The Clueless Keep Life Interesting

Posted: December 2, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Home, Observations
Tags: , , ,

Today while sipping my morning coffee at 2 in the afternoon…( Hey, I’ve been at work and or school the past 6 days and nights and I’m having a “Me Day” consisting of ordering in and watching Bonanza re-runs…OK?) I got a call from Gow who was at work. She needed to vent about her co-workers who were stepping on her dress. Gow works in a cubicle veal capacity and her first grievance was of two co-workers carrying on a speaker phone conversation with each other on opposite sides of her cubicle. Apparently getting up and walking 10 feet to carry on a normal conversation was too obvious. She was also having cafeteria issues. People who would stand in moving lines acting as “human cholesterol” as she so beautifully put it. She also complained that at least once a day people would pull an abrupt 180 while in line and cause near collisions. It would seem that Gow, like the rest of us has to contend with members of the human race who aren’t aware of their surroundings and frankly don’t care.

Being a New Yorker, I am all too aware and frequently annoyed by these people. There are 8-10 million NYers in the Metro area, and my careful research estimates that at least half a million of them are oblivious, Mr. Magoo clone, Me-Monkeys who plod through life text messaging as cars screech to avoid collisions all around them because they forgot their first grade teacher’s important lesson of looking both ways before they cross. Besides, that “Where R U” text message from the friend they just hung up with 5 minutes ago is very important.  Yes folks, we are now living in a Chaplin-esque nightmare.

As irritating and exasperating as the clueless are, they are an important part of our society. We have bike reflectors, street signs, traffic lights, small claims courts, traffic cops and sign makers all making products for these folks to ignore. I am convinced we are about one generation away from everyone having to wear helmets. Oh, don’t get me wrong, these people give me ulcers too. They walk a precarious line of behaving in an obstructive and inconveniencing way that drives those of us who are paying attention crazy, yet if we chose to confront them all, we’d scream ourselves hoarse within a couple hours. I’d have a severe case of tennis elbow in no time at all if I acted upon my impulse to hit them.  I’m never at a shortage of writing material with these people.

I can see why they might have trouble figuring this out. . . no, wait . . . I can't.

Every day I ride my bike to work or school. I try to use the bike lanes when they are present, but sadly many motorists interpret the stick figure bicyclist painted on the lanes to be a high speed passing lane for their cars. (Well done Road Warriors.) Then I have my fellow bicyclists who haven’t figured out the intricacies of the big arrows showing us which lane we belong in. (It’s either that or there are more English drivers here than I was aware of.) As if the inner city Nascar drivers and directionally challenged bicyclists weren’t enough, for comic relief we need text messagers deeply engaged in “conversations” while walking down the middle of the bike lanes rapidly texting “Wut she say then?” and other equally important information that just can’t wait.

Bathrooms and bathroom behavior are another great source of material for the human race slapstick troop. Now, I’m not a plumber, but surely I’m not the only person who understands that a toilet filled to the brim with water, little brown battleships, 6 rolls of toilet paper and a cigarette pack should decidedly not be flushed; unless, of course you enjoy watching the impending fallout. Me?  I prefer  movies, music, discussion and other forms of entertainment…but hey I guess my sense of entertainment is more highbrow. I used to work at a bar whose plumbing had been installed in the 1930’s by ”Larry,Moe and Curly’s  Plumbing and Accounting Firm “.  As a result, there were lots of…situations that had to be addressed. I understand that these things happen, but I can’t be the only one who has a clue in regards to dealing with or avoiding them. When I first started working there I was young, idealistic and naïve. In my innocence I thought…silly me…that putting a large “Out of Order” sign at eye level would act as a deterrent. Sadly this was not to be. People would read the sign and after doing so would still enter the tainted and fragrant bathroom and start logging like Paul Bunyan. I know they read the sign. I saw their lips moving and a look of utter confusion come across their unibrowed face. It was clearly going to take more than a sign, so in addition to the sign, I would lock the door and put chairs in front of it. This sadly didn’t work either, as those who felt gastro-intestinal rumblings would just move the chairs aside, pick the lock, read and ignore the sign and proceed with their bombing mission. Finally I decided to fill the broken toilet stall with barstools, with the sign, the lock and the chairs in front of the outer door. It took less than an hour before I walked in to see someone taking the chairs out of the stall.  “What are you doing?”  I asked?  “I have to go to da baffroom” they’d slur at me. Not only do I have to share a planet with these people, but they have also been known to reproduce at an alarming rate. I know that my old black labrador retriever learned pretty quickly when I pushed his nose into the grumpies he lovingly deposited on the kitchen or living room floor, swatted him with a rolled up newspaper and said “No..No..NO”.  I have no doubt that Jonah the dog was smarter than most of the drunks using our humble outhouse. I asked my boss if we could hire a big ex-con to do this to our bathroom gremlins. He said he’d have to think about it. In the end, he just told me to keep an eye on things. I think it was because he was too cheap to go along with my creative solution.

Not exactly what she looked like, but you get the idea

A couple of years ago there was a woman with 5 kids and one in the oven changing her baby’s diaper on the folding table at the Laundromat. I stood and stared at her with the same expression my father had when my brother and I decided to fill his gas tank with sand. We had been trying to help him with the energy crisis of the 80s. We were also 6 years old. I had to resist the urge to shove her into a triple loader and run off with her baby and raising it as my own. I’d raise it to have a clue. The clueless team seems to be winning the numbers war. Somehow they have figured out how to copulate, but not the intricacies of the condom. I am convinced that there is a direct correlation between people with 4, 5, 6 or 7 children and plummeting IQs. I was behind one of them in the supermarket once. After scanning her 3 carts of items while her children ran amuck, the cashier told her the total of her purchase. Of course she didn’t have her money out…that would require forethought.  No, reading Soap Opera Digest and ignoring her brood while they vandalized gumball machines and terrorized other shoppers was priority number one.  Finally, after digging through her designer Louis Vuitton purse for her cash and food stamps, it turned out she didn’t have quite enough for the purchase. The grocery bill came to $312, she had a total of $84. She stood there looking confused for a moment while others in line mumbled “Oh come on.”  and other such things. Her face lit up. She had figured out what to do. She picked up the money and food stamps and rearranged them in the hopes that this would somehow change the total. Oh, Goodie. I’m in line behind a mathematician.  Maybe when we are done here, she can help me with my algebra homework, or file my tax return.  She could also have a promising career with the Congressional Budget Office. They need the help. Finally the clerk explained that she’d have to put some things back. The people in line behind me were evacuating to get in other lines with old ladies brandishing handfuls of coupons and homeless people returning brimming garbage bags full of empty cans and bottles. Then there were “Express Lines” to take 40 items to. They obviously had places to go and people to see. As for me, I had to stay put and watch the car wreck. After looking over her pile of groceries and carefully deciding what she would return to make up the $220 shortfall, she finally came to a decision and reached over, grabbed a packet of frozen peas and slowly handed them to the cashier, then stood back and smiled. Yeah, that takes care of the $220 shortfall. Well done. I pulled my shopping cart out of the line and left it to the side. I caught the eye of a store employee who’d probably have to put back all the items and apologized. He held a hand up as if to say “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” He too is a veteran of the war against the clueless. Maybe supermarkets should set up a “Stupid Lane” and a “Senior Citizen Lane”.  Instead of the death penalty, we can sentence our most dangerous felons to be lobotomized and then teach them how to scan items at the grocery store. It’s important for the clueless to interact with those on the same cerebral level.

There are millions of examples of this kind of behavior. It’s never going to go away. We will continue to make signs, and make them simpler and simpler to understand. No friends, short of running electrical current through everything the stupid people might touch, we are going to have to take along the stupid folks for the ride. It’s just a pity we can’t leave them in the car in a hot parking lot in August with the windows rolled up after telling them ”I’ll be right back.”

  1. Hilarious as always. I am picturing the lady at the grocery store as a skit right now. This would make for an excellent comedy show.

  2. Tallkronan says:



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