Instant Gratification Is Making Me Instantly Impatient

Van Helsing vampire

One of these days my buddy John Cave Osborne is going to make it out to L.A. and we’re going to hit a Laker game. The occasion might even merit a t-shirt with his picture on it, perhaps the one of him and the pink pillow. Ok, I probably won’t make the t-shirt. You can blame my laziness on having given in to the collective, I am a member of the instant gratification society.

Instant gratification is our unofficial motto. We want everything now and if not now than in mere seconds from now. Instant gratification means that we carry and use our cellphones everywhere so that we can call people at a moment’s notice. No more wandering through stores or stopping at gas stations in search of a pay phone. No more worries about carrying a dime or a quarter for that call.

Remember when it was a big deal to make a long distance call. Long distance calls were expensive and we were only too happy to see Ma Bell compete with MCI, Sprint and other providers of cheap long distance services. Cell phones helped to kill that.

The proliferation of email helped to change things too. Email came along and changed written correspondence in a profound way. The speed with which it flew over the net made sending a letter by post seem quaint. Type, point, click and send and off it went.

Cell phones helped change email as well. The evolution of the smart phone made it possible to check your email on the move. You weren’t tied down to a desk any more. You didn’t have to wait until you got back to the office or until you got home to see what messages awaited you. No waiting was great and something that we all pushed for.

Technological advances that were designed to increase productivity and efficiency levels have impacted our attitudes about time. We don’t like waiting for anything and our attention spans reflect this. Fewer and fewer people are blogging or reading long posts. They’d rather spend their time sending texts or using Twitter. Why read 800 words when you can glance at 140 characters.

Spend some time driving and you see more evidence of this impatience. People multitask as they drive and scream at those who don’t move as fast as they’d like them to. We’re like hamsters in a cage hurrying and scurrying about.

And I include myself. I am guilty of all of these things. If you don’t answer my call I am ready to text and email you. And if you don’t respond to the text or email in a timely fashion I get irritated. It is narishkeit, foolishness this behavior. I hate it. I hate that when I call someone by the third ring I am already tapping my foot.

I hate this expectation I have that everything should be happening now. It is not how life works. As much as I’d like to see the world cater to my every need that is just not going to happen. So I am making a conscious effort to take a deep breath and not react to all the stimulus.

I am taking a moment to stop and enjoy the moment, whatever that moment is. And I am working on showing my children the value in doing that too. Life moves fast enough without adding any more stress. And now if you’ll excuse me I am off to do something else. Maybe I’ll look into making that t-shirt now.

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