Pardon Me?

“Please speak clearly and slowly…” the message on the voicemail machine instructed me before I could leave a message.
I thought it was annoying, redundant, unnecessary.
But now I think the whole world needs to speak clearer and slower.
Is it just me, or has everybody just started speaking faster?
It seems to me that while watching some tv shows the characters just have to get their lines in no matter what the cost.
And they often seem jumbled and garbled and I cannot understand what they are saying.
Thank goodness for pause and rewind features these days which allow me to stop and replay what they said.
Sometimes even then I am at a loss.
And a good joke gets missed.
A poignant thought gets unheard.
Granted, I do believe I have some degree of hearing loss.
A hearing specialist told me so some years ago.
And yes, I do believe I have a mild form of tinnitus.
A constant ringing in my ears tells me that.
But they are not enough for me to not hear things.
I can hear the birds, I can hear the wind, I can hear all sorts of beautiful and subtle sounds in nature and at work and at home.
I can hear the cats use the litterbox in the basement – no small feat indeed!
I can hear the cookie package being opened and chip dip being made.
I can hear sirens and trains and most things on the decibal scale.
But when it comes to words, some people think faster is better – to get all their thoughts in and words out to the detriment of whatever the thought was.
I notice it in speaking presentations, zoom meetings, in-person conversations.
Are we growing such short attention spans that we feel the need to speak so fast lest we get passed over?
Nevermind the fact that we can watch video presentations on 1.5X or 2X the regular speed so we don’t have to spend as long watching them!
We are encouraged to speak faster and faster lest time run out and we are not heard at all.
To get our two cents in.
To have our say.
But, as with everything, faster is not better.
Thoughts are getting missed.
As a tv anchor and reporter for many, many years, reading the news aloud to viewers helped me to learn to speak slower and clearer.
I wanted to get the point across, the story told, and not have anything missed.
Granted, trying to keep those stories short and to the point was a challenge – but every word was (hopefully) heard and understood.
And as we as a society have less and less time, or so we think, and shorter attention spans, and tv shows and movies have scenes that are cut so fast and short so as to get them all in, lest our interest wane, I would urge, nay beg, everyone to just slow down please.
There will always be enough time.
There has always been and always will be the same amount of minutes and seconds in a day, an hour, a week.
There is plenty of time.
We just have to learn to make better use of it, perhaps.
To adjust ourselves accordingly, have better time management, and not have to speed up or rush through things.
And yes, speak clearly and slowly, please.

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