Monday, November 22, 2010

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

My friend Elliot calls me Iggy, short for Instant Gratification.

I have always hated waiting: Waiting for the new Adam & the Ants album to be released, then waiting to save up my allowance to buy it, then waiting to be allowed to ride my bike up to the record store.

I want what I want, and I want it now. I am, after all, an American.

Lately, however, I find myself valuing moments, and things that take time, things that remind me how incredible my existence is, how wondrous -- and how fleeting.

Mundanely enough, this line of thought started with the microwave-in-bag potatoes I found at the Safeway last week. Looking at them, I realized that there is virtually nothing to wait for anymore (Muni excepted). In the words of Kenny Chesney, I've been living in fast forward.

The elimination of waiting, I think, has come at the cost of a near extinction of mindfulness.

I hate walking down the street and seeing white earbud tails snaking down everyone's neck, or the ubiquitous Bluetooth earpiece. It feels disrespectful and droid-like. My friend Vicky and I a few weeks ago had dinner in a restaurant where virtually everyone was not talking to the people at the same table, but texting someone else.

We spend so much time distracting ourselves from where we are that, while it may seem as if we're stuffing our lives chock full of experience, we're draining the miraculous, Tweet by mundane Tweet.

This is one of the reasons I was delighted when Chronicle folks were given tickets to Cavalia last week. For those unfamiliar, it's a Cirque du Soleil-type show, but with the addition of beautiful, majestic horses.

Sitting in the dark, watching the amazing feats of the acrobats and trick riders, I felt part of something greater than myself. A connection, perhaps, to ages gone by when people entertained each other just like this: with comedy, beauty, stories and dangerous stunts that celebrate the fragility of our existence -- but also the immense, magical promise of being alive. Not alone, each on our own iPod, but together.

That is ... I've been living in fast forward ... but I need to rewind real slow.

1 comment:

Shaken Mama said...

I'm with you, particularly the "texting" habit which just seems rude. I asked for that function on my phone to be disabled!

But as for the potatoes, there are TIMES when there are certain children who have all come home from the park really hungry and pissy, and the ancient art of sitting by the oven, waiting for it to preheat, then for the potatoes to bake... ain't gonna happen.

That said, I'm glad I've unplugged my kids as much as possible, in a world where they're learning how to manage their own boredom and fill their time with worm-related experiences rather than one of many forms of media.