the world of ??whys??

The world is rife with "why's," most of them simply too large and overwhelming to contain easy answers, if any at all - why is there suffering in this world? why do bad things happen to good people (and vice versa)? why is the sky blue (okay, there's probably some scientific explanation for that one, but a scientist I am not, so that one falls into bigger hands/minds than my own).
But everyday, we all encounter a myriad of little "why's," the kind we are certain have answers or could be satisfactorily redressed. These are the ones that really stick in your craw, because deep down you sense that : 1) it's simply Murphy's Law inserting its frustrating self into the minutiae of your daily life; or 2) the matter simply wouldn't exist, if only the rest of the world possessed your obviously elevated level of common sense.
So, all that being said, this column is dedicated to just those very "why's" - maybe not earth-shattering, nor of global relevance, but clearly impacting as we go about our own daily lives - the little glitches for all us cogs that are simply part of the bigger picture. These little things comprise our own personal bigger pictures, and I am convinced are at the heart of bigger issues - road rage, general rudeness, random acts of kindness, etc., etc. And in that reciprocal sense, maybe they are bigger than they seem, more than just pet peeves or petty annoyances.
So to get the thread rolling, I've come up with a few of my own choice "why's" - feel free to add your own, and if you have answers or at least a darn good or amusing theory, I'd love to hear it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Cats & Clean Rugs"

It inevitably happens in those middle of the night, pre-dawn hours, when I am trying to eke out the last couple hours of sleep before the alarm sounds off. Somehow, it wakes me up every time, no matter how deep a dream state I may be in. It starts with the strange and lowly yowling, followed by the heaving notes of my cat working up the next hair-ball, or the sudden sickness brought on by him either gobbling his kibbles too quickly or having found some remote dust bunny on which to snack mere moments prior.
This, in and of itself, doesn't really faze me - he's a cat, these things happen. What DOES stump me is how this manages to happen almost immediately following my having cleaned up after his LAST incident. Because, my cat has a preference for performing such tasks on the most elevated plane to be found on ground level...could be a piece of paper on the floor, and that would be the EXACT spot to which he'd maneuver to deposit the cause of his not-so-happy innards. Only, it so happens, I don't decorate my floors with scraps of paper. Like most people, I'm more likely to put down a stylish (or at least functional) throw-rug. As you've likely guessed, this is precisely where, then, my cat has decided is the proper place to head when he feels some unpleasantness coming on, thereby making my floor decor more appropriately named a throw-up rug than a throw-rug!
What gets me about this every time, is how, after having cleaned it, and waiting to ensure he seems to be relatively incident-free before I dare lay it down again, I find myself awakened to those tell-tale audible signs, only to slowly pry my eyelids opens to the fuzzy form of said cat propped squarely atop said rug, heaving out yet another mess.
There could be weeks inbetween his getting sick, but the day that rug goes down, inevitably, something bad comes up.
Perhaps I should consider switching detergents...something scentless - "no, i'm not clean, not clean at all, no need to throw up here!" It's either that, or my decorative tastes take on a whole new "throw-paper towels"....could be a whole new trend with the feline-fond set!

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Why do the things you fear always find you?"

Spiders...I realize they have their own little place in the whole grand scheme of things. I can even intellectually appreciate that they rid my world of pesky little intruders, like flies and mites.
But, I am, despite all that, phobically afraid of spiders.
When I was young, I would spot one (did you ever notice how you can be completely oblivious to about a million things all around you, but take that one thing that scares you, and a good 90% of the time, your eye will naturally dart straight to the very spot in which it resides?). It would be in some remote corner of my room late at night as I dutifully toddled off to bed. "Okay," I'd tell myself, "It's not too big, and it's all the way over THERE."
Inevitably, after a few minutes, I would glance back up, (cos,' you know, you just gotta check), and here it would come, as though there were tiny signs visible only in anachrid script pointing my way -- "this way to freaking out something a billion times your size - ha ha ha!"
So, of course, this is the point at which I would have to enlist the aid of Dad, particularly if it was venturing dangerously close to my bed, from which point it could drop down, and not only BE ON ME, but potentially crawl up my nose (as I saw one do to a friend's little brother one night while at a sleep-over - no lie!).
Of course now, being all grown up and on my own, I am left to my own defenses. Dad is hundreds of miles away, and that spider will be so far up my nose by the time he arrives, my brain will be positively brewing with arachnid colonies!
I've tried holding my cat up to the wall, hoping he'd go after the 8-legged beast for me (cats like to bat at things that move, right?) - but he apparently has no interest in spiders...could be a whole fleet of them traipsing by, and he'd simply turn and walk away. Clearly, he has no time for moving objects he doesn't want to eat, which in this case, I can't say I blame him.
So, I'm on my own. Just me and a good heavy boot, and preferably a long-handled broom with which I can first strike it down to within smashing distance.
Still, it all makes me wonder, HOW DO THEY KNOW?
"The grocery bag conundrum"

I love the U-Scan. While for some it is a frustrating mess of technological uncertainty and foibles, I find that when used and operating properly, it is a small realm of control in a world where far too many things are beyond one's control.
For instance, bagging. What I love about this new do-it-yourself approach is that I can distribute my purchases in the way that makes the most sense to me, and do away with that whole nagging question of "why did they put all THIS stuff in HERE and all THAT stuff in THERE!?!"
Specifically, why do the baggers find it necessary to put all of the heaviest items in one bag all together?...then fill one bag with nothing but a roll of paper towels and another with a bag of baby carrots? Not only is this a waste of plastic (leading to increased consumer waste and global warming -- see how these things, ultimately, make their way back into the larger picture?); but it leaves me completely unable to distribute weight evenly as I carry my packages into the house -- not to mention the obvious fact that one bag (and yes, just to further add to the very "whyness" of it all, these are rarely double-bagged) filled with canned goods, celery, a large jar of pickles and a bottle of wine is likely to bust wide open - thereby not only rendering my shopping completely futile (which necessitates re-purchase, and the cycle begins again - AARGH!), and at the very least renders it completely useless as a trash bin liner.
So, my question (as you've likely guessed) is simply, why? Why do they do that? Isn't there some kind of bagger training? And if so, why isn't the logic that so naturally springs to mind, ever applied?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"The pull-through"

I own a stick shift car. Sometimes it slides easily into reverse. But there are many times when Josie (yes, I have named my car - before her there was Dot, and no, it ain't just a silly girl thing - note cultural reference - "STELLA!!!") likes to make me work for it. I can sit and try multiple times - push knob down, move stick up and to the left - only to have it snap into first.
"Josie why do you hate me? Don't be like that, " I'll say -- and let me digress to add, thank God for the age of cell phones, because now as I sit there alone in my car, obviously having some sort of conversation, at least the driver pulled up next to me can assume I am actually speaking to a person via some cellular device, instead of just talking to myself like a complete nut....although I'm not actually talking to myself, I'm talking to my car, which may be either better or worse.. Is it crazier to talk to yourself or an inanimate mechanical object?
Anyway, to return to the whole point of this post, I needless to say get a little jolt whenever I exit the store to find that the car parked in front of me has left, and I get...."the pull-through." No fighting to shift into reverse, no making 2 shift maneuvers to get going, just a clear, one-stop motion and I'm on to my next destination. Inevitably, as I am loading my bags into the car, I glance up and see it - that car - it's coming, it's looking for a spot, and I just know that I am about to be denied my "pull-through." It doesn't always happen, but I would estimate a good 9 times out of 10 I find myself sliding behind the wheel, muttering to myself, "denied AGAIN!"
So the question is, why? Why can't I have just this little tiny convenience come my way a bit more often? How is it that I time my errands to the exact moment when I see that I may have a bit of luck only to see it inevitably fall from my grasp? Couldn't I have just either gone down one more aisle, so I wouldn't KNOW I was denied, or one less aisle, so that I get out before that car rolls in? It's almost like fate is teasing me. And I just have to ask, why?