Not only do we now have the ability to move through space faster than ever,(have you seen any of the newest Ferrari’s or Lamborghini’s…..hell on wheels!) but our need for speed seems to go beyond burning rubber and putting the pedal to the metal.
When I was younger, I remember driving my car without being able to return telephone calls at the same time. If I had to make a call, I either pulled over to a gross, bacteria-infested telephone booth or I waited until I reached my destination and used a land line (in those days we didn’t need to differentiate between a mobile phone versus a telephone you plugged into a wall!)
Bills were paid by taking the statement, detaching the remittance slip, preparing a cheque, putting both into an envelope, sealing it, applying a stamp and then walking it to the local mail box. It would take a few days to get there…but it would get there.
If I needed to research anything, I usually took public transit to the Metro Reference Library and went to the card catalog drawers to begin my slow search. Once I found the book, I would walk to the appropriate section, aisle and shelf where that book was supposed to be and then sift through the pages of the book until I found what I was looking for. It was called “research”.
If I wanted to buy that long awaited release of a record album by my favorite band, I had to wait until release day, go to the record store, pay cash (not debit) or, if I used a credit card, I had to wait for the clerk to call into get the credit card authorized. They would jot down a series of numbers on the voucher (in triplicate; one for me, one for the merchant and one to return to the credit card company), I would then sign it and would be on my merry way.
Going back even further in time, I remember going with my father to our local shopping mall where they had a dumpy looking LCBO (liquor store). If we wanted to buy anything, we had to browse through a catalog to find what we wanted (or should I say what my father wanted…afterall, I was too young to drink), take a form, fill out the code of what we wanted (beer, wine, spirits), take it to the clerk at the counter and wait for our order to be processed.
Everything took time and lots of it. No one seemed to care one way or another how long it took because it took the exact amount of time that was required.
The pace of life just seemed slower. People were able to accomplish what they needed to and didn’t seem to stress out doing it (or at least not as much as they do now).
The crazy thing about technology and our ability to do things faster is that with that ability, people seem more stressed than ever. When I was younger, people just seemed to be nicer.
Could it be that with our ability to get things done faster, we are putting additional pressure on ourselves by trying to get even more done than is realistic?
It seems like every moment of every day needs to be crammed tight with stuff to get done – and when I mean stuff I mean the mundane stuff…not stuff that necessarily enriches our lives.
You would think that with technology allowing us to get our tasks done faster that we would have more time to devote to important stuff; like spending time with friends, being outdoors and enjoying nature, exercising, reading a book…time to pause – time to think.
Nope…no such luck. Technology has only allowed us to compress more stuff into 24 hours.
Isn’t that great?
Its even worse in the work place. Now, bosses place huge demands on us because of technology. They want answers to questions lickety-split. They want presentations thrown together by the end of the work day because our access to information is just a click away. We fire off emails to co-workers and colleagues retrieving the information required. But we don’t always get the information we need from these people as fast as technology allows.
What the boss doesn’t realize is that the colleague or co-worker we are getting the information from is also buried under a sea of emails and that they can’t possibly get to your email in time because there are hundreds more in front of it that need attention sooner.
Tom Cruise famously said in that really bad yet highly memorable 80’s classic, Top Gun, “I feel the need, the need for speed”.
I say, what’s the rush?