331. Being Slow

I recently had a conversation with a friend who had a stroke a few years ago. She is paralyzed on one side of her body, and like me, has to do things more slowly than she used to. That can be quite frustrating. It takes her longer to do simple tasks most people take for granted. Same here. Buttoning buttons never used to be an athletic task for me, but it is now. And as for Chopin’s “Minute Waltz,” which I used to try to play in a minute, forget it.
That’s the down side. But there is an up side. When we write, we have to take our time. We’ve both gone from being proficient typists to hunting and pecking with one hand. That makes it so that getting our thoughts on paper takes much longer. We can type no word before its time. And having plenty of time, we think. I’m not saying you quick people don’t think, but it often helps to think slowly. As you rush through life, you miss a lot, and as you rush through communication, you may bypass le mot juste. We slow people have time to get the subtleties.
We often hear that wisdom comes with age, and there’s some truth to that, but for Pete’s sake, I’m only forty-seven! Well, almost forty-eight. And yet I’ve been called “wise” by so many people that its starting to go to my head. I’ll take some of the credit they’re giving me, but I also give a lot of credit to my slowness. Not being able to type sixty words per minute, and not being able to be part of the rat race most of you have to run, I have plenty of time to think.
And sometimes I have to stop. Right now, for example. When I finish typing this paragraph, I’m going to stop typing and go have breakfast. I’m tired of typing. As I eat, I’ll bet I’m going to think of more things I want to write. Maybe they’ll be profound, or at least clever. For now, I’ll let the beginning of this article age a little.
I’m back. It was a good breakfast. I listened to the news on the radio, and didn’t think much about this article. That’s all right. My writing style, which is often stream-of-consciousness, does not require that I always know what I’m going to say before I say it. In conversations, it’s often a good idea to prepare your messages mentally before you let them out. That’s not the case when you write, because no one has to see your words until you want them to. Back in my pencil and pen days, I had to plan a little more, because I didn’t want to have to start all over on a new piece of paper. But now I can mess up without worrying. Thank Heaven for the delete key.
My stream of consciousness carried me to a lagoon where I didn’t quite stick to the subject. That’s okay. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any urgent business I have to attend to. I’m writing this article on the Fourth of July, and I declare independence of the clock and the calendar. I think someone ought to design a bumper sticker that says “Slow Power.” And I think drivers who sport that bumper sticker should stay proudly in the right lane.

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