December 13th, 2013

Jeff Bezos is such a tease. For weeks I kept being told that Amazon was starting to use drones to deliver packages. At first I thought it was a joke, some kind of internet hoax. I wasn’t coming across any articles about it, just hearing from friends that they had heard it from one place or another. It sounded too outlandish, too much like science fiction and so I dismissed it. Then, one day, someone referenced it on NPR, just one little sentence, and my ears perked up. If it’s on NPR, maybe it’s for real. Amazon is going to start delivering packages by drone!

I pictured myself ordering a silk scarf and then hanging my head out the window of my second story apartment to catch it as it was dropped from the sky. I got emotionally prepared to go back to reading real books, since the reason that I read so many e-books these days is that kindle offers me the ability to be reading a thing as soon as I have the idea that I might want to. And what a beautiful scene: great literature raining down from above. Gifts would maybe be the best, though. How much better would any little trifle be if it fell into the receiver’s hands from the heavens? Not to mention the Hunger Games angle. For those one or two of you who are unfamiliar with that reference, there is a contest called the Hunger Games within the books and movies of that name, and in that contest it is possible to have a life saving supply parachuted down to a contestant at just the moment when that thing is most needed. Imagine, then, going on a long hike and, instead of carrying heavy jugs of water, having bottles dropped at certain landmarks along the path instead.

Finally, wondering whether this system was going to be operational in time to have all my packages swooped in on Christmas morning, I went looking for the real story. It’s true enough, I guess. Amazon is planning to make deliveries by drone. Jeff Bezos says it’ll hopefully be up and running in four or five YEARS.

And so I say to you, my techie friends, don’t do things like that to us laymen. The disappointment I felt when I learned that this was a story about the distant future made me feel like I had been swindled. I felt like Amazon had given me something and then snatched it away. Be careful with our delicate hearts.

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