Life in the slow lane

20 May 2010
We went to the shops yesterday - a trip to the big mall down on the coast. Gulp.  Hanno jumped at the chance to come with me, he's been at home alone while I've been at work these past two days and there was a big electrical repair job being done in our area so the electricity was to be off from 8 am till 3pm. I needed to buy provisions for some of our homeless clients. Now that winter is here, they need sleeping bags, blankets and tents, so along with those thing we also bought saucepans, frying pans, and a couple of nifty little gas stoves and propane gas to keep the stoves going for a while.  It was good to have him with me to help with the bulky items we would buy.  In the end we fully loaded two big trolleys.

The scene at the end of our street when we came home.

It's interesting going into a place like that if you're not used to it.  People rush.  I'm sure they don't know they rush, but they do.  And, they apologise if they can't rush and if they hold you up so you can't rush.  The total of our bill was $955, and I had to pay with a cheque from the Centre I work at.  The girl put the items through but the register refused to take the cheque.  She called a supervisor and they both apologised that we couldn't be on our way quickly.  Hanno and I were just fine, we went and sat just off from the checkouts and waited.  We did some people watching as we both find that very interesting. Finally the supervisor asked me to go with her while she checked my details on the phone.  Everything was cleared and she apologised (again) for holding me up.  I told her it was fine and that I wasn't in a hurry.  She looked at me like I'd just landed from another planet.

Also at the end of our street - a timely reminder to slow down.

We went back to the till and she had to re-enter everything back into the computer because the first girl had wiped the sale from the system.  The supervisor apologised again because I had to wait.  "It's fine, dear"  I said.  "It's not your fault, and besides, I'm not in a hurry."  Her eyebrows turned into little pointy arrows and she peered at me above her glasses.  While I stood there waiting, customers walked into the queue behind me but glared when they realised I was holding everything up.


I live in a slow world and nothing will make me hurry when I don't have to.  I realise it's a completely luxurious and indulgent way to live but it's one of the many benefits of growing older and I enjoy it immensely.  Not only is it an ideal way to be at home, but it gives you the chance to see what's going on when you're out and about; you can observe other people and you can see that they rush.

The back of our car was full of fleece blankets, sleeping bags, tents and little stoves.

I guess it took about 30 minutes to get through the checkout.  We didn't rush through like most others and we received several apologies because we could not rush.  Had the checkout staff been able to see what Hanno and I got up to after we left the store, I'm sure they would have shook their heads and mumbled something about pensioners or old people.  LOL  We ambled out with our two fully laden trolleys and went straight to the first coffee shop.  We both had a big mug of steaming hot coffee with weird squiggle art on the top and a dusting of chocolate powder, then loaded the car and returned to the store to look around, slowly.  Then we drove to the beach, bought some fish and chips in a paper parcel and sat, surrounded by seven hungry, begging herons, gazing out to the perfectly blue Pacific Ocean.  We didn't talk much, we didn't have to.  We fed the birds, enjoyed our lunch, then drove back home.

I don't know what I would have thought of two old codgers slowly dawdling in front of me in a shopping mall when I was younger and much faster.   I'm sure they wouldn't have annoyed me but I probably would have felt sorry for them, because they weren't getting through their shopping faster.  Let me say this loud and clear: life is fine in the slow lane.  The 15 minutes you might save by rushing isn't worth it. There is a time to rush, we've done that many times, but not rushing is much better.  You get to see what's really happening around you.  You really experience your time.  You are stress-free.  It's wonderful in the slow lane, join us, there aren't many of us here.