Saturday, September 30, 2023
I’m always in a hurry.
Hurry up and get to the store so I can hurry up and get the shopping done and hurry back to work and hurry to finish exercising so I can hurry up and get dinner on the table so I can hurry up and collapse onto the couch and stop for a second before it starts again the next day.
Sometimes I think profound things about this constant state of hurrying. Usually it goes something like this:
This is so dumb.
But something interesting happened on Thursday. I was specifically unhurried.
I needed to go grocery shopping and as this is the bane of my existence, I usually do it as quickly as possible. It starts with me looking at my watch because I’m not going to spend a minute over an hour on this loathsome task, then I jump in the car and swear loudly to myself about everyone who can’t seem to find the gas pedal and why is it so hard to figure out how to use a turn lane and do they not give driving tests in this state?
Then I bolt down the aisles, talking to myself the entire way like a mental hospital escapee about the price of the pumpkin and why do people think they are the only ones on the planet and could they possibly just move their cart to the side and of course they’re out of ziti, why would they have ziti?
I do self-checkout because I can’t bear a moment of waiting for someone to do it for me, then steamroll my way out the door and back into the car, swearing the whole way home.
It can be quite exhausting.
But Thursday was different. Thursday Ralph asked me to drop him off at Barnes & Noble so he could get a coffee and sit down and do some journaling while I shopped. Then I would pick him up on the way home.
I cannot hurry while Ralph is in the car. For starters, he has yet to figure out that he has married a mental patient and I don’t want to ruin the illusion. It also puts him into a panic and his knuckles always end up stark white from hanging onto the seat and then we may have to fight about it later.
So I drove in a very unhurried way, making sure all my stops and starts were as smooth as lemon cream pie. Then, since I knew he was enjoying a cup of coffee and some journaling, I purposely shopped slowly so I could give him as much time as possible.
I browsed the produce section instead of grabbing the nearest three avocados. I went up and down each aisle, behind all the slowest people, occasionally pausing to look at things on shelves that I never bothered to see.
Did you know there is such a thing as pickled eggs? They come in a jar. I had no idea.
I went the long way to the deli and instead of settling for Colby because it was the only pre-sliced option, I went to the counter and ordered American cheese. I waited while the woman behind the counter relayed my order to the man behind the counter who then asked me a second and a third time how much I wanted.
I saw there was a sale on mayo and that you needed a coupon, which I didn’t have, but have you seen the price of mayo?? Not being in a hurry, I asked the customer service person where I could get a coupon then went to the opposite side of the store to pick up a flyer and scan through it.
I went through the full service checkout and got an earful about the clerk’s weekend plans and sorority retreat where they were going to do karaoke and make s’mores.
Afterwards I stopped at the gas station, then meandered my way back to Ralph.
Do you know how long it took?
It was then that I had my epiphany, which was the impetus for this blog.
If hurrying and being completely stressed about shopping took an hour, and not hurrying and being deliberately unperturbed about shopping took an hour…
Why do I bother????
So I did a little experiment.
For the rest of the day and the next two, I did not hurry.
I walked slowly. I worked slowly. I typed slowly.
When I found myself racing around to make dinner so we could eat before Ralph’s scheduled evening Destiny game, I put on the brakes and decided that I’d get dinner on the table just fine, and if for some reason I didn’t, the world would not come to an end if we ate later.
Magically, dinner got put on the table.
I even washed all the pots and pans beforehand.
It seems that hurrying and not hurrying both get me to the same place. It’s just a matter of whether I’m more or less frazzled when I get there.
After yesterday’s blog about delicious smells I decided I really did need a pot of sauce in my life so I started one this morning. I decided to turn it into pizza so I made dough. And when you make pizza you need meatballs so I made and fried those, too.
In addition to grating cheese and cooking sausage for the topping, I went out to the grocery store – yes, for a second time in the same week – because I was in the mood for ice cream.
The most important part of that is I did it all without destroying the kitchen. I washed every single pot and pan, put away every trace of leftover food, wiped down all the counters and the stove and put everything away before I sat down to enjoy my dinner.
It took me most of a day but what was the hurry?
I’m sure this won’t last. I’ll be a nervous running wreck again by Monday but maybe I will remind myself that hurrying doesn’t actually seem to get me anywhere but crazy.
And since it is about to be a new month I will have a new thing to practice.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some mint Oreo ice cream to eat and I might be in just a little bit of a hurry to get to that.
Photo: I have no idea what or where that is, but it’s pretty much the blur of what my brain looks like on most days. Ice cream is better.