“Slow”ly occurring to me

Tom Waits, in an interview, once said something about a cheap:fast:good formula. In his beautiful drawl, he suggested that you could maybe get any two of those three variables; probably two, never three.

I’m building some turnouts for a friend. It felt so good to be asked and I’m flattered to be invited to help him with his layout. I know I can build these quickly but I’m not going to. Last night, I spent a couple of hours just on this component. Deliberate work and no time wasted but, equally, no experience wasted – I know, from experience, I can build a complete turnout in that same period of time but even if I had to redo one eventually they’ll be done and installed and I won’t get this time back. I can’t take any part of this for granted because, this time, only gets spent once. No matter what, I’ll deliver good track to my friend. Not just “good” for how well they work but how much I enjoyed making them.

This hobby, this life, is intended to be good.

Categories: How I think

16 replies

  1. Not only will the care time care taken improve running qualities, but it will also improve ones ability. I know when I slow myself down my quality improves exponentially. Well said Chris

    • Everything gets better and the time feels better spent. I’ve got to stop approaching the hobby the way I do my job. I’m no less proud of either but not doing myself any favours when I work the hobby like I’m on someone else’s paid clock.


  2. I thought that was a Jim Jarmusch quote, but those two cross pollinate ideas.

    • You’re absolutely correct.

      Tom Waits was telling a story and the line was the same Jim Jarmusch line we’re both thinking of. I struggled on how to correctly attribute it without muddying up the opening moments of this post, so landed as I did.


  3. Your friend will greatly reward you with the accolades you deserve for doing this.

  4. We call that the “iron triangle” in software development, usually in the order good:fast:cheap, pick any two.

  5. Great forumla.

    Nice to see you doing some track work. I’ll have to pick your brain on building switches soon.. about ready to make a Fast-Tracks order.

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