At the moment, the only way you can look at package descriptions is to do a emerge -s package, or to look at the ebuild. Why not add a flag like --description to just print out the long description of the package?
Steps to Reproduce:
`emerge -s ^pkg$`
That's the problem. the -s means search, which takes quite some time. All it needs to do is go straight to the package i specify and print out the description.
i really dont think if we added this special exception it would give you the performance increase you're looking for ... plus it's a very specific bit of code not generally useful for anything else
if speed is your concern, use `esearch` (`emerge esearch`)
if that is not acceptable, help the portage team transition to the binary database format