In larger Chinese restaurants, waiters and waitresses push trolleys of ready-made food called dimsum. It's better than fast food - it's ready food. You get what you see - immediately. In smaller restaurants that serve dimsum, you have to know what to order and wait for it.
During the short period of time that I possessed a digital camera, I bathed in the delight of instant gratification. What I saw, I captured. And what I captured, I loaded onto my web site.
Now in the analog world of old fashioned picture taking, even with auto-focus and zoom, I have to wait for the film to be developed. But waiting brings anticipation. And anticipation brings expectation and excitement.
In magazine publishing, it's the same story. The magazine doesn't appear in hard copy the minute you submit your story. It goes through a long process of editing, proofing, and layout.
Is there a relationship between the waiting period and the shelf life? In other words, the longer I wait for the food, will my appetite be greater? will the food last longer in my stomach? A picture is worth a thousand words, but a digital photo is only worth a thousand pixels.
The on-demand generation is weaned on instant gratification. Instant messaging and mobile phones connect them in real time. The Web contains all the information they need. But this generation still has to wait their turn. As my dear friend Hari observed after getting her Ph.D., "in my narrow field, I have to wait for someone to die or resign to open up a tenure-track position for me."
27 December 2001 Thursday