America’s Speedy Culture

For the past two days I have been out among fellow Americans as I stopped at businesses during what is called “the rush hour” of leaving work. The time for these observations was between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. I have been saddened and struck with amazement at what I’ve seen.

Day before yesterday I went to the grocery store during that time. How quickly people were moving their carts and themselves through the aisles. Children were told to “hurry up”. Comments such as “that’s DONE!” were heard as people grabbed their bagged items and rushed out the door.

Where is everyone hurrying to in America? My son suggested they were going to their second job. Really? All those people, even those with young children in tow, were rushing to a second job? I don’t believe it. Some are, I’m sure, but not all of them. This is a new phenomenon to me to see everyone rushing around like their pants are on fire and they’re all trying to find the fire extinguisher.

Yesterday I happened to be at the gas station during the same time frame. People were jerking their cars around each other in an angry attempt to get to the gas pump first. Why? Were we about to run out of gas at that location? I watched people run – I mean literally run – to the store to pay for gas and then run back and pump it. I was stopped behind a truck and there was a man standing at it pumping gas into his gas tank. He and I were the only ones who seemed to notice the delightful small chihuahua who was hanging out of a large truck’s window barking his head off at anyone who got too close to it. The dog must have weighed all of five pounds, if that, but he was a serious sentry for that truck and he did his job well as he waited for his owner. I caught the eye of the man ahead of me who was pumping the gas as we both watched the silly little dog. We were laughing and enjoying his antics. Meanwhile people around us were rushing around like their pants had caught fire again and they were still hunting a fire extinguisher.

Why? What are they rushing towards? Why aren’t they talking to their children with words other than “Hurry UP!” as they go through these times.

No wonder younger people are having heart attacks and strokes. What do they think is at the end of all their hurrying? I’d hate to think when I got to the finish line of life that I could remember so little because I ran through the whole thing and it was all just a blur.

Yes, times have changed and I’m an older woman, but I took walks, I watched sunsets, I just stopped to enjoy the moments when I was younger. I feel very sorry for today’s Americans, who cannot stop for a moment in their rush hours, to take a breath. And I wonder how many of their hours are rushed?

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