The Age of ‘I wonder…’

When it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift any day. ~Marty Bucella

 “Just a recommendation,” I offered to the man behind me, who’d just exhaled a loud sigh. “If you ever see me in a line again, head for a different one.”

He eyed me with suspicion rather than laugh at my attempted humor. But I had no simple way to tell him what I knew to be the truth.

I’ve been born with the uncanny ability – whether at McDonald’s, the supermarket or the bank – to consistently make the wrong choice when it comes to any line.

With today’s technology, you’d expect us to easily breeze through any type of queue.  After all, remember those boxy tan registers with rows of round buttons from the 1960’s? The cashier had to search for a price sticker then push multiple buttons to ring up a single item. God, it’s a wonder we found time to watch “Leave it to Beaver.”

Back then, I don’t think I was ever bothered by the delays I often experience now. In fact, I’d watch wide-eyed at the cashier’s skill at stabbing the amount so quickly. In a single movement, she’d thrust the item down the belt towards the bagger and immediately swoop the next one. Cash was exchanged, followed by the counting back of change the old-fashioned way; where the cashier actually had the math skills to understand why on an $8.75 purchase the change from a ten-dollar bill came to $1.25.

But now we live in the Age of ‘I Wonder’…as in, ‘I wonder how we can do this faster.’  Where paying by cash is seen as a time waster. Where the register calculates the change and nobody ever counts it back. And although we like to believe technology is moving us through our mundane tasks faster, our electronics have their own built-in delays; a credit card magnetic strip gone haywire, forgotten pins, a customer’s search for a ringing cell phone as the cashier waits for payment, or a bar code refusing to scan. I’m usually behind all those people.

Guess we can’t control everything.

Last year, my doctor informed me that I suffered from high-blood pressure. A reality check was due.

So with age (and hypertension) comes wisdom; delays at the register are now referred to as my newfound “free” time.

I use it to skim a magazine to learn new tips on how to “spice it up” in the bedroom. Or I study the menu at McDonald’s to discover their new healthier options. Sometimes I even secretly people-watch, a useful moment of study for any writer.

This more Zen-like approach has brought me some measure of peace. After all, why am I in such a big hurry? Is an extra two minutes of waiting worth adding to my health woes by an increasing my blood pressure? Even if I have an important destination, what’s the worst that could happen? Will stock markets crash, governments crumble, or anarchy develop across the nation? Not likely.

I’ve stepped into a new age of ‘I wonder.’ Iunderstandit’s my destiny to be there; to take a second to enjoy the view, breathe, relax. In short, not take such an insignificant moment in life so seriously.

If you do find yourself delayed on a line one day, look in front of you. If you see me there, tap me on the shoulder. We can do some relaxation breathing together.

Patiently waiting on line in the middle ages

Patiently Waiting on Line in the Middle Ages

5 responses to “The Age of ‘I wonder…’

  1. Too true Sharon and well said. Life has gotten too fast for me. I do believe I was meant to be a housewife in the ’50’s when women dressed up to go shopping and made a day of it. I guess there is no going back!!

  2. I love this. It’s important not to act like hamsters on a wheel, running as fast as we can, but getting nowhere fast. When in a slow moving line, people watching (as a writer) is the best use of our time!

  3. I think it is just the law of averages. My husband likes to play ‘change the line’, and inevitably we (he) chooses the wring one. If we go together he will actually have me on one line with him in the next! Beautifully written!!!

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