Need for speed…
I’ve been around for a bit more than 40 years, and I know I’m starting to sound like my parents when I start talking about how things have changed but, well, they have.
There’s the obvious stuff like how much things cost and all the new gadgets kids have these days. But one thing I’ve really noticed is constant improvements in the speed at which we can do everyday things – and how we react to this phenomenon.
I was in Melbourne recently, and made some small purchases at a mini-mart. I handed over my credit card, they waved it in front of a device at the counter and I was good to go. My first thought was ‘how secure was that transaction?’ But I know that I’ll get over that pretty quickly once it becomes a regular thing.
My second thought was ‘Wow! How fast was that?!’ What I do know is that it would only take a week or two for me to go from admiring that transaction for its speed to resenting others that take longer.
When I get on the bus I join the crowds stepping on and swiping their Snapper cards with hardly a pause in their stride. And then I sit in my seat and grind my teeth resentfully at those who pay cash and need change – they’ve delayed my arrival at my destination by 20 seconds each.
I did a bit of research on what people believe to be the best time-saving inventions and a lot of the answers relate to travel and communication. These range from the very basic from thousands of years ago, such as the wheel, to more recent developments such as the telephone, computer and the jet engine.
Interestingly, the one thing that popped into my head (and, according to my research, the heads of a lot of women out there) was the washing machine. Doing the laundry used to be an all-day, labour-intensive affair – now we spend more time folding and putting away than we do washing and drying.
The point is that we are surrounded by thousands of inventions and innovations – some saving hours every week, like the automatic washing machine, others just a few seconds at a time. Each one has changed not just our lives, but our expectations. Once something doesn’t take as long as it used to, there’s definitely no going back – there’s only faster, sooner, now!
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