Americans Are Way Too Busy
by James Glaser
November 1, 2011
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Do you know it was just a few years ago that I was living in Northern Minnesota, and I didn't have a mail box at home. Why sometimes it would be two weeks before I would pick up my mail at the Post Office. Oh yeah, I didn't have a phone, and our television only got three channels. I miss that.

Now, when I get in the car and start down the driveway, I check my pocket to make sure I have my wallet, and then I think about my cell phone. For 50 years I didn't have a cell phone, and for many of those years I had no phone at all. Now I start to worry if I don't have one to go the three miles to town and back.

Every day at about one in the afternoon the Postal Lady drops another handful of mail in our box, and sometime after that, we walk out and cross the road to get it. Real letters are few and far between. I don't think Americans write letters any more. Probably because they are too busy.

If you don't have a phone, and no computer or computer type toys, and your TV only has a couple of stations, you have time every night to think. Because you have that time, you sometimes start thinking of loved ones and old friends. So, if you are just sitting there with not much to do, and no electrical means of outside contact, you might just think about writing a letter.

The United States Post Office is going broke. Is that bad? Do we really need them any more? Actually, the Post Office has become a vehicle for the distribution of advertisement and a way of sending bills to those of us who prefer getting the paper kind.

So, I ask you, does the Post Office work for the people today, or are they really there for the good of businesses?

Do you know your neighbors? Do you ever walk over, or do they come by your place to have coffee and just talk? No? Why? Are both of you too busy?

Do you have a hammock out in your yard to take naps in? How about a swing? Do you use either, or are you too busy for that? I am, and I don't particularly like it.

How about vacations? When is the last time you rented a cabin up in the mountains or by a lake and just lazed around for a week and relaxed with no contact to your work-a-day world? I bet it has been a while. Maybe years?

Let's make it easier than that. How long has it been sense you stopped everything because the book you were reading was so good you couldn't put it down? How long has it been since you read a good book?

Eating. Do you ever take the time to cook a real meal other than on some prescribed holiday? It really doesn't take all that long, in fact if you count driving to a restaurant, it could be faster than going out, healthier and cost less to. Why don't we cook at home, me included? Is it because we have so much to do that the restaurant is like taking a break?

I heard on NPR that people in Sweden only work 173 days a year, and that in most European countries everybody gets at least a month off with pay each year. Not many Americans get that much time off, and many who do decide to work anyway.

It is amazing how many American workers think it is a good thing when they get to work overtime and get the extra pay. Americans love to work, or maybe they just don't know any better.

I believe because Americans are so busy, they don't have time to really think about their government or where our country is headed. Americans let our media decide what is best for us and who is best to run our country. People don't have the time or energy to go listen to a political speech, but they might watch a debate on TV, where the questions are controlled by which ever major media outlet puts the debate on. No more bipartisan League of Woman Voters debates, because the political parties and the media could not control the content that the voters were allowed to hear.

So here we are busy, busy, busy. We don't take time to relax, nor do we have the time to spend with neighbors nor to keep in touch with old friends. Americans work and watch. They work their jobs and watch what ever the media prepares for us. Those who give up TV have the computer screen to hold their attention.

So how about this? Give yourself a treat. Take some time for yourself and relax. It could be on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Get out in your yard or go to a park and sit and watch nothing. Maybe listen to the birds or watch the clouds float across the sky. Do nothing, and see what you think. It is amazing what doing nothing can do for you.

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