Would It Be So Bad – Life in an old novel

Would it be so bad…

Would it be so bad if we all slowed down…just a little?

Would the world spontaneously combust?  Would the progression of mankind be severely disrupted if we did just a few things the way we used to do them?

As an American, every time I go to Europe I instantly feel a sense of relaxation, as though I have entered a vortex in which the speed of time slows to a much healthier pace.  I stop in this sensation like I have just entered the Matrix and look around me at the people passing by.   One undeniable truth I realize in that moment is that life still functions the same – the only thing that has changed is me and the way and speed in which I do things or observe them.  I wonder then, ‘Was I really accomplishing so much more in the stressful ways I was doing things?’  Now, this is why I implore you – can we all slow down, just a little?  I think the world would be surprised at the good which could come from such an experiment.

For instance, would it be so bad if we commuted to work like Cinderella?

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Seriously, think of the benefits of fresh air, the reduction of the carbon imprint, the exercise for the horses, and the opportunity to wave and call out to passersby given the reduced speeds!  There would likely be a reduction in highway accidents, unless you’re riding like Paul Revere and determined to have “horse rage”, yet the point is to take a little hitch out of your giddy-up.  Enjoy the ride, don’t go everywhere in such a damned hurry.  Believe me, you’ll start to notice the difference in how you feel.

For the more pragmatic, think of the savings.  Why, who needs a fairy godmother when you can settle for this comfy barouche?

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Would it be so bad if we quit emailing, texting, tweeting, facebooking?

When did we all start to have so many important things to say that we need to blast them out to the entire world?  When did words become more powerful and important than actions?

Our busy schedules have made us lazy in correspondence.  We no longer take the time, make the effort, or deliver the “grand gestures” because we think we can accomplish all of that by the mere click of a mouse.

Our insatiable craze for connection via social media to reach as many people as possible is actually eradicating our physical connections, our true human interactions.

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Just think of the sentiment that goes into the effort of dropping off a little gift in someone’s secret mailbox compartment like Laurie did for Jo March in Little Women.  This would keep potential suitors fit, active, and honest…  They couldn’t very well skirt around town dropping pears off in all the ladies’ mailboxes without going unnoticed!  And a secret compartment wouldn’t necessarily be considered the official mailbox, thus not a federal offence to “tamper” with it or rather, deliver a token of affection.

It is great to meet people from faraway places via the internet.  I myself have met some wonderful people from across the globe online and correspond regularly with a few of them.  I’m not suggesting we get rid of the internet, but let’s not forget where we came from…

Would it be so bad if we still wrote letters?

Capt. Wentworth writes to Ann in Persuasion

Can you remember the last time you got an actual letter?  It’s sad to say, but there are likely people who have never gotten a letter when once upon a time it was the only means of long-distance communication.

Whether you saw someone five hours ago, five months, or five years ago a simple piece of paper spattered with inky words always has the power to say, ‘I gave a damn so much that I sat down and wrote this out like a caveman for you!’  That gesture in itself today likely means more than it ever did because what is it that sitting down to write a letter today says?  It says you took “time” – something that we’ve discussed we hate wasting in these modern times.

Why does Ann look so speechless?

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Perhaps all the servers in the world have just crashed and she is realizing how grateful she is to have held onto that letter from Capt. Wentworth 😉  Perhaps she has simply never seen handwriting before in her life…

Why is there nowhere to go out dancing anymore?

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No, bars and clubs don’t count, not really.  I’m talking about the 6 o’clock in the evening type of dancing where the main entertainment doesn’t revolve around liquor.  A place where you can take the kids, where they can learn to dance by watching the adults.  A place where they are safe and can stay out of trouble.

Why do we often think that dancing now-a-days has to go hand-in-hand with being intoxicated.  It’s difficult to do anything in moderation – we want it all or nothing it seems.  Why can’t we go out on a work night, have two drinks, and dance our tails off?  DVR Game of Thrones and get your butt out there.

Why do people think they have to have formal training or be any good at dancing to attempt it at all?  Just get out there for crying out loud!  Let loose, have some good clean fun that everyone can  join in on at a place where the whole community can mix and mingle without the drama.  Well, okay, we all love a little drama – it’s human nature, but like the song says, “Shut up and dance with me!”

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Folks, I think by connecting we’ve disconnected in some regards.  People gather in masses but with the media’s portrayal it seems more often to protest and commit violence than to come together.  What else is there to bring a community together?

Why did we get rid of it all – the bowling alleys, the roller rinks, the town & community dances?  Why did we retreat to our dark lairs and sit like moths in front of the warm glow of a computer or television screen?

Would it be so bad if we went back to the handshake instead of the IM?  Can we spare the time?  Is what we’re doing really working for us or is too much modernity actually a prohibiting us from the full benefits of human interaction that used to be the stuff of old novels?

– Drea Damara

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Author of The Weeping Books Of Blinney Lane 

 

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