What volatile relationship shall I blog about today? Time and space. Einstein’s been there, done that, I know, but Einstein never had Super Target. A safe statement to make about Americans is that they value efficiency. We love our time, and we love to maximize it. Ironically, we use up a ton of space. Our suburban sprawl would give ol’ Jefferson something to smile about. Because we are so smugly efficient and technology obsessed, the effect of space on our time isn’t as important (Skype being the perfect example) — time-space compression.  Things run at a bit of a different pace here in Spain. Efficiency is neither the goal nor the means for success. There are no supermarkets where you can buy a converter, a bike, Scooby Snacks, and sporks. People walk everywhere — even walk their kids to school (shocking, I know), buy groceries a couple times a week, and aren’t always punctual. Time is treasured here, but not as Americans treasure it. Americans enjoy time well spent. Spaniards simply enjoy time. They get drinks with their friends, go for walks with their families, and sit in plazas to watch the hubbub. Another difference is that there is little space to spare here. Where one might think efficiency would make for easier living when most families share the space a bachelor would in the US, it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Time-space convergence probably doesn’t even translate.

Is one way of life necessarily better than the other? One set of values healthier or more sensible than the opposite? I don’t think so. After escaping the clutches of suburbia, I will probably be rather disenchanted by it for awhile. Maybe I’m just listening to too much Arcade Fire again.


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