You know what's wrong with people today? They can't wait for cheese to melt. Everything has to happen now.

"Get instant results." "Coffee in an instant." "Be an instant lottery winner." I've never seen a group so impatient to realize instant gratification.There's a new watch out that doubles as a biological clock. It not only ticks away the seconds of lovemaking, it is color-coded to indicate when it's a good time to conceive. There's no doubt in my mind that newer ones will come equipped with a wake-up alarm.

Are you pregnant? There's an instant test to find out. Is it going to be a boy or a girl? Who wants to wait nine months to find out? There's a test for that, too.

There was a time when the only thing that forced patience on us was the interminable wait for our income tax refund. The other night on TV there was an ad for a loan company that would advance your refund as soon as you filed your return.

What's the hurry?

Elections used to carry with them some mystique. Harry Truman went to bed not knowing if he was going to awaken as the president. Thanks to voter samplings, winners and losers today know the outcome before the polls close.

"Photos developed in one hour." "Buy new glasses on your lunch hour." "Lose 10 pounds while you sleep." "If you don't get your pizza in an hour, we pay for it."

I've observed my grown kids. While they're nuking their 30-second cup of coffee, television is reading headlines out loud to them. Their animals get five seconds to wet on a bush before their owners leave for the gym. Stephen King reads his books to them while they're on a treadmill, and they finish their toilette at traffic lights.

They rarely get out of their cars for anything anymore. A drive-in is faster. While they're listening to their messages on their answering machines, they're microwaving dinner. They don't waste time opening anything but first-class mail. To watch television with them is like twirling in a teacup at Disneyland. The picture changes every five seconds during the commercial breaks. They wear now/pay later; eat now/

pay later; vacation now/pay forever. Where are they going at such breakneck speed, and what do they do with the time that they save?

It makes our kids crazy that we don't own an answering machine. They have to let the phone ring 10 times to know we're not home. It's the only relaxation they get all day.