On slowing down

So, there’s a new kettle. It is super-whizzy fast and energy-efficient and boils only the precise amount of water needed, down to the millilitre. It is so fast, in fact, that it boils almost before you’ve switched it on. On paper, it is way better than my slow, stove-top kettle in all ways.

At least, I’m sure that’s what the marketing bumpf says. However, that perspective assumes that speed is of the essence. Maybe there are people out there whose lives are so busy that saving 5 minutes from the time it takes to make the tea is a huge deal, but I enjoy leisurely tea-making. It’s part of the process. It means that there is time to clean out the teapot (which I rarely do in advance), to warm it, measure out the tea- leaves, find the right mug, get the milk.

The time it takes my kettle to boil creates space in my day, which I value, particularly on working mornings. They have a propensity to veer all too easily towards making me feel as though I’m getting on a treadmill, so anything that defers that is a bonus in my book. I’d rather read a few pages while I’m waiting. Tea-drinking is an activity that can be multi-tasked; tea-making, on the other hand, keeps me tied to the kitchen until the kettle sounds its ferocious whistle. It’s a forced pause.

So if the choice is between speeding up and slowing down, I’ll take slowing down.

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