The Hurry Up! syndrome

People in a hurry.

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1. The Hurry up! syndrome

Rush, rush, rush. It’s the same every day of the week. You have to get the children to school on time, the nanny hasn’t turned up, and you’ve run out of cornflakes. You have a pile of work to do at the office and you’re running late.

  Your husband has taken the new car to work and you’re stuck with the old Fiat – the one with the dodgy battery. So this morning, just when you need it, the wretched thing won’t start. In frustration, you kick the side of the car which only then co-operates and bursts into life. Just as you are about to set off, junior says he hasn’t got his gym kit, so you rush back upstairs to get it. The garage door opens with excruciating slowness, while you sit there fuming. Nobody will give way to you at the crossroad, so you edge out into the road and force the traffic to stop. You then find yourself at the traffic lights behind a pensioner driving a battered old van. He misses the green light – you sit there, impatiently tapping the wheel. The lights change, you press the horn. In confusion, the old man stalls his engine and misses the green again. Eventually he gets into gear and pulls away just before the lights change back to red, and you’re still stuck there. “Oh, no,” you shout, “you old fool, I’m in a hurry.”

Do you know anyone like that? They could be suffering from ‘hurry sickness’. If so, they are not alone. The sufferer tries to do more and more with less and less time to do it in. It is so common that science writer James Gleick calls it in his book ‘Faster: the acceleration of just about everything’, the disease that defines our decade.

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