I’ve mentioned before that I commute to Boston for work a couple of days per week. There are tollbooths along the way. Each one has several Fast Lanes where you can drive your car through without stopping to pay the fee or take a ticket – you just receive a monthly bill based on the toll fees you’ve accumulated. I haven’t signed up this convenience yet and the other day, while on my way to Boston, I thought about whether or not it was such a good idea after all. Since I’ve begun to make this trip, I’ve had some quick but very pleasurable exchanges with some of the tollbooth attendants. Most of the time, they’re pleasant and I usually drive away feeling good. I’m familiar with many of them and with some, I’ve even been able to buy rolls of quarters for parking if I was out. I guess I like the personal interaction that I experience by going through the slow lane. And, anyway, when the traffic is heavy, the fast lanes are even more backed up than the pay lanes.
We have so many opportunities these days to forgo the face time with people. We have online banking and shopping, we can purchase our movie tickest at kiosks at the cinema or order movies through the mail. We make donations online, we can even order a meal over the internet. These are all contemporary conveniences designed to make our lives easier, streamlined, and faster.
Yet, I think about my time in Boston and who I interact with, besides my colleagues, on a daily basis: the tollbooth attendants, my friend Gene who raises money for the homeless, workers at some of the local restaurants while I’m waiting for my food, other customers who are waiting near me, a woman who was selling chocolate at the farmer’s market the other day, the security guard at the bank, the wonderful bank teller who I told the other day, “You’re good,” because she was concerned that she was giving me too many options and she apologized with a big smile on her face (she’s a doll and I love to see her), even the meter maids, who most people complain about . : ) No, my days in Boston would not be the same if I wasn’t able to take a few minutes or even a few moments and talk with these wonderful people or just say hello. As trivial as these occasions may seem, they have formed real relationships and they're the best parts of my day because they always bring me joy. Sometimes I believe that these moments are the real reason I’m there in the first place.
Yes, I could sign up for the fast lane but I’m not sure how often I’d use it. Maybe I’ll just continue to take it slow…