Friday, April 3, 2009

Slowing Down

I'm not sure when I began equating being fast with being good. Perhaps it was when I took piano lessons as a kid and thought that if I played something really fast, it would sound much better than if I played it at a more normal tempo. Of course, you've probably guessed that one of my favorite pieces was Chopin's "Minute Waltz," played in less than a minute, mistakes and all. Unfortunately, I still play fast - and make the same mistakes.

In junior high school, we had to take typing classes and the teacher always gave speed tests. I never did learn how to type the "correct" way, with the "correct" fingers. Nope, I figured out how to type with three fingers and my thumb on each hand, skipping the "pinky" finger entirely. It's a wonder it hasn't fallen off from disuse. Anyway, it was fairly simple to use the same passage for the typing test each day. Heck, the teacher never did check. All she seemed to care about was how fast we typed a passage. I got pretty fast with that passage, probably because I'd memorized it.

Fast forward several years to high school when I learned to sew and make my own clothes. People still did that in the 1960's. I always wanted something to be finished immediately so I could wear it to school the next day, so the faster the better.

When I started working in an office, I wanted everything to be finished almost before it was started. That led to speed filing, speed typing, speed phone calls, and so forth. When I began walking and biking long distances, the faster the better. Who cared for the scenery or the birds. It was more important to get from one place to the next so I could do something else.

Since I began quilting many years ago, I concentrated on that and hadn't really sewn any clothing since my kids were small. Today I decided to make a dress. I started to do my usual "let's get this thing done now" act but then stopped. Why did it have to be done immediately? Why couldn't I just take my time and enjoy the process? Gee, what a novel idea. So, I tried. Instead of trying to sew as fast as possible, I slowed down. It seemed too slow but I persisted. Pretty soon I started having fun, taking my time, making sure the pattern matching and sewing was done correctly instead of slapdash. You can probably guess the partially finished dress looks pretty decent. It's still sitting on the table, half done, waiting for me to work on it again tomorrow.

Later on this afternoon I took a long walk, ostensibly to do more geocaching. However, instead of a power walk down the trail, I took my time, stopping occasionally to listen to the birds, to appreciate the blooming red bud trees, which I'd never seen before, and to check out how high the water table is here. I did find a geocache, but took my time doing that as well.

I'm still typing fast, using the same six fingers and two thumbs. However, I'm enjoying that also. Maybe that's part of growing up - slowing down and appreciating things more.

One of my favorite Simon and Garfunkle songs is this one:

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the mornin' last.
Just kickin' down the cobblestones,
Lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy.
Ba da da da da da da, feelin' groovy.

Hello, lamppost, whatcha knowin'?
I come to watch your flowers growin'.
Ain'tcha got no rhymes for me?
Doo it doo doo, feelin' groovy.
Ba da da da da da da, feelin' groovy.

I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morningtime drop all it's petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy!
Ba da da da da da da ba bap a dee...

Guess I should listen to it again, huh?


Yarntangler said...

Groovy! I love your blog.

Old Newsie said...

Kinda young to be slowing down, don'tcha think. Maybe it's a good idea just the same, maybe I should have done it 20 years ago but heck, I ain't got the urge yet

spiritualastronomer said...

For that, you get a preview of what I'm going to write about later on today - just need to figure out how to use it.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love