, and supersonic planes are the earmarks of an age that makes ever-increasing demands: Faster! Quicker! More efficient! True, few would opt to return to the horse-and-buggy era. And most will agree that some amount of rushing has its place. After all, call for a doctor or a policeman, and you certainly hope they won’t head your way in a casual manner.
Still, is all this rushing around necessary or beneficial? Some feel that it isn’t. Says a writer for the Los Angeles Times: “Harried, hurried and haunted, [many people] rush through their lives under the tyranny of the clock in an Age of Haste.”
The current preoccupation with speed has also contributed to what The Toronto Star called “an epidemic raging out of control”—stress! Stress seems to affect people like an evil potion. It is blamed for an awesome array of maladies, ranging from dandruff and split nails to high blood pressure and heart attacks. Human relations also sour under the pressure of the clock.
Why, then, is ours what is termed “an Age of Haste”? If you feel harried and pressured now, what will your life be like in a few years? Is there any way of gaining more control of your life—of coping with today’s hectic pace?