Friday, August 24, 2012

Waiting For The Best ~ Life Lessons from A Fast Food Drive-Thru

Confession time! I know, I know that happens a lot around here.

Photo by Wiki Commons
My family eats too much fast food. We eat it at least twice a week, frequently three, and occasionally more. Part of it is because we have such a long drive to church (It takes at least 45 minutes but we always have to allow an hour.)

On Wednesdays, we not only eat fast food, we eat it in the car. (Remember.... 45 minute drive...) All this means I've gotten very familiar with the fast food drive thru line. And I've noticed something.

They're slow with the straws.

Because of the way things are set up in drive thru lines, you get your drink almost immediately. Sometimes they hand them to you before you hand them your payment, which can be really awkward when neither of you has a hand free to actually receive what the other is trying to pass you.

So your drink is in your hand (or your cup holder) and it's all cold and yummy and you're thirsty because you spent the past hour running around putting kids on shoes (or shoes on kids, depending on your viewpoint) and gathering Bibles and other church goodies and such. And there in front of you is the wonderful, if unhealthy, cure for your thirst.

But they didn't give you a straw.

I don't really follow the football much, but
have to take this moment to cheer on my
alma mater. Go jackets! Sting 'em!
You see they've started putting the straws in the food bags. I guess this is so they don't forget them. But it means they hand you your drink and don't give you a straw. So the cup sits there, mocking you. The cup starts sweating because there's cold deliciousness inside but you don't have a straw.

Now I understand that a straw is not a requirement for drinking a drink. I could take the lid off and sip it that way. But there are many problems with this:

1. I'm clumsy. I've dropped a cup in the car more times than I care to admit and been very thankful for that little piece of plastic keeping most of the liquid where it belongs - in my cup.

2. I'm going to have to replace the lid so I can put the straw in to make it drinkable as I drive down the road. Because I can't be tipping my head back with a cup in front of my face as I truck down the interstate. So why take it off because...

3. I always seem to break the lids when I remove them. It's a special talent. I thought about trying out for America's Got Talent, but I couldn't see me making a whole Las Vegas show out of that skill.

What this all means is that, in my case at least, it's better to just let the cup sit and wait for the straw. Sometimes I'll get lucky and they hand me the straw with the cup, but that is becoming more and more rare. Most of the time I have to wait for the better way to drink my drink.

Life is like that.

I love this picture. I know nothing about it
but it looks like these two women are
waiting on something important. One is
content to sit and wait, possibly dreaming
about whatever is coming. The other is looking
to get out or hide. It's pretty cool.
Photo from WikiCommons
Sometimes we know what we want. We can see it. We're so close we can almost taste it.

But we don't have the necessary means to get there yet. There's a quicker option but we run the potential of spills and mess and damage to a part we might need later on.

I can really relate this to book publishing. Right now, there is a lot of discussion about traditional vs. self publishing. A variety of hybrid models have started coming out too.

Let's say you have a book (I do) and it's great (I like to think so.) and it sits on your computer, asking you what you intend to do with it. Most authors want their book published. It's sort of the natural culmination of the book writing process.

You can get to it immediately by publishing it yourself, and for some people this works amazingly well. For others, drink gets spilled everywhere until there isn't a need for a straw because there's nothing left in the cup.

Your other option is to wait for traditional publishing. It's a little slower, but you have less risk once you get it. IF you self-publish the editing, cover art, everything is on your shoulders. There's no advance, no safety net, no nothing.

I'm not trying to get a self vs. traditional war started here. (Believe me they can be ugly.)

What I'm saying is that sometimes in life, the thing that's better requires a little more wait. There are times when the shortcut just isn't worth the risk.

Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever taken a shortcut and ended up with a giant mess on your hands?

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