"In my early 20's, I waited six weeks for a bikini I ordered from a catalog to arrive in the mail. I didn't love that I received it in late August right before school started, but I was just grateful I didn't have to go anywhere to get it."
The tale of the delayed bathing suit shipment is the story I will tell to my children next time they complain about it taking too long for something I ordered online to arrive. And by too long, I mean about three hours. This story is the modern version of "I had to walk barefoot in the snow two miles to get to school when I was your age. And, it was uphill both coming and going. "
My children have only known a world where items ordered online arrive anywhere from five hours to 24 hours after purchase. When Darla was a baby, we were on the precipice of this being the norm. I had ordered a new car seat for Darla, decided against it an hour later, and, when I tried to cancel it, was told it had already shipped. I called them liars in my head until, the next morning, twelve hours after purchasing it, the car seat sat on my front porch. I was dazzled by this (even though it meant I had to lug the damn thing down to the post office to return it) and told everyone I saw over the course of the next few days about it.
Slowly, this has become the norm, and it has brought out the worst in me. I make impulsive purchases and then get annoyed when the non-essential items aren't delivered first thing on a Sunday morning. The one thing that keeps me going over the deep end is the experiences from my childhood, such as the bikini delivery. Also, if I needed clothes when I was a kid, I had to either wait for siblings to outgrow theirs or a few months for my mom to piece together a few spare hours to make a trip to the mall.
Last week, I ordered a pair of roller skates for Darla online. Within an hour, she was asking me when they would arrive. She didn't stop asking until they came one day later on a Sunday.
"That took forever," Darla cried as I brought in the package from outside.
I wondered as I saw her lace up the pink and white skates for the first time, whether I was doing her a disservice. We as humans are already impatient, especially when we're kids. The only thing that seems to temper this impatience is the reality that sometimes life operates on its own clock, and we can't expect to get everything we want now.
But what will become of children who have only had their expectations met by speedy delivery? Will they grow up to be delighted adults because they have all needs met expediently? Or will they continue to push the time-space continuum into its furthest reaches, eventually creating a system where everything we want is available the second we decide to purchase? Maybe, next time I buy something, I'll choose the "take your time" option on Amazon. This way, they'll get a little taste of what it's like to wait six weeks for a bikini.