The stress of waiting

 

By Joe Rector

Remember this time of year when you were a child? How much more excited could you have been to know Santa was going to visit and leave presents? Another time to remember is that last day of school before summer vacation. The arms of the clock crawled around its face. We couldn’t wait and grew surly when things didn’t happen on our timetables. Impatience begins at birth when babies squall for the bottle and rarely ebbs as he ages.

These days, we’re more impatient than ever before. Thousands of families order food from restaurants for their supper. Parents are frazzled with all the things that require their time, and the children are constantly hungry, especially before they attend a practice or rehearsal. If that food arrives just a minute late, folks are angry and blast delivery workers at the front door. Schedules explode and stress levels rise.

In years gone by, consumers placed orders by catalogs with companies for items. Then they waited for the product to arrive via the mail or some delivery company. Frustrated customers might call the company to check on an order’s status. Still, we had a bit more patience and realized that, in most cases, our lives weren’t adversely affected by that delivery.

Thanks to such companies as Amazon, delivery times are usually within a couple of days. When our merchandise fails to be sitting on our front porch on the second day, our tempers flare. We ordered those “things” with the promise that they would be delivered on a specific day. If they don’t, we’re ready to sue the entire world. Never mind that most of our online orders are things we want, not things we need.

For some of us of an older generation, writing letters was something we enjoyed doing. Like birthday cards with notes and signatures, they were personalized and meant more to folks who received them. Having someone to write back thrilled children because they rarely, if ever, received any mail.

In our busy world, few people take the time to write a letter. Sure, the prices of stamps have been inflated so much that mailing letters just isn’t worth it. Most folks communicate through emails. I admit that I do it. Doing so is much easier, the cost is nothing, and the message arrives immediately. We can carry on “in-real-time” conversations with folks across the country by texting from our phones. Yes, it’s convenient, but I still miss the personalized touch of a letter.

The same is true with cell phones. They allow us to talk with people anytime and anywhere. For some reason, our phone calls have become overly important. In a time before these cursed things, we would listen to the message left on the recorder after we arrived home, and before that, we didn’t know anyone called until they did so again and told us.

I haven’t figured out why all of us are in such a hurry. Life is a race when it should be a stroll. Our patience would improve if so many of these time-saving devices didn’t exist. I carry a phone in my pocket every time I leave the house. The only folks who call me are Amy, who might need me to run an errand while I’m out, my son Dallas, who just wants to chew the fat, and companies that are concerned that my car’s warranty has run out. I’d rather sit back and slow down for a while. Life is much more enjoyable that way.

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