Friday, June 01, 2007

Dan Drezner and Megan McArdle on Bloggingheads TV

(or The Joys of Standing in Line)

Here's the link, if you have an hour to spare.

I am very impressed with the quick minds, good looks and casual keen intelligence of these young people. One of the things I'm looking forward to when I retire is indulging myself for hours watching stuff like this. What luxury!

Several years ago when I was still in the thick of running a cafeteria I had to go to a Super Walmart for something or other. At the time I was working about twelve hours a day, coming home only to sleep, bathe and recover...looking forward to days off for the luxury of cutting the grass, running errands...just about anything but being in the cafeteria. Anyway, I had to stand in a line at Walmart and as I looked around at the lines of waiting people. I became suddenly aware that unlike most of them I was nervous and impatient to get through the line and get on with my life. I needed to buy whatever it was but I didn't want to wait in that line to get it. My time was more valuable than the purchase, but by then it was too late. A quick cost-benefit analysis made me wait the couple of minutes it took to get to the checkout (this was before those self-checkout stations now all over the place).

Waiting in line was for most of the people around me a way of saving money. They were willing to invest the time to have the savings. For me waiting in line was a luxurious (read expensive in terms of possible lost income) treat. I could more easily delegate buying whatever it was and use my time more "productively" (i.e. generating more income), so when I finally shifted into semi-retirement, moving to a lower-paying job, my non-work time has became a lot more enjoyable. I am able to mess around, shop, wait in lines, or whatever (blog?)...without feeling guilty because I am not on task earning.

No comments: