Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Magnificent Seven: 7 Random Things that make me Insane.

As always, the inspiration for the Magnificent Seven is the Magnificent 7, Mr. Elway.

If you are a regular reader of the Vertically Striped Socks you may find this hard to believe, but I am truly a sensitive soul. Yes, I am a sensitive, but it’s usually only about oddest things. Generally, I am laid back to a fault, but I also have my strange trigger points. There are so many perfectly harmless things in this world which make me insane. I realize that this is a problem I have, and in no way do I hold liable anyone who perpetrates these crimes against my sensibilities. I realize logically that these issues shouldn’t get me all worked up, and yet emotionally I have a visceral reaction when I come across items on this list that no amount of logic and calm reasoning can assuage.

I have decided that part of my self-prescribed therapy is to create my second installment of The Magnificent Seven be a list of seven perfectly harmless things that make me crazy. As always with the Magnificent Seven, these lists are neither a comprehensive nor consecutive lists, but are merely lists of seven things that come to mind on each particular topic. Unfortunately, It should probably be noted that there a great many other things which make me loopy, these just happen to be seven of them.

Passwords – One of the downfalls of living in the computer age is that we have to remember roughly forty-seven billion passwords. At my job alone, I have a password to log into my computer, a password to log on to our asset management system, a password to log into our title order system, a password for our appraisal management company system, a password for our property work management company, a password for our payroll system, a password for our secondary valuation group, and probably eight more that I can’t think of off the top of my head. Add these to passwords and user names that I have to have for pretty much every web application and account that I use (and there are a ton of those), and PIN numbers for credit cards and ATM’s and before long, I am easily over one hundred passwords to access things in my life. The human mind was not intended to remember this many passwords and it doesn’t help that in order to get your passwords reset, you have to remember others meaningless drivel. It gets old.

The straw that finally breaks this camel’s back is that at my company we have to change all of our passwords every ninety days. First of all, I have to have a password on the off chance that someone can’t wait to order hundreds of appraisals with my user name, and then I have to change that password every three months in order to keep that person from figuring out my password just in case they were actually crazy enough to want to get it in the first place. In my office, people are doing well to actually wear two socks that match each other, and we’re worried about a criminal mastermind ordering extra appraisal reports?? I’m so over passwords, and the thing is that they keep getting more and more annoying. Now for many of my passwords, I have to use both upper and lower case letters along with a special character and a number. I swear it’s draining my will to live some days. I want to just make all of my passwords be the actual word “password” and be done with it. All this needless secrecy is maddening. I barely have the power to make a cup of tea without prior approval, and yet we have to guard my tiny level of access like I have intimate access to the holding bays of Fort Knox.

Security checks at stadiums - Ever since September 11th happened eight years ago, our nation has been assaulted with good hearted empty headed policies designed to make us feel safer. Many of these efforts do little to actually keep us safe, but I guess as long as we’re trying we get an A for effort. One of the most bizarre and annoying (apart from having to take off our shoes at the airport) is the security check that everyone must pass through before entering a sporting event. The place where this gives me the biggest fit is at Invesco Field when I go to a Broncos game. The preposterous lack of thought that has been instituted at this particular security check is appalling.

To avoid claims of sexual harassment, there are men’s lines manned by men security personnel, and women’s lines womenned (I love making up new words) by female security folk. Keep in mind that this is an NFL game, and a generous estimate says that maybe fifteen percent of the clientele are female, however for some reason (Gender Equality?) we have an equal number of male and female gates. Gender equality is all fine and good, but sometimes a little common sense would be much more appreciated. If I were going to a taping of the Oprah Winfrey show and had to go through gender divided security checks, I would be fine with one men’s gate for every eight women’s gates, because I would expect that would be how the demographics would break down. With that line of thought, could we at least do a two to one ratio of men’s gates to women’s gates at the football game? The unintended consequence of this equality is that women fly through the security gates, but then have to wait for their guys to get through anyway, and it ends up holding up everyone except for all female groups.

That’s asinine enough, but then when you finally get through the ludicrously long wait and get up to the guy who is checking you, it’s usually some high school kid who is bored out of his mind and who reaches around your chest area in some sort of pseudo hug and then lets you move along. Unless the terrorist is wearing some type of chest holster, or he has his bomb in his chest pocket, I don’t think that this minimum wage flunky is going to thwart Al Qaeda. So, unless the terrorists are unable figure out that they should probably put their weapons in their pants, perhaps we are not as safe as they would like us to feel at the security checkpoint. So stupid.

Professional Wrestling – I will tread as lightly as possible here, because I know I have many friends and acquaintances who love pro wrestling, but I have to say that I do not get it, not at all. It’s sort of like sports, only the outcomes are predetermined and it’s all as phony as the badge on the guy driving the security truck at the mall (the one with the constantly flashing yellow lights.) It’s sort of like a soap opera, except louder and with even worse acting. It boggles my mind to think that there could be worse acting that on a soap opera until I watch wrestling. I honestly don’t understand the appeal. I realize that the wrestlers do amazing stunts and they are very athletic, and I get that the violence and loudness definitely appeals to a certain demographic. My issue with it is that when you boil it down to its essence, it’s a loud, obnoxious soap opera with roided up dudes who can’t act performing their little dramas in which the winners and losers as best as I can figure are determined by a public opinion focus group and some writers. Again, I’m not attacking you nor calling you stupid if you like it, I just don’t get it myself. When I watch it, it makes me angry because of how little I understand the appeal and how little I want to see even a commercial for it on TV as I flip channels. Wrestling has not done anything to hurt me, and yet I find a disgust in my soul for it that few things in life can match.

Kamikaze Bicyclists – Most people on bicycles are just fine. My problem is with the ones who do one of the two following things, and I have named these crazy people Bicycle Kamikazes. 1. Bikers who get into major streets despite the fact that there is a perfectly good and wide sidewalk for them to ride down. These people are moving at fourteen miles per hour, yet are cruising down a street where the posted speed limit is 45 MPH, and expect everyone driving to just pass them. I call this brand of Kamikaze the “Bike Car” guy. He thinks his Bike is a car. 2. This second Kamikaze is has completely taken leave of his senses. He believes that although he is driving down the same street as cars, he does not need to stop at red lights. I see this Bicycle Kamikaze the most when I am walking around downtown Denver. He is moving along with traffic, but the light turns and although every car stops, he powers right on through the intersection. First of all, he is legally obligated to stop, but more importantly, HE IS GOING TO GET FLATTENED BY A TRUCK!!! I cannot control my angry thoughts when I see this second brand of Kamikaze do his thing. I don’t really care that he is breaking traffic law, but I can’t help but think that some poor soul is going to have to explain to his mom why her little Johnny got demolished by a Flat Bed. I am angry for that guy who has to comfort a grieving mother due to Darwin’s law being enacted.

Guys who use the toilet when a urinal is available – Girls will not relate to this one at all, I understand. I will also grant you that this one is just plain weird, and perhaps it’s just me. However, when a guy needs to urinate, and he goes into the stall to use the toilet rather than just using the open urinal that is just sitting there, it really angers me. Doesn’t he realize that he is less likely to leave a mess at the urinal, doesn’t he realize that he might be monopolizing some valuable territory for someone who might need that toilet for an emergency situation in which some serious sitting down will be necessary, and wouldn’t you just rather use the trough over the bowl anyway??? These are the questions that enter my head EVERY TIME I see a guy walk into a stall and then I hear the telltale splashing sounds but don’t hear someone sit. I am amazed at how many guys pull this move, actually it’s probably more shock than amazement. I personally prefer the urinal, and find it to be a more pleasant alternative for many reasons. None of which I will detail here, but suffice to say, I think it’s better than a toilet. The only other thing I can think of is that guy wants a little more privacy or is a little insecure, which I don’t get either, because one of the cardinal rules of the men’s room is that you look at the wall in front of you or at the ceiling, no other alternatives are acceptable. Whatever the reason is, I dismiss it out of hand propose the following rule to my fellow men…If you have to sit down, use the stall, if you’re going to stand up, be a man and use the urinal. I am going to move on now…

Driving slow in the left lane – “Slower traffic keep right.” That is not a suggestion, it is the law. If you are driving slower than the people around you, even if you are driving the speed limit, get your little Hyundai or Kia into the right lane. I realize that you may think that because you are moving at the posted speed limit, and that legally people shouldn’t drive any faster than that. So you feel justified being in the left lane because you are driving as fast as the law allows. You may feel justified, but you are also WRONG! Newsflash…a lot of people like to drive faster than the limit. If we get caught by Joe Law and his radar gun of shame, we will be the ones who have to deal with the repercussions, and we are prepared to do so if necessary. However, at the moment we are running late for something (be it work, a date, or the tipoff of the Nuggets game) and we want to get where we are going as fast as we can. We do not want or appreciate your little law abiding butt clogging up the lane that is supposed to be for the fastest and most aggressive of the cars. Move over, or so help me if I ever develop Jedi powers, you will find your car being raised up into the air and deposited on the side of the road in a most unpleasant (but not life threatening, because I’m not THAT mean) way. Actually it’s probably not likely that I develop any Star Wars related powers anytime soon, and the world may be a better place as a result, but seriously…can you just drive in the right hand lane like you’re supposed to? I don’t feel like I’m asking for too much here.

Parking Lot Lurkers –The Parking Lot Lurker can be identified by their signature move of hovering behind you as you are walking through a crowded parking lot. Much like a remora on a shark they attach themselves to unwitting pedestrians like a parasite and feed off of the parking accomplishments of others. There are times such as Christmas at the mall when this activity cannot be avoided, and at those times this behavior does not bother me. However, when it’s a random April day and the parking lot is only half full I feel like punching these people in the nose. These people have an unholy amount of patience and a deathly fear of walking an extra forty yards in a parking lot. Even in situations when they are preparing to engage in an activity which will require a ton of walking such as going to the mall, these people would rather wait for ten minutes for you to pull out of your parking spot than drive down eight more spots and park in the empty space and do slightly more walking. This is one of the few things that make me nuts on this list that I have the ability to do something about. It may be a bit passive aggressive, but it feels so good. Getting into my vehicle with my two little kids isn’t something that is a quick process anyway, but I make sure that it is an extra slow process when someone is waiting for my spot when there is an available space not too far away. I go around to both sides and make sure that my kids are correctly positioned in their car seats, then I check again and perhaps see if either of the children need a drink or perhaps a snack, I’ll check the mirrors and adjust them once or twice, check my tire pressure, adjust my seat a few times, and just sit in my seat for a few minutes to collect my thoughts and emotions. Basically, I’ll do anything I can think of to make the lurker rethink their decision to wait for my spot. The thing that I find to be absolutely insane is that the lurker hardly ever moves on to another spot, it’s like they shut off all brain activity other than making sure they get my spot once I move. I had a lurker a couple of weeks ago wait for about five minutes for my spot when there was literally four spaces further down. Madness!

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