Friday, January 13, 2012


In Hermann Hesse's Siddartha (1922), the protagonist lists one of his skills as "waiting." This is clearly a lost art in our society. People run red lights, cut in line, and grow furious if their multi-gigabyte downloads take more than a couple of seconds. We insist on reading email and texting while having breakfast ... while driving. We use DVRs to skip commercials, and single cup coffee makers to get near instant caffeine doses. We upgrade our electronics every year or more.

My employer may have found a way to counter this tendency. They may have found the way to teach patience.

This is a privately held company that places a premium on employee satisfaction. They go to great lengths to provide every benefit and accommodation employees might require. Among these, they offer a continuous supply of a wide variety of beverages. I work in one of three buildings on the main campus, and on each floor of this building, there are roughly 200 employees. For each floor, the beverage choices include skim, low-fat and regular milk, decaf and regular coffee, four flavors of iced tea, three kinds of seltzer, apple, cranberry and orange juice, lemonade, six varieties of soda and technologically purified water. In all, 23 different beverages for the 200 employees on each floor.

And four bathrooms.

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