You’ve seen them. People with their faces buried in their devices as they drift down the street or grabbing their phone when if ‘bings’ – even if they are in the middle of a conversation. Their fingers drum impatiently on their desk if their computer takes a few seconds to boot up or connect. They growl when their texts or tweets or Facebook posts or Tumblr messages aren’t instantly answered. They hate waiting for anything; they don’t seem to know how to relax, even for a moment. Instant gratification gratified instantly.
You know who I’m talking about. The Twitchy generation.
Oh, not millennials or whatever generation comes next. A lot of them seem pretty laid back about everything – their love lives, their careers, the end of the world. They even read physical books. But that’s another story.
I’m talking about the forty-somethings (spreading into the fifty-somethings). They seem to think that history happened six months ago and the future had better get here pretty damn quick. And why can’t I get that show on Netflix!?
I think people under thirty actually understand that none of the programs which are supposed to connect our world really operate in quite the way they promised. At least their eye-rolls and shrugs when I ask them about it seem to suggest that.
No it’s the people who didn’t grow up with the highly connected and immediate (unmediated) world, that seem to have lost all sense of time, all sense of the slow changing nature of the world.
Take the current political world we live in. Nothing has really changed in the last fifty years. Governments have a life and elections – unless you are living in an unstable democracy or none at all – occur to a schedule. Presidents are almost never impeached; majority governments never fall before their allotted time.
Yet, to listen to the pundits, six months is an eternity. I saw a headline the other day asking if Justin Trudeau was the Teflon PM. For crying out loud, he’s been in office for less than four months – how much dirt do you think the world has generated in that time for any of it to stick? And as for delivering on his promises – why aren’t they all done right now? Why do we have to wait for consultation or debate or legislation or doing it right? If it isn’t here now it’s never coming, I tell you. Twitch.
Meanwhile in the USA people are moaning that Trump will be president and think how great/awful that will be. There won’t even be a vote for eight months. It’s not long but it’s not tomorrow. And when he gets there – if at all – all those things that he promised won’t arrive on February 1st. Twitch. Twitch.
I see this all the time. My boss – who is in his seventies – will leave a restaurant if there is a line of more than six to get in. My wife swears at her ancient computer every time it takes fifteen seconds to connect. People my age grumble whenever their favorite movie is rescheduled for a month – and heaven help George R.R. Martin if he delays his next book again.
We won’t stand for it. What do we want? Everything and when do we want it? Now, goddamn it! Or yesterday.
Screw history. I want the future. And I want it before tomorrow.
Twitch. Twitch. Twitch.
And that’s ten minutes. Too late as usual.