On Demand (HLD 386)

14 April 2021

The topic of television in demand was on my mind today – while I was searching through the tv options we have, plus YouTube, for the fire truck show that my oldest grandson prefers. He has so many options available to him – fire trucks, rubbish trucks, wiggles and Blippi and heaps of other things, available at a flick of grandmas fingers. As long as she can work out how to make it all happen, of course.

We are definitely in the age of watching what you want on television – when you want to. Instead of waiting week by week at a particular time for a new episode of a favourite show, you can now binge watch an entire television series in one sitting. Literally.

Gee it’s convenient, though. When my kids were little we had the option of watching Play School at a particular time each day, and then after that the only option available to keep them amused while I enjoyed a much needed cup of coffee, or an unaccompanied toilet break, was the well worn Thomas The Tank Engine video cassette.

But now – whatever you want to watch, as long as you have access to the correct streaming service, is available ON DEMAND.

If I was so inclined (I haven’t been yet), I could sit in front of the tv during the day and watch shows that my husband doesn’t want to watch. I don’t, but I could.

It begs the question – what are we happy to wait for nowadays?

Nice coffee? No way! Most of us have a decent coffee maker in our houses, and work places are working out that a happy caffeinated employee is one who doesn’t take half hour breaks to go out of the office to find a decent coffee.

Finding an answer to a question? Those days disappeared around the same time the internet arrived. Long gone are the days of either accepting the answer your parents gave you, or venturing off to the library – when it’s open – to search through their impressive reference section.

Learning how to cook something? Nope – too many options available on the internet, from instructional videos to an endless supply of recipes.

Fruit or vegetables that are out of season? Doesn’t matter – they still seem to be available. Sure they might get sent from the other side of the world, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

Travel? We are waiting to personally travel overseas, but we can still see the places we’d like to go, with virtual tours available of pretty much every place we fancy.

Phoning people in other parts of the state? When I was younger my mum would have to wait until after 7pm to phone her mother, or anyone else not in her local town. The cost of phone calls was very expensive, but marginally better in the evenings. Many times I’d phone her DURING THE DAY in later years and she’d rush to get me off the phone, on account of how much the call will be costing me. Or maybe she just doesn’t like me – that’s a possibility too.

Letters? Again, when my mother would write to her mum, while mum and dad were living in another state, it would be weeks before the letter arrived. And of course you would write all the news, because phone calls were too expensive and the connection unreliable. Communication nowadays – whether it be email, text messages, or video calls, make a mockery of those month long conversations via handwritten letters.

There are, of course, some things where we will always have to wait – like doctors surgeries, on hold when phoning a big company, and in traffic jams.

There was a study many years ago, that had children being given a marshmallow, but being told that if they waited for 15 minutes they could have two. Less than a third held out for the second marshmallow, but a follow up on those kids in later life showed that those who delayed their gratification had better lives – better education and jobs, health etc.

So in our world of relatively instant gratification, do the things we actually have to wait for seem worse? And what sort of things do we perceive as being worth waiting for?

My suggestions for things worth the wait:

The right person for you

Grandchildren

Anything cooking in the oven – specifically bread, cakes, and biscuits

A holiday

The first coffee of the day

Happiness

Last but definitely not least – reuniting with loved ones when the virus is sorted out.

What can you add to my list?

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