We often complain about how rapidly things seem to take place now and how we long for the good “old” days, when—it didn't seem—we rushed around as much as we do now. Many times I have said to myself, “Oh we were just as busy, it was just different things.”
Last week, as I watched the newscasts of the assassination of JFK “within” the newscasts of the current day, it was very apparent to me how much we, as a society, have sped up. First of all, let me say that I did not watch everything. Secondly, this didn't happen in one day. But as I listened, it stood out to me that the reporters of 1963 spoke very slowly and wanted to get this story RIGHT. There was no hint of “being first—your breaking news here!” It was just the (horrible!) facts, pure and simple. (A short clip of Walter Cronkite is here.) The newscasters reported with the gravity and importance of the matter. Then, it transitioned to the news reporter of the day, polished, reading from a teleprompter, but getting as much information into the moment as possible.
I was struck by the juxtaposition. Let me be perfectly clear. I love Brian Williams. I don’t love every newscaster and will always have favorites, but my evening is complete with Brian Williams. But even he, reported his story at about twice the speed as the story within the story.
During the reporting of the Kennedy funeral, it was OK to have “dead air” time. It was OK just to watch, without commentary. That is rare now. We have to be told everything, when we are intelligent enough to just watch. Sometimes I want to “just watch.” (Don’t even get me started on sports commentators).
This got me to thinking about “why” everything is so fast today. Obviously, news reporting is but one issue.
Commercials today are but sound bites. They move at twice the speed of the 60’s. I actually saw some of them as I watched “As the World Turns,” where the announcement of the JFK shooting cut into programming. You actually learned something about the product, not just a few bullet points. When my children were younger, I would ask them what the commercial was actually selling. Many times it was difficult to figure out. Oh, I get the exposure and even competition, if you will, of the Super Bowl commercials. They pay dearly for that competition time. I am talking about the everyday commercials. Watch them sometime, when you haven’t DVRed the show and fast forward through them.
I digress, but just the ABILITY to fast forward—think about it. We have the ability to fast forward our lives. Watching TV with my husband and son drives me nuts. Flipping all over the place (hubby) or backing up to “show” me something (son); how I long to just WATCH a show!
It’s hardly worth mentioning fast foods. My son worked his college years flipping at the arches. I know they have timers and speed is important. Fast is not just fast; it’s expected to be FAST! Lord help the individual who can’t keep up; but as consumers, we’re just as bad. What is taking so long? Why isn't that employee properly trained?
Cooking at home: I am personally spending more time preparing and eating fresh foods. It may be as a result of getting cancer, but this is NEW to me! For decades I have been cooking FAST! There was a practice or a game to get to; maybe a church meeting, we had to be someplace! This didn't happen overnight either, it commenced when my daughter entered the world of OHSAA sports in the 7th grade. Add another athlete a few years later, and by 7th and 12th grades, we were out every night of the week.
I was talking to someone recently about communications. We all have something that makes it easier to “connect,” but then we have to stop and remember, “How does Aunt Sue communicate best?” Not everyone does Facebook, not everyone checks email daily, not everyone texts, not everyone has a smart phone. We have to stop and think with each individual what the best way to get a hold of them is. This hasn't made it easier! Back in the “good old days” we had snail mail and a family telephone. Of course, it took longer to do business on the job. Now, we’re “more efficient.” That is, if no one makes a mistake.
“Retirement” hasn't made it easier, or so I am told. People are busier than ever. I am all about volunteering; but we choose how busy we’re going to be. The only time we don’t choose it is when we have to see doctors, or we have some emergency in our inner circle. Otherwise, we allow our “former” lives to invade our retirement lives.
Frankly, people, I am going to SLOW DOWN. That doesn't mean I won’t exercise, that’s a given, and we ALL need that regularly. However, the rest of my life doesn't need to be filled with activities.
After all, I still have to watch the news each evening and watch commercials at warp speed.
Does anyone else have an example of the speed of life?