Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Slow Words

How many of us are familiar with the Slow Food Movement? That's slow food, as contrasted with fast food--Burger King, MacDonald's,the Colonel, et al. The idea is that by taking care with the preparation of food, and giving ourselves time to eat it in the company of family and friends, we enrich our lives--and improve our digestion, BTW.

I think that communication has undergone a similar transformation--to fast words: These are words that move from our transient whim to the cyber-verse in a split second. Think Facebook status update, or Twitter: Bam! You've spoken. You blink and your blink is seen by people you really don't know very well, if at all. How tasty and satisfying is that, after you've gotten over the initial intoxication?

(I grant that a blog might seem like a strange place to be commenting on this, but most bloggers take time to reflect before posting.)

I think that the current obsession with speed speaks to a fundamental emptiness in our culture. I think we have a greed for ease in every area of our lives. It has driven the rise of convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and much of the cell phone universe, as well as providing all the wonderful machines that have made women's lives in particular less burdensome.

But it's like we've responded by being always in a hurry, and the more mod-cons (modern conveniences) we get, the faster we whirl. Why? Why do we need an eight minute lunch? What awaits us that's so urgent? It can't be work, since so many people spend so much office time on Twitter and FB, fighting boredom.

Why do we need constantly updated news? Why do we need instantaneous books? What are we afraid that we're missing?

So I'm advocating a change. Try Slow Words for a start. Don't buy a book on Amazon if there's a bookstore within reach as you follow your daily routine. Call the store and order the book you want; pick it up next week. Savor it under a tree, in the bath, at the swimming pool, in your living room (with the TV turned off). A book is the longest lasting, least expensive form of escape and entertainment there is.

Instead of momentary diversion with fast words, followed by emptiness, take time for Slow Words. They taste good and leave you feeling full of fine feelings accompanied by deep and satisfying thought.

4 comments:

Sydney said...

I'm with you. I am trying to find that blend myself. I cook every meal, and pretty much from scratch, but am trying to get us from eating on the couch in front of the TV to the actual table a few nights a week. And I do like to support my local bookstores, but it's hard to buy full price ones at the little privately owned shops I want most to support. And reading... sigh, that is something I have not been able to carve out time for yet... am working on it. Certainly life is 1000 % slower than when I was in the fashion and entertainment business in NYC, just a short time ago.... THAT was the biggest step to hop on the Slow Train.

Texas Legacy Lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Texas Legacy Lady said...

No fast food for us. Very rarely do we eat fast food and then only at breakfast when we travel. It's overpriced, salted too much and generally not a good deal.

Like Sydney, I cook from scratch and use herbs, celery, etc. to add flavor. Also like to use fresh ingredients, not pop the can. Then we sit down and enjoy it. It takes time but the effort is worth it.

We eat very slowly and savor the flavor. All our friends are usually through long before we are. It seems everyone is in a rush.

Books are my treasures. I love to read, especially about historical events and figures. But also enjoy almost everything written. We must continue to expand our horizons.

Our local library is in financial need. It's sad but I think people just don't read that much anymore. They are addicted to all the gadgets that zap their words into cyberspace. Relaxing with a good book, especially in a comfortable chair in the outdoors is my cup of tea. Blessings.

sizzie said...

This is a good topic. It could take me a while to slowly and thouroughly comment. : ) I do remember back in the day, when there was a lot of talk about 'labor saving devices' . Those would be dish washers and clothes dryers and such. One comedian, whose name I have forgotten, had a stand up routine where he would ask..."what are we going to do with all the time these new devices buy for us?" We seem to be filling them with words..not conversations, but words. A feeling condensed into a one liner for Facebook. A text message that is garbled by missing letters. I will take you advice and slow down for a day or two and see what I am missing along the route. : ) Thanks