The first time I arrived at the airport in DC, my husband was quick to point out that there was an unwritten rule for the escalators and moving sidewalks. He said I had to stay to the right, so others on the conveyances desiring to move at a quicker pace could pass on the left. Apparently, this is an even bigger issue in this area than I had imagined. This week, as I made my daily commute to work, I spied a bumper sticker on the back of a car that read, www.slowtraffickeepright.org. I have to admit if there is one thing I have learned in the last year in this part of the country, is you better get out of the way of faster traffic or you may be run over. However, for me old patterns die hard and I am used to doing things at a slower speed.
I am from the south. I was born and raised in Florida, and although my husband grew up all over the world as a “military brat,” he does claim the south as his roots. I know folks in Virginia consider this to be the south, but as cold as it gets here, and with the aforementioned population here having a propensity to move at a high rate of speed, I sure have trouble accepting the fact. Once when I was a kid we had a visiting a relative visiting from way up in Pennsylvania. While she was visiting she said she knew the reason everyone did everything so slow in the south. Her determination was that the heat causes Southerners to walk slow, talk slow, and even eat slow. I know for a fact it does take us longer to say names like Wewahitchka or Topeekeegee Yugnee to our towns and parks thanks to our Native American ancestors, but I beg to differ that we are always speak slowly. Why we most assuredly whittle done some words from two to one, like when we say “dijaeat yet?” instead of “Did you eat yet?” or “hey y’all” instead of “hello everyone.” I find these phrases a much more efficient use of time.
But, there are things that just shouldn’t be done quickly, like eatin’. Since I have been living here, I find myself trying to “wolf” down my food in the morning so I can rush out the door to jump in my car and race to make it to the interstate during that little window of opportunity in the morning before the traffic becomes a moving parking lot. I also tend to eat my lunch at my desk because the office work is at such a fast pace. All that rushing about begins to take a toll on your digestive tract and if I am not careful, I am going to be in jeopardy of not even realizing what I ate. I liked when we had time to go to the local buffet when we were stationed in Valdosta, Georgia and take our time dining on fried chicken and collard greens, after church.
I also like hanging clothes on the line, or swinging on a front porch swing. There is a certain peacefulness that can only be gained by slowly shaking out your freshly laundered clothes and soaking up the sun as you pin them to the line one by one. That peace just can’t be achieved by quickly throwing your laundry in the dryer. Each evening as our children were growing up, we solved many a problem, by slowly rocking on the front porch. It was a time of night that the children knew was just for mom and dad. After we had washed up the dinner dishes, we would head out to the porch just to sit for a while and discuss our hopes and dreams. Taking life a little slower, in a fast paced military life, gave us time to reflect on how best to deal with our challenges too.
So the next time, somebody honks their horn at me, or shoves their way past me, I’m gonna’ ask them if they saw the new sticker I am considering plastering to my car, www.slowtrafficjustright.