It's always easier to criticize someone else for an unflattering trait than it is to admit the same trait in myself. Today, I was brought face to face with one and I didn't like it. One bit.
We've become a people used to, and believing we're entitled to, instant gratification. Whether it's fast food, information at our fingertips 24/7, or overnight delivery from Amazon, we believe we have a right to have every desire fulfilled today. Early today.
Like many others, I have enjoyed instant availability of nearly everything, all the while decrying the way we EXPECT to have instant availability. There is , of course, nothing wrong with my wanting to order a book and have it here the next day. There is something wrong when I can't seem to arrange it that way and it ruins my day.
So today I'm out again shopping for office furniture. I've found what I want, and I ask the saleslady if they have Saturday delivery. "Sure," she says. "And I think right now we still have some open slots in October for weekend deliveries."
"No," I blurted out, "I mean this Saturday, as in tomorrow!" You would have thought from the look on her face that I had asked her to prove the feasability of producing electricity from nuclear fusion. "Ummm...no, that won't be possible. We don't even have them in the city, and since this is a new product, they might still be in production."
"Oh. I see. Well, thank you."
"Do you want to order the set?"
"No, I need to think about whether I want to wait that long. But thank you for your helpfulness."
"Well, how soon do you need it?"
What I wanted to say was "Yesterday." But I knew that wasn't true. There IS no date by which I need this furniture. Yes, I do believe I need it, but I couldn't think of one good reason to tell her I needed it tomorrow or even within two weeks. "Thanks, I'll look around and see if I can get an earlier date somewhere else. If not, I'll get back with you and order." I walked out of the store knowing that waiting an extra day to order was just going to put off the delivery by another day. I also knew that to look around for a set I could get earlier instead of waiting a few extra days for the one I really wanted made no sense, but I couldn't help myself. Maybe just around the corner there's another store with a set I like better that they'll put in the back of my Suburban today!
Nothing doing. The next three places, who each had home office furniture but nothing I liked as well as the pieces at store #1, each told me pretty much the same story. Finally, I got back in the car for the last time, licking my wounds and facing the fact that I am both a creation AND a creator of the culture of entitlement to instant gratification.
I don't like that mirror. I want to think of myself as one who has come to enjoy but not rely on or expect the privilege of having my every whim satisfied instantly. And in this case, tomorrow qualifies as instantly.
Now I'm sitting at home, looking at the piles of teachers' manuals, work files, financial information, sheet protectors, etc. that I hoped to have all neatly packed away on shelves and behind doors before Monday. Looks like it could happen.
By the last Monday in October.