Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

“Slow down, you move too fast; you got to make the morning last.”

Some of you may recognize those words from the 1960s hit song by Simon and Garfunkel formally entitled “The 59th Street Bridge Song” but popularly known as the “Feelin’ Groovy” song. It is a cheerful ditty which reminds us that in the everyday rush of life, we have to save time to slow down and enjoy the trip.

There are various interpretations of how and why Simon wrote it, but generally it was at a time when the duo was really getting popular in the U.S. and life was moving in fast-forward for them. He felt like life was spinning out of control and the song came to him in a moment of clarity as he was lazily crossing the 59th Street Bridge in New York at 6 a.m. after being out all night.

I heard this song the other day as I was driving way too fast to get from one meeting to another, already thinking about what I needed to do with the rest of the day, the week, the month. Then this song came on and it instantly brought back so many pleasant memories of my life in the 60s--growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin--that without realizing it, my foot started backing off the accelerator. Before long I was singing along with the song and nearly forgot what meeting I was supposed to be going to.

It’s weird how a song can do that, bring memories back like that. I guess we’re not so unlike Pavlov’s dogs; they responded to bells, we respond to music … although I suppose we could respond to bells too if we were conditioned that way.

My youngest son is 16 and I am teaching him the “do’s and don’ts” of careful driving, like my dad taught me. I was pointing out to him that you should never get rushed driving because that’s when you make mistakes. I demonstrated this by using a fellow motorist as an example. This guy was weaving in and out of traffic trying to make time by getting ahead of the next car in front of him.

“Now watch that guy,” I told my son. “He’s in this big hurry to get somewhere and he’s taking chances with his own life and putting everyone else’s life in danger, all so he can get to his destination maybe 45 seconds or a couple minutes sooner. And 9 out of 10 times he won’t get there any quicker because he’ll hit lights and traffic and he’ll just stress himself and everyone else out more.”

As if to punctuate the lesson, the guy had to slam on his brakes because he was tailgating a car that had to stop for a light. We cruised on by him in the right lane and came to a nice easy stop several cars ahead of him.

“See,” I said, but feeling kind of hypocritical because I realized that there are times when I am that guy, even though it is incompatible with my basic nature.

So I’ve decided I need to take my own advice--and that of Simon and Garfunkel--and make this Friday morning last. I think I’ll go into work a little later than normal, maybe have an extra cup of coffee and a doughnut. In fact I may treat the whole office to doughnuts today. Today I’m going to ignore all the work on my desk and all the e-mails in my inbox, get out of my office and visit with fellow employees and people using our recreation facilities and library. See what’s up, what’s shakin, what’s happenin’.

As Simon and Garfunkel would sing:

“I've got no deeds to do,

No promises to keep.

I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life, I love you, all is groovy.”

In fact, I think I’ll get this song as a ringtone on my phone so that every time it rings, like Pavlov’s dogs, I’ll go into a “dappled and drowsy” state of mind. I may even call myself when I need to slow down just so I can get that ringtone.

Brothers and sisters, have a groovy Friday. Peace.

Randy Gaddo , a retired Marine, is Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation, library) in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (770) 631-2542 or e-mail