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Sloweth Down

Carolina Fernandez

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"Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things will be yours. " Carole Winer

Driving my new-to-me-but-several-years-old car into the back of a ten-ton semi three weeks ago has inspired me to adopt a “sloweth down" M. O. Yes, (because I imagine you're wondering) I was indeed in a hurry to get to an important meeting; yes, (because it is probably statistically significant) it was raining and the roads were horrifically slippery; and yes (because I know you're thinking it) I was reaching for (but not talking on) my cell phone.

The exact details leading up to my metal-on-metal-exchange on Interstate 95 heading northbound in lunch hour traffic are not completely relevant. What I do recall, however, is that I left my office in an exasperated state, with that feeling of über self-importance that “if I don't get all of this done the world is going to stop spinning on its axis" that always-always!-comes up and bites one on her rear end. Me especially.

As I looked up, too late, to see my hood ornament fly into the back safety bar of the semi, my immediate slamming on of the brakes had no impact; it only spun my tires out and allowed me to hit the truck a tad bit more gracefully. Moving at a mere 2-5 miles an hour, if caught up in a car, the damage would rank in the fender-bender category. Indeed, the auto body shop calls my mishap a “baby bump. " But as I was directly behind a flat-bed semi and my car has expensive parts, the ending had dramatically different consequences.

So these past three weeks have found me slightly out of sorts: my rental car, endearingly named “the Barney mobile" for its grayish grandfatherly qualities (the kind lady at the dealership proclaimed when she handed me its keys that “this car is nice and safe, my dear") does not stay inside our garage as did my own car, but rather outside every day in our driveway, throwing my morning pre-work ritual off balance; I forget which side the gas tank is on, disarming me when I swagger up to the gas pump; and as it lacks a remote key chain, getting briefcases and gym bags and boxes of books in and out is more cumbersome.

I've learned my lesson.

When I think back to the accidents I've had in my life-and I've had more than my fair share-the “hurrying through life" theme resounds. Hurrying into tennis clothes one night cost me a broken toe-and six weeks without tennis. Hurrying down the stairs one morning cost me a turned ankle and a sprained thumb-and soreness throughout that week which could have been completely avoided.

I'm starting to observe people around me who always seem to be in a hurry. For you see, I was taught-growing up in the northeast, where people do EVERYTHING quickly-that if you look like you're always in a hurry, you will exude confidence. Professionalism. Importance. Like you do not have time to waste doing silly things.

But as I observe people around me who always seem to be in a hurry-women in particular-I've decided that I don't like what I see. Women who always seem to be in a hurry lack grace. I work with a young woman who walks so hard and fast-always-that I can literally hear her coming down our carpeted hallway four offices down. Her heels pound into the flooring. She seems irritated by anyone getting in her way. Hardly stops to smile and rarely says hello to those she passes.

I'm going to adopt a “sloweth down"modus operandi. Not mentally. I like thinking quickly. But certainly physically. I'm going to make a deliberate effort to drive slower. Walk slower. Eat slower. To stop and note beauty more often. And understand that most will not do the same. The other day, as I walked into my gym for my morning swim, I noticed some darling tissue paper flowers lining the bulletin board. Surely the pre-schoolers made them to mark spring's official arrival. I exclaimed out loud: “How pretty are those flowers!" only to be met with a snarly “Yuck. They're artificial. I hate fake flowers" from the attendant. Taken aback, I recognized that most people do not sloweth down. Not to take in beauty. Not to drive slower, walk slower and eat slower either. We Americans thrive on productivity, rather than sensitivity.

But I'm adopting a new M. O. Starting now. Just in time to get my car back. As a physical reminder that rushing through life will eventually come up and bite you in the rear end. Or, in my case, the front end.

An author and artist-and financial advisor by day-Carolina Fernandez brings her creativity and design insights, along with experiences garnered through eight renovations, to her second book Country French Kitchens (Gibbs Smith, March 2008). Her writing has appeared in over one hundred published articles and stories, including her first book ROCKET MOM! Her weekly newsletter spins to readers across the globe. She has been quoted in dozens of magazines, columns, blogs and articles, and has appeared in radio and television programs across the country, including the FOX News program “Your World with Neil Cavuto. " She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their four children. Please visit: , where you can get kitchen and design news as well as sign up for her free weekly newsletter “gleaux. " Learn how to incorporate the warmth, beauty, comfort, charm, and joie de vivre-the art of living-so many of us desire into our kitchens, our homes. . . and our lives!


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