Does Convenience Feed Our Soul or Dull Our Consciousness?

by Suzanne on July 11, 2012

The used-car lot that opened at the farthest edge of town closest to me has signs at the edge of the lot proclaiming “Open 24 Hours!”


I shake my head every time I pass by.  It’s hard to imagine why anyone would need to run out and purchase a new car at 2:00 a.m.  It’s hard to imagine how the dealer would be able to complete the required paperwork while all the relevant government offices are closed.  It’s even harder to imagine the poor salesperson, sitting there staring out the window into the dark, wishing the McDonald’s next door was open.  I’ve worked those long, lonely night shifts during my military service, and in my engineering career.


What inspired the dealer to provide twenty-four hour service in a mid-sized town surrounded by miles of rural area?


I picture a farmer leaping from his bed in the middle of the night.  He turns to his wife and shouts, “Get dressed, Emma!  We’re going to buy that new car you’ve been wanting for the last ten years.”


Emma flops over on her stomach and buries her head under the pillow.  Our farmer can’t quite hear what she says, but thinks it has something to do with where he can park that new car.


But he’s made up his mind Emma needs that car now, and he’s out the door, driving toward town, determined to buy one before dawn pinks the horizon.


Sometimes I think society’s expectation of immediate gratification has run amok.  True, there are some services necessary around the clock: immediate and critical care units, ambulance, and fire and police services. 


But do we actually need to run to the grocery for a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, or a bag of kitty litter in the dark hours before dawn?  Stores have already extended their hours to accommodate nearly every work shift.  Almost every member of most families have their own transportation, so if mom can’t pick up the lettuce for sandwiches, dad or one of the teens can stop in and make that purchase during the day.


But we can’t do that, can we?  Because we have so many “important” things to take care of we can’t fit them all within twenty-four hours.  Or perhaps those things are not really so important to our existence, as they are to our perception of what our lives are supposed to be.


When I was young, my grandparents called it “keeping up with the Joneses.”  Now perhaps it’s “keeping up with the Kardashians”, or the latest movie star, or insert the name of anyone you attempt to emulate. 


She who has the most places to be at the same time, the most things she absolutely must accomplish, wins?  No thank you.


I ask myself, if I fashion my life after that of someone else, whose life am I really living?  Whose life do I want to live?  The answer is – I want to live my own.  And that means I’m not looking for immediate gratification, for the latest trend, or the coolest technology.


I’m happy with fewer things on my schedule, with a closer connection to family and friends, with time to absorb the scent and feel of each season.


I’m looking for a meaningful life, moving at a pace that allows me to observe the wonders of the world around me, and to share those wonders with friends and family.  With you.


Leave a comment and share something you’ve observed about your world in the past week.  We’ll all be richer for the sharing.



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