Slow down or smell the smoke

By Sean Pearson

Homer Tribune

It’s ironic that modern technology continues to develop more and more sophisticated ways to save us time, and we choose to use that time to do more and more things.
In a lightning-fast Internet world, the availability of more people, faster communication and higher production capability accelerates our drive to produce more stuff, use more resources and travel further and faster.
Understandably, our lives are now more fast-paced and hectic than ever. Multitasking enables us to do 20 things at once, but do we really need to? Why are we all in such a big hurry?
It’s easy to focus on always trying to speed everything up, as everyone wants to get ahead. We spend a lot of time looking toward the future and racing to get to the finish, when we’re not even sure there ever really is a finish line.
People get caught up in the constant rush of life and lose sight of humanity. We speed along, always with our minds on our next destination.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Carey Restino - A Happy Valley crash site where a car burned.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Carey Restino - A Happy Valley crash site where a car burned.

There has been a lot of road construction in and around Homer this summer. Busy schedules, procrastinating children and that compelling need to get somewhere fast can often combine into  disastrous results.
Last week, a Sterling Highway driver fell asleep at the wheel and careened into oncoming traffic near Happy Valley. The resulting collision injured several people and caused one of the cars to burst into flames. Some people stopped to help. Others drove on by.
According to one witness, at least five cars chose to get out of the line of backed-up traffic to cruise by the crash scene. They were, in fact, trying to get past the flaming car and the four injured people so they didn’t have their day held up by someone else’s emergency.
This was before the ambulances and fire trucks got there. So, rather than help, they blazed on through.
Last Tuesday night, Alaska State Troopers responded to an accident involving a motorcycle and a moose at Mile 92.5 of the Glenn Highway. The 29-year-old driver was pronounced deceased on scene and his 25-year-old passenger was transported by Life Med to Anchorage, where she is listed in stable but critical condition.
Troopers went out of their way to thank the multiple citizens who stopped and performed CPR and first aid until emergency service vehicles could arrive.
What a compelling, yet somewhat shameful, contrast to the Happy Valley accident.
Is this practice of putting our need for speed ahead of human suffering just the reality of today? Is it proof of moral decline?
Slowing down is a conscious choice. It’s not, however, always an easy one. Taking an overall slower approach leads to a greater appreciation for life and a greater level of happiness.
Life moves at a fast-enough pace already. It seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be this way. Rebel against the hectic lifestyle and just slow down. Stop the mad rush; pause and listen.
Because when we rush too quickly, there is too much blur and too much white noise for us to discern what’s really out there. Life then becomes “hazy and without detail, way off there in the distance.”
And the memories that matter to us most fade quickly away.

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Posted by on Jun 25th, 2013 and filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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