Purpose one: writing a travelogue to describe my various trips.

Purpose two: muse.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hurry Up and Enjoy Life

I was driving in San Francisco the other day and came up on a lady who was driving badly: a good 10 MPH below the prevailing speed and with her signal persistently flashing.  I could tell by the hesitant maneuvers of those around her that I was not the only one who found it troubling.  She then made a terrible lane change (see option #2).  I was already a bit impatient from other bad drivers that day and could not resist the temptation to honk at her when I was finally able to get past.

A couple of lights later we were backed up.  She caught up with me and pulled up alongside me with her window rolled down.  I rolled down mine as well so she could say her piece.  She asked me -- politely, to her credit -- to slow down and enjoy life more.  Somehow, capitalism was also involved.  I'm fairly certain bad driving and bad logic does not always go together, but I do see a pattern where those defending bad driving does so with poor logic. 

I have heard and read this many times, verbally, in shows, in magazines, etc: in order to enjoy life, it is necessary to go through it slowly.  I fail to understand this premise.  How is speed related to enjoyment, in either direction?  It is true that some experiences are best at a slow pace: enjoying a well-prepared meal, spending a quiet evening with good friends, watching a whale migrating from a lazy sailboat.  Not all of life consists of these types of scenarios, though.  Many other pleasures are best with a potent mix of endorphins and adrenalin: winning a race, watching an intense movie or play, sex

Further, I am curious about a philosophy that says optimizing your waiting time at red lights is something to strive for.  Sure, there is a speed in the fast end that increases risk and aggravation, but there is also a speed in the low end that makes it seem like you are driving in slow motion and are getting nowhere fast.  The trouble is that these brackets are different for all of us.  The attentive drivers and the polite ones understand this and act accordingly.  A poor one invents philosophical excuses for being a nuisance.

Personally, I make no excuses for aiming to minimize the cost, in time and pain, of my transportation.  Anticipation accentuates pleasure, but efficiency increases its volume.

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