By Steve Connell

A 70-year-old woman scampers across the parking lot. A mom pushing her baby in a stroller runs across the street, trying to avoid being a nuisance to the driver who waved her to go. A jerk speeds behind you on the Blue Route, tailing you at 75 m.p.h., six feet from your bumper. All have one thing in common: They are cursed with an internal clock telling them to go faster.

What's the rush? What's the cause for our tremendous hurry?

Consider a certain credit-card commercial that suggests that if we use cash, we will slow down the entire check-out process. We are getting in the way. You would think that increasing your debt with a credit-card purchase would be the real problem.

We are being programmed by our surroundings. It may be time to change the paradigm.

Is it possible to enjoy the present moment? Why are we rushing to get home? Do we really need to sit on our couches, be entertained by reality television, eat more, drink more, and become more overweight?

Society pushes us to do things faster. How convenient is the drive-through at the fast-food restaurant? I think I can complete the trip from my house to Mickey D's and back, including the transaction, in 12 minutes. It's very helpful when I need quick food for my three kids when I'm left in charge. The kids will get their broccoli tomorrow.

We are constantly pushed. Can we change our internal clock? Can we slow down?

Picture yourself waiting in line to check out at a food store. Now picture a frazzled mom with two kids who are screaming, crying, and asking for the candy strategically placed at their eye level while Mom justifies why they can't have it. Why can't we let her go in front of us? I would think the normal checkout couldn't be any longer than seven minutes. The time that you sacrifice will provide you an entire day of satisfaction. You're doing a good thing. Trust me.

Our time is valuable. Couldn't our need to maximize time be superseded by the satisfaction of helping someone who needs our help?

Let someone into traffic instead of riding inches behind the car in front of you to block a traveler just trying to get to the next place. Consider that he or she may be coming from a funeral, a hospital, or, even worse, a Phillies playoff game.

Wait that extra 10 seconds to hold the door when someone is trailing a few yards behind. It's OK. You won't be late because of that; you'll be late because you didn't plan accordingly earlier in the day. You'll feel good for doing it.

So the next time you're in the parking lot, stop and let the little old lady pass in front of your car. If she starts to scurry across, poke your head out the window and reassure her: "Take your time. I'm not in a rush." Remember, that'll be you someday.

Steve Connell (steveconnell@verizon.net) lives and writes in Upper Moreland.