Real soup doesn’t come from a can

Brian Regan points out that Pop Tarts® are the culmination of our impatient society. In addition to the traditional toaster-centric instructions, they have microwave instructions. Who is so busy that they don’t have time to toast a Pop Tart®? Who needs to be awake and out the door in seconds? I would ask who doesn’t? Who can afford to spend more time on something as trivial as a Pop Tart®? Microwaving is almost always better.

I went through a phase where I didn’t sleep more than a couple of nights a week. I had too much to do and too little time. I was once asked when I found time to sleep, to which I sarcastically replied, “Sundays.” But my reply was more true than not. A good night of sleep might be seen by some as a casualty of our fast-paced society. But if I can function with less sleep, why spend more of my life semi-comatose? Being awake is almost always better.

Last night my friend Rachel and I were having grilled cheese sandwiches. I like chicken noodle soup with my grilled cheese, so I grabbed a can of Progresso® ready-to-eat toss-it-in-the-microwave-for-a-few-minutes “homestyle” chicken noodle soup. Rachel turned her nose up at the thought. She said, “Real soup doesn’t come from a can.” I replied, “It does if you want it in two minutes.” Easier is almost always better.

Some say that cell phones have become a tether. The length of the phone cord of a traditional phone puts unnecessary constraints on movement and activity. This is a tether. I feel that cell phones make us free. At any given moment I am less than three rings away from anyone who has my cell number. But I am free to answer my phone, or not. I am free to turn it off, or not. I am free to send text messages when it would be inappropriate to leave the room to find a phone. I am free to multitask: I talk while driving, walking, shopping or working. If I had to find a land line to talk with someone during all these tasks, I would be far less productive. Connectivity is almost always better.

While it is true that faster is almost always better, it’s the exceptions that are interesting. The true question isn’t how we save time, but why. When I shave twenty minutes off of the time it takes me to make a bowl of soup, where do I spend the excess? Do I keep my life in balance? Every minute I don’t spend preparing food, working or doing homework is one more minute that I can allocate to the things that interest me. In the end, I try to move faster because it allows me time to slow down.