Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back home in California and picking up speed

I am back home in California now and getting back up to speed, literally. When I first arrive home from anywhere else in the world I am always struck by the fast pace we Americans live. Driving home from the Bay Area, Sylvia and I could not help but notice how fast everyone was driving and the crazy lane changes made by some drivers as they tried to go even faster.

We Americans work harder, longer, faster and worry about money more than any society I have visited. We take pride in our ability to "multi-task", we eat in our cars, and we hire people to do things we don't have time to do (like mow the lawn). Our magazines offer recipes for meals that can be prepared in 20 minutes, gyms offer fitness programs that can be done in 30 minutes, restaurants advertise "fast service" its all about time. rush rush rush.

In Europe dinner in a restaurant takes hours, all evening if you wish. You own the table until you ask for the bill. And you must ask. It is considered impolite for the restaurateur to make you feel you must leave by bringing the bill when you have not asked for it. No one cares about the time.

Every evening in Italy everyone takes a walk and visits with everyone else. The piazzas and streets are filled with people; mom's and dads push baby carriages, toddlers and kids run about, grandparents stroll along or sit on a wall or step. Cafes and bars are busy and it seems many people don't go home until the wee hours of the morning.

One night in Cortona, we were walking back to our hotel after dinner in the rain and were amazed to see the Piazza Della Repubblica was empty. Then we noticed a crowd of people standing under a stone arch all talking, and smoking (of course, this is Italy). So the rain did not put a damper on the visiting, the crowd just moved from the open piazza to stay dry under the arch.

So now I am back home and all the economy news is bad, politicians are playing that same old blame game they always play, wars are still being fought and people are rushing about with worried looks on their faces. As for me, I do my small bit by volunteering to help elect a new batch of politicians to replace the current batch of politicians that got us into this mess. Who knows if they will be any better... after all they are politicians too!

I think I will go paint a painting now, as getting into that "zone" one gets into when painting is the best stress release I know.

1 comment:

Linda Farmer said...


You are so right about noticing our fast paced lifestyle compared to Italy. Thank you for such a wonderful workshop in Cortona. I am so glad I went....it is something I will always remember and plan to do again in the future! Your choice of a quiet, slow paced area like Cortona was just perfect!

Linda Farmer