Monday, February 4, 2013

Waiting? Who Has Time For That?!

From Sunday's Times and News-Star

An aging Ben Franklin said a bunch of neat things, including, somewhat wistfully, upon seeing a breathtaking maiden in corset and satin and lace at an outdoor party in France, “Ah, to be 70 again.”

But another thing he said, this time as Poor Richard, was this: “He that can have patience can have what he will.”

Of course, he said that long before the invention of the microwave, the iPhone, call waiting or even the Pop-Tart. In Franklin’s day, waiting was not an option.

Today, the most sagely humorous of our Founding Fathers would consider an amendment, I should think. Something like, “He that has no patience can have what he will anyway – and pretty quickly, depending on the length of the line at the drive-thru.”

If Ben were alive today, he’d be, well, very old. But he’d also be very surprised at how waiting has become so overrated.

Waiting? That’s so 20th century. As the now Internet-famous Sweet Brown said on one of the year’s most viral videos, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

No. Nobody’s got time to wait. Waiting is for losers and for people bringing out your food. And if it’s a buffet -- or if you call in your order or email your order -- you don’t even have to wait on your food.

Sometimes the impatience of the younger crowd surprises me. This is a generation that thinks you should be able to read “Waiting for Godot” in 30 minutes and watch “60 Minutes” in 10. Of course, you CAN watch “60 Minutes” in 40 minutes, if you’ll only remember to set your DVR.

Daily I have to remind myself that today’s generation – called Generation Y, the Millennial Generation or Generation 9/11 – are not to be blamed for their attitude concerning waiting. They’ve never had to wait on squat. Has your child ever even heard a telephone’s busy signal?

It’s about this simple: they don’t know how to wait because they’ve had precious little practice at it. Sadly, they at least have an excuse for their impatience. We do not. You’d think we’d be used to waiting: we grew up waiting for hamburger meat to thaw.

Today’s youngsters don’t know what life is like without modern ingenious time savers, things as simple as the quick oil change.

The remote control -- no more waiting on someone to actually have to “get up.” Automatic banking. You get online and check the weather, order a new dress or see what time the show starts, so there’s no waiting on the local news, going to the mall or finding a newspaper.

We thought 8-tracks or cassettes were the gold at the end of the music rainbow, but when we got through listening to our favorite song, we had to wait on it to “come around” again. Today – you push a button. Instant rewind.

Don’t wait on reruns; just buy the DVD. You can even pay extra and get “express delivery.”

Buy your cinema ticket before you go. Print your train ticket at home. Go through the Express Line at the store.

If I weren’t impatient I’d remind you of more -- like instant oatmeal, check-eliminating debit cards and spray tans.

The closest we got to any of these things back in the day was the Readers Digest and Jiffy-Pop, which wasn’t that good but the novelty of “instant” popcorn and watching the aluminum rise made you feel like you were launching Skylab. And it took only five minutes! But these days, who has five minutes?