Hahaha! Reading your post I was reminded of my impatient bewilderment waiting for my bacon and egg sandwich in a general store down the south coast. The bloke really was in no hurry at all. People wandered in and had a chat as I sat hungry and bemused; “how can it even take that long? Has he not turned the hot plate on? Do the laws of physics function differently in this place?”
My mate had moved down to Culburra Beach many years earlier and every visit was like stepping through some kind of vortex into another dimension where time has slowed down. My mate grew up in housing commission flats in Marrickville and lived in Sydney until his late twenties; he is no stranger to our fast paced and stressed city existence. After many years de-compressing on the south coast, he laughs at our hectic behaviour whenever we enter his realm. It seems he has exorcised the constant desire for activity and distraction we are addicted to in the city; and no he is not sitting glued to a smart phone or computer, nor is he on any drugs.
Maybe that same discomfort at a lack of action and stimulation is why “Tree of Man” is so difficult for us to get through. We have been conditioned to need perpetual drama and Patrick White denies us of our fix. However, if we stick around long enough we find ourselves immersed in the harmony and mystery of it all. We shake off the static of our hustle and bustle city lives, at least for a while. There will be withdrawal symptoms, but it is definitely worth the effort.