Monday, October 03, 2011

Wait for it, wait for it...

I bought a dishwasher last week.

It's shiny and silver, and it has five different wash cycles and an internal heat fan and buttons that light up. It's my first ever dishwasher, and it's fantastic.

It's also currently sitting in a cardboard box somewhere – possibly on a container ship in the middle of the ocean, or maybe on a factory floor in Shenzhen underneath a sign that says “for dispatch” in Mandarin - and has been for the past two weeks.
And unless someone pays attention to that sign some time soon or speeds up that boat, I expect it will remain so for a further three – at least, that's what the store I bought it from tells me.

That's five weeks to get a dishwasher from a shop down the road into my kitchen. I suspect it would be quicker to study advanced electronics and build my own.


This guy ordered a new fridge in 1987. It'll be loaded onto the boat in China next Monday.


Not only am I waiting more than a month to get my shiny new appliance, but I'm also currently in a three week long queue to see an eye specialist, it's taken me two weeks to get in to see the dentist and I'm half way through a four week wait to get the internet connected.

And I am about to tear my hair out. It's a feeling similar to road rage, only without the car or the road. Just the rage. Boiling, red hot wait-rage.

Now, I know that having been born in 1980 I'm technically a member of Generation Y – which basically means I use Facebook a lot and have a short attention sp... LOOK AT THAT BIRD!

It also apparently means I am more impatient than most. (Hey, when you get used to downloading a movie within seconds of having decided you want to watch it, it's not much of a leap to constantly expect immediate satisfaction.)

But I'm sure it's not just 20-somethings like me who think waiting for anything
these days is beyond the pale. Chronic impatience is a pan-generational, modern affliction. And I blame technology.

We weren't like this 15 years ago.

Before email, before Google, before mobile phones and instant text messaging when we didn't have the ability to contact everyone at all hours of the day no matter where they were, it was quite normal to wait for things. You want to write a message to someone? Put pen to paper, whack it in an envelope, stick it in the big red box and wait a few days.

You want an answer to a question? Go to the library, take the time to look it up in a book.

You need to talk to someone? Call them at home. If they don't answer, it's because they're out. So wait. Then call them again.

Back in 1995 if you arranged to meet friends somewhere and they were late, you had to wait. You couldn't just move on and text them to say you were going to a different place, meet you later. How did we all cope with that? These days it's just unthinkable.

We've all gotten so used to getting everything exactly when we want it – be it someone on the other end of the mobile, or instant cash from a machine in a wall, or an answer to a tricky pub trivia question via Google – that it drives us mad when things take any longer than “immediately”.

It seems wrong to be this way, to feel aggrieved when things don't happen exactly when we want them to. It seems somehow childish and petulant. Something we should all be above.

Perhaps we all need to cast our minds back a decade, remember how we used to cope with waiting just fine, and relax a little more.

Still, five weeks. That's just ridiculous.

This article was first published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail's Sunday liftout on September 26, 2010.



0 comments :

Post a Comment