Not big, cosmic questions. Little stupid piddly-ass stuff. Like:
People who wedge open the flaps to trash cans by sticking their drink cups partway in. Why not simply push the flap just a bit further in and drop your rubbish into the can? Why leave it wedged open? This makes the OCD-ish part of my brain hurt.
When someone asks, “Why is it always in the last place you look?”
“Because,” I finally replied to my clueless coworker, “once you find it, you quit looking!”
“Oh! I never thought of that.”
(I regret that I am not making this up.)
This was a rant from last week, by one of the secondary teachers: Students who come in from the parking lot and leave the doors standing wide open — even when it’s raining and cold and draughty. I seconded the rant — our classroom is the coldest room in the building already, notwithstanding that it’s also across from the outside doors. Come on folks, surely I wasn’t the only person in the world who grew up with a family elder who went around repeating, “Shut the door — we’re not heating/air conditioning the whole out of doors!” :: sigh :: Maybe it’s time for me to take up that torch. (Think it’ll warm me any?)
People who wait until the cashier announces the purchase total before pulling out their checkbook and starting to write out the check. They’ve just been standing there in line staring at the promotional banners or magazine covers for several minutes. Why?
Ditto students who stand around the cafeteria queue yapping, and then wait until it’s their turn before the matron to think about what they want to eat for lunch. Nevermind that the week’s menus are on the classroom bulletin boards and written on the board at the very beginning of the line. I can understand waiting to choose between two items until you can see them to judge the apparent quality — but that still includes applying some forethought to the whole decision process. And yes, the milk costs the same thing it did last week, and the week before, and the week before that.
Folks who spend several minutes circling around the huge parking lots at the mall to get a “close parking space” so they can spend two or three hours walking around the mall. Why?
Tonight a student asked to speak to me privately before a written exam. It turned out that he wasn’t prepared, and was asking to take it in a day or two, even at a 10% grade reduction. It’s amazing how much detail people will volunteer if you keep your mouth shut and keep nodding; he added that he’d remembered the test was today, that he’d had the study guide, that he’d looked at the study guide, but only studied part of the material. Mental props to him for not coming up with some stupid my-grandma-died excuse, but I still declined the request to delay his sitting the exam, encouraging him to not panic and do his best. (As the saying goes, “failure to prepare on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part.”) I get this sort of non-emergency request several times a semester … why does anyone think a prof is going to say Yes?
One young woman to another, “Oh look, black is ‘in’ this year!” Folks, here’s a fashion secret: black is always ‘in’. It was ‘in’ even before Steampunk and Goth and even before Beatniks. Ditto black and white together. Why do fashion mavens act like this is breaking news?
Then there are the things that annoy me, far out of proportion to the intrinsic value of the incidents. I keep reminding myself that such things aren’t worth the mental energy it takes to be annoyed. But still!
Students who stick their textbooks back onto the shelf in a manner both upside-down and backwards (binding toward the back). This also makes the OCD-ish part of my brain hurt.
People who leave the new roll of toilet paper (loo roll) balanced precariously atop the empty cardboard tube of the previous roll, instead of slipping it onto the spindle. Surely the custodians and I are not the only three people in the entire building who know how to perform this small task? Do you know how often someone has bumped into the fat, new roll, and it’s now slumped sodden in some dubious puddle on the floor of the toilet stall, leaving everyone without resources?
Students who spend two minutes grinding away at pencils in the sharpener, but who also complain because all of the pencils are runty little things. (We finally instituted a rule that only the staff members can sharpen the classroom pencils.)
Dear World: Get a CLUE.
In happier news, the latest Skeptic’s Circle is up at The Uncredible Hallq. You can fill up your brain with sensible stuff over there. I highly recommend it as a good antidote to the foolishness we all have in our lives.