To Wait or Not To Wait

Is standing in line for something really worth it?

I’ve stood in line on numerous occasions. For hours on end I would wait semi-patiently for the arms of the clock to move faster. Anticipation and excitement building up like something about to overspill from its container. Holding back the childish jubilance with a big smile on my face.

I’ve done this on every occasion. When I waited to purchase the latest camera and computer on boxing day. Or to get a Japanese cheesecake on a bright Saturday morning. Or while waiting for the few seconds of thrill on the scariest rides at Wonderland.

But in the world of ‘Uber for X’ and the numerous delivery startups, why would anyone want to stand in line? Why spend hours when you can spend minutes? Why wait to get that cheesecake when you can have it right now?

But I say wait.

I’m not against companies who are flocking to the ‘Uber for X’ business model; trying to capitalize on this trend. Sure startups are fuelling our economy and innovating like no tomorrow. But all these on-demand options are just encouraging us to stay more busy. We are losing those pockets of still time in between errands. Those pauses in our day are getting shorter and almost non-existent.

If my lunch is delivered to me everyday then I have lost about 20 minutes of do-nothing time (5 minutes to go to the closest restaurant, 10 minutes to order and receive my food, 5 minutes to come back to the office). Sure some would say that they would rather spend that time enjoying their lunch and talking to colleagues. But how many of us would instead work during those 20 minutes while waiting for the food? More than you think.

These forced pockets of pause are essential for us because of our addiction to technology. We are constantly on our phones and computers so when we are put in situations where we cannot, it gives our brain some time to breathe. Like those moments in the shower where some say they get their most creative ideas.

Of course this means that you’re not on your phone while standing in line and there’s an easy fix for that: take a buddy. Let yourself enjoy the company of another human being. And the great thing is you won’t have much choice because being on your phone while with someone is considered to be rude. So while your object of desire is still a couple of hours away, enjoy that moment.

Plus there is something about the build up of excitement. As if the delayed gratification makes the object even more attractive. So choose the line instead of delivery. Take a little walk to your destination. Let your mind wander. And you’ll see that waiting in line for something is really worth it.

But if you disagree (or agree) be sure to leave a comment as I’d love to hear your thoughts!


This post is written for WordPress’ Writing 101 topic: critique a piece of work.


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