The Culture Of Waiting

When we figured out the tagline of Send It was going to be “waiting can wait”, it made me think a fair amount about waiting. Waiting takes a lot of patience, discipline, and determination. I’m not great at waiting for Christmas. My wife often says I’m very difficult to shop for because if there’s an item I want, I will typically go out and buy it on release day. I’m not great at waiting for food. If a restaurant is fast casual, that’s for me. Pick it up and go. Get on with the day. I live for the drive-thru. Sometimes it blows my mind that I used to wait every month for my allowance to buy one Beatles album in the hope of one day owning the whole collection on CD as a kid. I did achieve that goal, but only 10 years later I could steal the band’s whole catalog for “free” with the advent of the Internet.

Oh, the Internet. Like anyone over the age of 25, I too will bemoan the Internet for our “instant culture”. Punch up Amazon.com and with your Prime membership you can have anything you desire in two days time or the same day if you live in certain places. One of my joys is vinyl record shopping. It used to be I had to check stores everywhere I went and dig through stacks of records to find gems I was looking for. Now, I can pull up Discogs.com and have nearly any record on Earth shipped from around the world, direct to my door. I still stop in any record store I’ll pass by though, looking for something unique.

Not everybody and everything is out on the web yet. But there are some items and events that not even the instant satisfaction of our world can fulfill. It is in these moments that my ability to wait has flourished. Right as we decided on the tagline as well, my friend Germain Lussier of io9 wrote this piece about waiting 31 hours for a piece of art. It’s a great article you should check out, but here are some of my own waiting “greatest hits”.

Events are a great thing to wait for. The anticipation of the day arriving and then the actual start time just send excitement through me. While I don’t personally camp out for the lower Timbers Army, line culture is a huge part of many people’s experience to be close to the field, the capos, and the players. It’s even inspired its own Twitter feed.

I have two interesting experiences waiting for events. The first is when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out in 2007. I was living in New York City at the time and knew that I wanted to see the midnight showing at the IMAX at Lincoln Square. I also know that if you’re going to an IMAX film, get there early or you will have a terrible seat. This being a huge event I knew I had to get there earlier than you usually would, and plotted to make the day of it. I set up in a chair at noon, ready to wait out 12 hours on the city sidewalk. It was fine. There was a grocery store and pizza shop across the street and I met some very nice people. Only issue was they didn’t have any protocol when they opened the door and the IMAX is on the 5th floor of the building and so my waiting for was for naught. Luckily, a friend of mine had run on ahead and secured 10th in line. Crisis averted.

One of my other favorite “waiting” stories comes from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2010. If you’ve never been to the Farm in Manchester, TN and are a music fan, I highly suggest taking the weekend in June and heading down there. Some will tell you it’s not the same as it was and that’s for the most part true but it’s 18 hours of music a day for 4 days straight alongside a host of other experiences including a brewers fest, comedy tent, and more. Headlining the Comedy Tent that year was Conan O’Brien, touring the country at being fired from the Tonight Show. I knew it was a set not to be missed. He played Saturday at 1 p.m. Luckily, LCD Soundsystem, the last group I wanted to see that night, played the “This Tent” stage the night before. So, I planned to catch LCD and then head over to the Comedy Tent and sleep outside for the next morning. I was not the only person with this plan and had about 20-25 people ahead of me. It was not the best sleep I’d ever gotten but it was another fun time, waiting with like-minded people. The show turned out to be more than worth the time spent in line. I’m already planning my next great wait; another night outside Easy Street Records in West Seattle for Record Store Day on April 21st. I’ve got to get those limited edition releases, so stop by if you’re in the neighborhood the night of the 20th.

These may be great waiting experiences, more will definitely come, but there’s one thing I know you don’t have to wait for anymore, great beer. All throughout the country, people line up for limited release beers. Just look at this picture of chairs lined up for a release from Ardmore, PA’s Tired Hands.

Yes, Tired Hands makes great beer and I myself am guilty of hitting the lines at the Alchemist in Vermont or Tree House in Massachusetts. However, with so many great breweries coast to coast, is waiting for beer really worth it? Read this article about J. Wakefield in Miami and you’ll find people don’t even wait for just the joy of beer anymore. I say if the line’s too long, just head to the next brewery on your route. You’re bound to find something you love. Waiting for beer just doesn’t make sense anymore. There’s too much great stuff out there to waste that time. Especially when you’ve got a great beer like Send It available now!

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