Sunday, October 5, 2008

Haste Makes Waste

I have many happy memories of the summer of 1996. It was the summer before my junior year of college, and my family spent several days at the Atlanta Olympics. We saw some inspiring athletics, had lots of laughs, and enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together without school or jobs to get in the way.

Unfortunately, there is one memory of that adventure which my brother and sister will not let me forget. Ever. We were all standing in the MARTA station waiting to get on the subway. The place was packed with people, many of them from other countries, and it was hot, dark, and deafening in that station. After a long sweaty day at Track and Field and Baseball, we just wanted to get back to our parked station wagon and head home.

My dad was no exception. Like the rest of us, he was eager to get out of the city and into a cold drink. Impatience got the best of him and when the next train rolled into the terminal, my father charged through the throngs of people in order to climb aboard. What he failed to do was read the sign and realize the train was headed in the direction we didn’t want to go. Worried that my family would be separated (this was before cell-phones) I raced after Dad, grabbed his arm, and yelled at him to stop. He was determined to make that train, and after I grabbed and yelled a few more times and my family didn’t follow him, we had a knock-down drag-out fight in the middle of the MARTA station. Dad was pissed thinking we had missed the train, and I was pissed that he wasn’t listening to me. Mixed with thirst and fatigue, it was a terrible combination and we both showed our worst sides as a result.

I remembered our family blow-out as I watched this week’s episode of The Amazing Race. So many times these teams run into trouble simply because they don’t stop for a second and collect themselves. One brief moment to re-read a clue, listen to a partner, or ask for help would solve so many problems. Twice the divorced girls made huge blunders just because they were being careless. The southern blondes, the fratties, and the brother and sister team all drew blanks as they stared at the wall of phrases. People lost their tempers and their logic, but in the end what they lost the most was time. All that rushing around and scheming to get the first cab ultimately didn’t help them a bit.

When you travel, you’re undoubtedly going to encounter something stressful and maybe totally unfamiliar. Just take a minute, breathe, and think before you find yourself hopping on the wrong train.

Favorite Quotes:
"They didn’t even say HI to us!"
The cute African-American girl: "Our faces don't get red."
"I don’t mind playing dirty as long as I'm the one that benefits from it."
"Girls from South Carolina are not stupid. We might be a little slow but we’re not stupid."
"I have a lot of things in my life to be thankful for. I have my health, I have my parents, I have my looks, and I have Stephanie."

1 comment:

julie said...

Sarah- What a FANTASTIC post! And so timely (but we can talk about that another time over a microbrew at one of the spots you mentioned in your article.) I too have memories of great family moments spoiled by impatience of myself or someone else that obliterated the otherwise positive experiences we shared. You write so beautifully and the power of your example is more forceful than the simple reminder to slow down. Thanks for this!