As this post began taking shape in my head, where a lot of preliminary writing takes place while it looks as if I’m only washing dishes or driving or doing nothing at all, I had in mind to title it “Slow Pleasures versus Immediate Gratification” or (I wasn’t sure), “Immediate Gratification versus Slow Pleasures.” Anyone who has read this blog before or knows me at all doesn’t need to guess which side I favor. Yes, I’m a slow food, slow books, slow walks kind of woman. I don’t even think fast, although in my defense David likes to say, “She grinds slow, but she grinds exceeding fine.”
I was thinking about the online behemoth’s goal of delivering books within 2 hours of anyone placing an order. No, as a small, independent bookseller I cannot do that. Well, if the customer is in my shop, and the book is in stock, I can do it faster, but otherwise? Order a new book from me, I’ll place an order on Monday (if I have enough to meet the minimum), and books will usually be delivered by Thursday and can be picked up that afternoon or Friday or Saturday. It doesn’t take an eternity (some customers have been surprised to get books “so fast”), but it’s way more than a 2-hour wait. Sorry! C'est la vie chez moi!
And it's hard for me to frame or view my reality as a problem. Because, to me, even a book in hand is the antithesis of immediate gratification. It isn’t a coffee or a slurpy to go, nor a candy bar to stuff into your face behind the wheel.
o Anticipation is a huge part of the reading experience.
o Waiting until you have time to open the book at leisure is part of the reading experience.
o Putting a bookmark between pages, setting the book aside, and turning out the light is part of the reading experience.
So why shouldn’t a waiting period between ordering and receiving also be part of it?
But I know, I know -- !!! (I knew long before anyone kindly informed me, too.)
Waiting and anticipating are not enjoyed, because (a) this is the modern world; (b) modern people want and expect immediate gratification; (c) I am a dinosaur; and – as I have pointed out to David on more than one occasion, whenever he shakes his head in wonderment over advertising we both find thoroughly repellent and off-putting – (d) I am not (and we are not) the behemoth's target audience.
In sad fact, no one is aiming at us at all any more, except to try to sell us things we don’t even want to think about, and I can say emphatically that we are in no damn hurry to get those things, either, so -- Back off, world! We did not choose life in the slow lane to be harassed at any age! We’re just hoping not to be roadkill before our time.