I sat next to a young Edmonton girl on a flight from Ottawa
to Calgary recently, and she was extremely frustrated at how slow the
touch-screen TV in back of the seat she faced worked.
This was an Air Canada flight, every passenger had a small
TV screen in the back of the seat in front of them, and instead of the
old-fashion push button controls in the armrest these TV’s operated by
‘touching’ the selection that appeared on the screen. Select English or French,
select news, movies or music, press here to increase or decrease volume and so
This young thing, probably 15 or 16 years old, wanted to
watch movies. Even though the flight attendant announced at the start of the
flight “make your selections by touching the screen and WAIT a few seconds for
the system to respond”, this young lady would tap her index finger on her
selection on the screen with the rapid fire of a downy woodpecker hammering a
tree for grubs.
She would tap the screen several times, and in the few
seconds it took the movie panel to appear she would cluck with frustration,
give a sigh of exasperation, and gesture toward the screen with her hands ‘come
on already, give me the movie.”
A few nights before this flight I had watched a W-5 special
on CTV that talked about how rude society was becoming – for several reasons –
but one cause an expert cited was impatience. Impatience due to the fact that
so many – and maybe it is more the younger generation – are becoming so use to
things happening in milli-seconds, that they/we become frustrated when life and
personal gratification doesn’t happen instantly.
I thought that observation might have been overstated until
I watched this girl become frustrated with the airplane TV because it took
maybe five or six seconds for the screens to change. Maybe she will calm down
when she gets older and maybe she won’t.
On the other end of the scale I get regular hand written
letters from an older reader in Edmonton, who has never owned a computer, is
frustrated because she can’t get ribbons for her typewriter anymore, and would
like nothing more – in her 80s – than to get out of the city, go back to the
farm in Saskatchewan, sit on the porch and watch the grass grow. But that isn’t
an option anymore.
I guess the moral of the story is when you are 16 you’re
pushing every icon you see to make the world go forward faster, and when you’re
85 your dream is to find where they hid the stop button. I guess I am somewhere in between. Sitting on the porch watching the grass grow sounds pretty appealing, but it would also be nice to have my laptop with wireless high speed internet with in reach.
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