The answers will be different for each of us. I am NOT willing to wait for mediocre service; a movie to improve after 15 minutes; more than 25 minutes to see my doctor if I’m not in pain; more than 5 minutes on hold.
I AM willing to wait more than 2 minutes for my coffee if there’s a line; 5 minutes for the department store clerk to check me out when there’s a sale; 25 minutes to see my doctor when I’m in pain (though I’m not going to be happy about it).
Of course, all of these are flexible depending on how desperately I want the thing I’m waiting for…or don’t. It depends on my mood, what else I need to do, how high this is on my priority list.
I understand that I live in a right-now-this-minute consumer culture. That is most evident to me when I travel to visit my parents who live on an island in the Caribbean where I have to rein in my American expectations and go with the flow. The only people throwing fits about waiting there are American tourists, and there aren’t many of us.
Today the wind is blowing hard here and it seems to make our computers temperamental. I think about my parents’ friends and neighbors on the island and how they would be coping with this inconvenience of waiting for the computers to cough up the information we need. I have a strong hunch that they would be doing a much better job of waiting than I and my colleagues are doing today.
I’m going to take a lesson from the island and try to remember to relax, enjoy the wind, breathe deeply, and not to stress about waiting for my computer to respond to my requests. Maybe I’ll head down to the local coffee shop and see how long the line is.