I can’t even remember what it was last night that made me think that I’m living in a fast food world, but the thought won’t leave my mind. Mostly because it’s true. Everything is geared toward speed these days, and it’s filtering over into every aspect of our lives. Well, all but two things anyway.
Drive-thru banking would have been a great idea – if they’d limited transactions to deposits, withdrawals, and check cashing. But then they allowed people who need make payments on everything they own to take advantage of the service. People who are usually ahead of me in the queue. I figure they all own at least three houses and half a dozen vehicles, given how long I’m stuck in line behind them.
And we’re not even going to count anything related to doctors and medical treatment because those things have always taken forever – and will likely continue to do so…until Star Trek technology becomes a reality.
All joking aside, take a stroll through the aisles of your grocery store. Home-cooked meals are becoming a thing of the past. Now we have huge selections of pre-packaged stuff that can either be thrown together and baked in an hour or less, or nuked in a few minutes. Instead of dirtying a bowl and beaters – because five minutes is too much time to spend whipping up a batch of frosting that our taste buds might celebrate, we’ve learned to settle for ready to spread glop that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good. The worst thing about it is the fact that these food-like substances are loaded with chemicals and preservatives, but who cares? It’s all about saving time, right?
We’re annoyed when it takes three months for a movie to come out on video after it finishes its run in theaters, or when we have to wait a week for the television program we missed to show up online.
Websites and apps are constantly being streamlined to make them easier – and faster – to use. And you don’t even want me to get started on the newest and best in cell phones and computers – every year. If we can’t download something in a few seconds, time to buy something faster.
Business are keeping personal information on their customers in an effort to push them through the cattle chutes as quickly as possible. We pay small fortunes to have items we order delivered in twenty-four hours because we can’t wait the few days it will take if we opt for regular mail service.
The need to fly through life can be seen in the way we live, too. How many times have you been cut off in traffic, or while shopping in the past few days? What about the past month or year? Everyone is in a hurry. Courtesy and speed limits? Nothing we need to worry about. The Me Generation is alive and thriving, and like a virus, assimilating several other generations as it spreads.
So what are we giving up as we try to free up time ‘here’ in order to spend more ‘there?’ Our physical health. Our mental health. Quality time with the people we care about. Adequate amounts of sleep. And in too many cases, we’re trading years that we might have lived had we not caught the fast food bug.
Sometimes I just want to shout, “Slow down people! In your efforts to pack as much living into your life as you can, you’re losing far more than you’ll ever gain.”
But I’m afraid it would be like spitting into the wind…
***Photo credits: Morguefile