Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hustle Bustle

I had a very weird experience last night. Jo-Ann and my Daughter Sara and Husband went to see the movie 300 at a local big box, 20 theater movie place. Mike and Carol had seen it and we thought it would be worth seeing. It was. Lot's of killing and maiming. The experience evolved as we tried to find a parking spot. Heavy rain had flooded the basement parking so everyone was trying to find spots in the outside parking lots. Everyone. An absolute crush of people. We managed to get our tickets, find some seats and then I went for popcorn and junk food. That's when it hit me.

lines of people. queues. Hoards. Everyone in a hurry. Rushing to relax. The sales girl serving our writhing snake of a line moving like a high speed automaton, shuffling through inches of spilled popcorn on the floor. I wanted a large popcorn, large coke, and some Reeses peanuts. That's when I realized I was on a different planet. The girl, young, hair tight under a cap, eyes glazed did not speak the same language as me. I could understand some of the words. It appeared she wasn't sure what I wanted but suggested instead:

"pkgonelrgpopcornandpopndchzoftwizlersorglossets.??"

Her words all run together and delivered with machine gun staccato. Robotized. I repeated my request and she hers. Then I realized: She was speaking Macdonaldeze. I suppose in order to speed up consumption they don't have time to actually take peoples orders. They want, practically force, certainly coerce, us into ordering packages. Meals. Number one, some type of named consumer package, the " full meal deal ". Something they can save nanoseconds of the consuming process by only having to punch one symbol on the cash register. The point of the exercise.

I remember having vague misgivings when they started calling a hamburger a sandwich.
Burger and fries a meal. That was a long time ago. Now they have managed to change our culture. Jeez just shoot us up with RFID chips so we don't even have to talk. They could just tell us what to buy and electronically debit our accounts. It could save many consumoseconds. Now, that's a word I just coined. Feel free to use it. It is one hundredth of a nano-second. I hope you don't have need to use it often.

I wonder how real all this rush is. Are we any more productive because we are encouraged, cajoled, expected to be available 24/7. No one got upset because they didn't get an answer to a letter in less than a week. You better have a good excuse if your a week late in getting back to someones email. Our very lives are being robbed nano-second by nano-second, our Souls, scorched. Think of the expression " Burn-out". What exactly are we burning? Every business on the planet in one form or other says something to the effect of: " our people are our most important assets". From who's point of view? Because they are people or consumables?

Our "Leisure time" must be fast, zoom zoom, multi-tasking
hyper speed adventures. There is no lazy in relax, but we have been convinced, trained, that there is.

Go faster. Slow down. Hug your dog. Now. Only kidding, whenever.

2 comments:

Carol said...

Phew! I could feel my pulse increase as I was reading that. I remember really noticing that same thing after a 10 day camping trip to a remote part of Vancouver Island. Now I don't really notice it, but sometimes I realize it when I'm waiting for the bus. The bus comes every 4 minutes during rush hour and it just makes me feel like I'm wasting so much waiting for it to arrive.

michelle said...

although halifax is a pretty laid back spot compared to larger cities, there are still moments when i would like to stop in traffic and yell, "everyone just slow down and breathe!" i've been reading your blog through mike and carol's for a while now, and have to say that i envy your escape from the fray. :)