Wednesday, March 09, 2016

I Wish I Were Here

I Wish I Were Here

I must admit that I am not good at waiting. When I make an appointment with my doctor or my dentist, I prefer it to be tomorrow, not two weeks in the future. When someone calls and asks me to come over, the best time for me to visit is that afternoon, not three weeks from Saturday. When I call one of those Customer Service folks and someone puts me on "HOLD," I simply hang up.

Now, some of you will devise that I may be suffering from OCD — Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I'm not so sure, however, that I am either obsessive or compulsive. I just hate waiting.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's, I must have developed this need for instant gratification. After all, once television hit the airwaves sometime in the mid-50's, peoples' lives moved from the dining room and the family dinner hour to the couch facing the TV. Dinner was served on TV tray tables, and more often than not, the plat d'hôte was a TV dinner. I had a special fondness for the fried chicken plate. Mmmmouth watering. Some of you will remember that subtle undertaste of tin.

Today's generation is much like the one in which I spent my youth. Everything today seems equally instantaneous. Microwave dinners, drive-thrus, fast-food restaurants, smart phones, high speed Internet — all these point toward a generation of millennials who have no tolerance for waiting.

Patience, it seems, is no longer a virtue. Patience has taken a backseat to spontaneity, to the immediate moment. The "test of time" has become a heresy. Someone smashed the cosmic clock, and now the only thing that really matters is ... now.

The sad part of all this is that there is less appreciation of how things develop or evolve. After all, "time is money." So, the quicker something gets done, the better. What seems to be missing in this philosophy is some kind of aesthetic for the journey. Too few of us enjoy the "getting there." We just want to "be there" as soon as possible.

The world is changing at an increasingly rapid rate. That is all well and good, but there is a voice inside my head that wonders if we haven't sacrificed something in our hurry to zoom through life — get a job, get married, have kids, move the kids out, and retire to some beachfront cottage. People seem less satisfied with the "doing" and only seem satisfied with the "done."

Even love is now a hurried thing. Relationships develop at lightning speed, more often than not on the Internet. People "fall in love" sometimes before the two participants even meet. Instead of saying, "You make my heart skip a beat," people should be proclaiming, "You make my heart Skype a beat."

Well, I could go on and on, but you'll be skimming by now. As a writer in today's world, one learns to be succinct. Anything beyond 140 characters, and your readers simply drift away. Yes, I know I'm way over 140 characters, so I suspect I had better stop.


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