Monday, December 11, 2006

Slow Is Beautiful: The Ugly Side of Multitasking

This funny story from The Seattle Times about doing goofy things while driving has a serious undercast. As I've emphasized in my talks, such multitasking is not only dangerous (the story followed a serious traffic accident caused by someone typing on their Blackberry) but robs us of the pleasures of doing something for its own sake, and doing it well.

The story I use in my talks involves a couple of points: One woman told me her daughter could change her entire outfit while driving, including pantyhose. And a German woman once came up to me after my talk and said, "You know what the difference between your culture and mine is? In Europe we order a latte and spend a couple of hours talking with friends in a cafe. But in America, you use it for fuel!" In the Netherlands an American ordered a latte "to go" and they didn't know what she meant. "We make it right here," she was told.

And on and on. The point being that in this country, we're doing so many things at once we have no ability to appreciate the moment. It's like we've rephrased the homily about stopping to smell the roses. Sure, take time to smell the roses...while text messaging on your Blackberry, drinking a latte and driving on the freeway hellbent to your next appointment!

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