Slow Like Me

My adventures at half speed


| March-April 1997


It was an assignment any writer would be intrigued by, if only for the ironies.

“What I want you to do,” said Utne editor Hugh Delehanty as we sat in the magazine’s production room munching chocolate-covered pretzels, “is try to live your life at a slower pace for a while. See if it can really be done. Then write about it for the magazine.”

My boss was ordering me to slow down! Very Utne. And a clever match of subject and writer. Hugh had seen me on many a caffeine jag, dashing through the Utne corridors like Aldrich Ames on his way to the paper shredder. But did he know that I could also sit staring at the lower left corner of my computer monitor for half an hour, up to my eyeballs in the paralysis of procrastination? I hoped not.

No, time and I were not pals. So doing this story might teach me something.

But I smelled a rat.

“What about here at work?” I asked. “Am I supposed to slow down here too?”