I was at the local supermarket earlier this week and as I witnessed the insult of an elderly gentleman, I was left wondering if we have become the most impatient species of our time.
The gentleman of atleast an impressive 70+ years of age, was at the cashier counter ready to pay for his groceries. He reached into his jacket pocket pulling out several slips of coupons and proceeded to scan through them intently. His fingers trembling and working slowly. I noticed the cashier roll her eyes and give a side glance of disapproval to her colleague. The couple in front of me grumbled aloud having no qualms about their conduct. The elderly gentleman thoroughly embarrassed and apologetic by now, handed over his coupons and money. All of this happened in two maybe three minutes.
Are we so obsessed with being in the fast lane that we no longer have respect for things that don’t provide instant fulfilment? Are we so gripped by the clock that we are constantly running against time?
I am unfortunately no exception. I remember arriving at Grand Central station on my first day of work in Manhattan and feeling completely lost. For someone who isn’t from a big city, that place can be quite intimidating. People poured in from every direction, their pace swift like men and women on a mission. I received not one or two, but several dirty glares from fellow commuters. Its amazing how alone one can feel even in an overcrowded place. Now fast forward 3 years and it is me who is rushing down those corridors with no time to pause.
I don’t remember always being this way. Remember when the only way to connect to the internet was through a dial-up network connect? We seemed quite satisfied with it back then. But now with WIFI connections everywhere, there is no toleration for a page that may take an extra second to load. We are willing to pay shipping charges just so that we can have our package at the earliest.
I look at my kids (4 years and 2 years old) and wonder how all this is influencing their generation. As amazing as the growing technology is, is it to be blamed for our lack of tolerance? To grow up in a world where an app exists for pretty much everything right at our fingertips. Where writing on paper is disappearing and speed typing is becoming the norm. Where trips to malls are being replaced with online orders. Where movies are streamed online and texting is the primary mode of communication.
So, today I made a conscious effort to refrain from using the phrase, ‘Hurry up’ with my kids and what a colossal task that was! We did however get to watch the snow fall and sip hot chocolate. Play loud music and dance around. Color pictures and read stories. As hard as it was to not let the clock rule my day, I was able to live more in the moment and enjoy the little things. Can I do it again tomorrow? That’s a challenge only time will tell ;).
“If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.” – Mahatma Gandhi