Amazon has started making experimental drone deliveries in the Cambridge area, but not, regrettably, in time for Christmas.
The drone armies will soon be with us, bringing peace and cheer to all men, and I look forward to the day when I have to lay out a landing strip for
my parcel vector, and watch the skies anxiously. Is thirty minutes too long to wait for a delivery? Perhaps. Heaven knows I don't want to go to an
actual shop (although Amazon seems to think that they too might be coming back into fashion), but if I want something now, I want it now,
and I'm surprised they don't seem to understand that.
said, I have had a few parcels delivered to my door in recent days, in the slowest way imaginable (by Cambridge traffic). Christmas, after all, is
a time for giving and sharing, even if what we mostly give and share is of dubious moral or functional worth. Perhaps that is the point. Gift giving
is a symbolic, rather than a useful or functional, activity; thus searching for your 'gifts' as far as possible out along a dimension orthogonal to
utility or good sense seems to be most of the point.
Somewhere on that orthogonal line you may, in fact, locate a modicum of delight. This is the art of present-giving. And in that spirit the Guardian,
that bastion of liberal ethics, the other day published a list of the thirty 'must-have' gadgets of 2016, which included a £14,000 bicycle, a hybrid
electric car, a vacuum cleaner, a turntable, a 3-d printer, a 'home-bot' (which is a new category for me), and, ironically, a drone. As someone remarked
of a similar assembly of must-have ‘gifts’, it looks like a shopping list for the last days of Pompeii. You can also, if you feel a little overwhelmed,
buy a £30 box designed to help you 'declutter'. Which, if it isn't a clever philosophical think-piece, must be the very definition of sharp-practice.
All of which might be sounding a tad humbugish. And of course, were even a little of this bounty to drop on me from the skies this Christmas, I would
be agog with simple, innocent delight. But, to repeat, there will be no airborne deliveries in Cambridge before Christmas, so I can, for the time being,
continue nurse my horror at the armfuls of tat I'm going to have to bring home from John Lewis before the end of the week.