Munchers on the go

THESE are people who don't hate to eat and run. In fact, they like to eat while they run, walk, or otherwise accomplish some worthy second task. The latest in American fast-food habits, trend-tracking press reports assure us, is the one-handed lunch of an apple or a sandwich gulped down on the go. Soup and hot foods are out. The on-the-go munchers, usually intent on scurrying to the next meeting, are nothing if not busy; candidates for Time Wasters Anonymous they are not.

They live, of course, in the fast food capital of the world. And many Americans have long taken a distinct national pride in their sometimes singular devotion to the work ethic.

We have no quarrel with the fast eaters' aim of increased efficiency. For many, shortcut meals are a necessity - for any number of reasons. Those who eat alone often prefer to read or watch television while they munch. Why not?

However, as a general mealtime practice, racing about while eating suggests more of an '80s impatience with waiting in lines and with anything which is not specifically productive. Do these moving eaters really chalk up that many more Herculean accomplishments than the rest of us? Tips on time management rather than more time may be the need.

In short, there is a lot to be said for taking a few minutes during a hectic day to relax, whether or not that reverie happens to be accompanied by eating. It can be a civilized way to accomplish two worthwhile activities at once. Taking time is not necessarily wasting time.

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