Patience, Please

Our machines are telling us to be patient:

“Patience, please, the application is loading; this may take up to 20 seconds.”

I’ve often wondered what type of human beings are being shaped from our current array of technological tools. I mean, what kind of person has to be told to “have patience” for 20 seconds?

I know it’s all relative — under certain circumstances, 20 seconds can seem like a lifetime. But I’m talking about the internet here — the time it takes for an application to load so I can play a game on my computer. In fact, I’m sitting in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers; I’m warm and dry, drinking my toasty herbal tea which, incidentally, is always the perfect temperature because I’ve got a magical box that will heat any liquid in just 20 seconds. I’ll add that I don’t have to walk anywhere to pick up the water and haul it back home; I don’t have to grow the herbs and dry them out to make the tea. No, I basically have hot tea available whenever I want.

When we (yeah, I’m dragging you into this now) see the message “the application is loading” it’s not as if we’re undergoing a medical procedure that involves 20 seconds of pain or even strong discomfort. It’s not as if we’re being forced to endure an earthquake for 20 seconds. No, we’re hanging out enjoying a luxurious existence that includes comforts unavailable to 99.9999% of all other beings that came before us.

Yet, invariably, I find myself wondering, “20 seconds!? What is wrong with the connection today?” It’s so easy to forget that a rapidly growing catalogue of information, music and video is available at a previously thought of as magical rate. I feel like seeing Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver one of the most meaningful speeches in all of history. What??!  20 seconds to download?!

Since when did dissatisfaction at miracles become the norm?

In researching this post, I came across a fascinating educational site that offers the following exercise:

  1. Draw a diagram showing how the water you drink gets to you.
  2. Examine a one-litre container. List the things you could do with this amount of water.
  3. Estimate and time how long it takes to fill a bucket with water using the one-litre container filled from a tap.
  4. Try carrying the bucket 100 metres (328 feet).
  5. Calculate how long it would take to carry the bucket 1 kilometre.
  6. Calculate how many buckets it would take to carry the amount of water you use each day.

I’m going to step away from this computer, close my eyes and breathe deeply for at least 20 seconds.


“Holidailies participants solemnly vow to update their Web sites daily from Dec. 7 to Jan. 6. . . . “ Day 16.

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