Saturday, December 4, 2010

Public Transport

Why why why is public transport so antisocial?

Twice a day so many of us are emphatically reminded that we have become mindless drones. How did we let it happen? How did we accept that joining the daily livestock transport to our daily drudge was a normal existence? 

Public transport. There’s clearly an innate, if not consciously acknowledged, loathing of it as we engineer our morning preparations so that arrival at stops and stations will be at the last possible minute. And maybe it’s that established inner despising of this inescapable, robotic indignity that causes us to treat everyone else subjected to it with such lack of care.

Spontaneous interaction at a bus stop is rare – there’s never a “Nice day”, at best you’ll get a grumbled agreement on scheduling deficiencies. From the moment a bus arrives you can sense every commuter’s judgement of every other as inferior. Queuing? Ha! It’s everyone for themselves. “You’re buying a ticket?”, anyone caught behind is thinking, “Why weren’t you organised enough to buy a pass? Cretin.” And the driver is perpetually bemused that no-one uses the machine next to him/her.

Even though we know the bus will be full in two stops we’d sooner die than sit next to a stranger as long as there’s an empty seat. (It can’t be for the window – it’s the same dreary view as yesterday.) Try plonking yourself next to someone “prematurely” and you’ll receive a look usually reserved for lepers. And when seating capacity is reached and it’s standing room only we expose our inability to learn what must be life’s most difficult lesson. Despite being coached day after interminable day the modern bus traveller is incapable, incapable, of moving to the back without being told.

Yet there is glimmer of unity as the bus pulls up to a stop – for some reason a fellow passenger’s needs will be considered if only to join in a chorus of “Back door, driver!”.

If you take a bus and a train your fun is doubled. Train travel has brought about its own subtly unique conditionings. Here, for instance, we see a juvenile mindset that survives heartily into adulthood, ie: once an immediate need is met no broader consequences can be considered. Notably, entry into a train. (Again, every man for themselves.) But the instant footfall onto the carriage is achieved, the momentum of each commuter ceases. Never mind that there is a yawning void within that would easily accommodate the twenty clamouring behind. And despite this identical situation occurring the last 750 trips, inertia. A lab rat could grasp this in a single day! For humanity’s sake, keep moving in!

So. Anyway. Time for egress. Once more a curious hint of recognised mutual suffering is displayed. Those on the platform being pulled into will often actually stand either side of the opening doors to allow smoothish passage from within. Wow. (A routine exception to this phenomenon is witnessed at Martin Place. Telling?)

Finally, the station exposes us to one more opportunity to show our minimum regard. The escalators. This is a pet topic all on its own so I'll simply reiterate that the inability of the adult mind, after years of repeated drilling, to equate left with “stand” and right with “walk” never fails to leave me perplexed.

Anyway - this just lands on the beach of this whole sub-continent in the world of "why why why" - there are dark jungles beyond few would wish to explore. As individuals we probably can’t do much to change the greater machinations of public transport. But we can change the way we treat each other. I don’t care if I sound like George Kostanza when he exasperated: “You know, we’re living in a society!”. Ultimately, we’re all only in this for one ride together – why not get along? I don’t believe in Karma in a mystical sense but I do believe that consideration shown to others will yield positive return. Join me. It won’t hurt a bit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ear hair

Ear hair. Why why why?

Now, you thirty-something (and beyond) guys, when you consider how much plucking, waxing, electrolysis, dyeing, cold-creaming etc that girls have done to be attractive to you - the least you could do is attend to that little outcrop in your ears.

They may never enter your head but they will shoot out of it, they will be noticed and they will not score you any points. (A little nostril alertness wouldn’t go amiss either...)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Why why why squeeze toothpaste from the top?

This is more than observing simple quirks of practice – it is one of the classic societal rifts – separating the top squeezers, bottom squeezers (and the less often sighted, middle squeezer) brings to light indications of each group’s overall character and tendency.

The curious thing is that all members of all groups understand the physics involved at an intrinsic level, yet choose to respond in their own particular, revealing way.

No one can dispute that the tube’s contents must travel from the sealed end to the open end. And yet…

Something in the top squeezer’s mind says to perform the action near to the point the paste is dispensed and completely overlook the (undisputed) fact that that same action also pushes the majority of the contents in the wrong direction.

The bottom squeezer can only see the rational – the contents must move from the bottom to the top, he knows that the desired end product of his actions will appear (and continue to appear) therefore this is the only place to apply pressure - for him there is no other option.

The middle squeezer? Something more primal is going on here that I can’t fully comprehend – but not giving a damn is probably wrapped up in it.

A degree of not giving a damn is likely on the top squeezer’s mind as well, especially if they co-habit with a bottom squeezer. They know that the BS compulsion will restock their top-of-tube needs and their instant-gratification-with-no-thought-to-later-consequences needs are met.

What I find most telling (as a BS) is that when presenting the logical case to a TS there is no hint of desire to change their practice.

As a rational, if I am presented with a modification in behaviour that demonstrates clear advantage, I need no persuasion – the improved method is actively adopted until something better comes along.

The TS mentality betrays a broader tendency to contrarily not take on a clearly more rational behaviour for the very reason that someone has pointed it out to them. (And I’m looking at you, every single woman in the world, ever)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Burnt Toast

Why why why bother with burnt toast?

I guess it just comes down to personal values, but if I’ve burnt a piece of toast so badly that, to approach an edible state, I have to scrape off layers of blackened ash, it’d have to the last piece and I’d have to be desperate.

Just, you know, make another piece. (You can be sure it won’t take as long as it took to burn the first piece...)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

3 Choices with Steam Rice

Why why why do we tolerate paying more for "2 choices with steam rice"?
When you're making your selection from the bain-marie bounty, you're not buying a service - you're buying a product.
OK - there is a tiny amount of extra work involved in slopping out the 2nd or 3rd option (situated centimetres away) but never-the-less, what you are really paying for is quantity - and you ain't getting any more of that just because there's 3 different flavours. 
Sure, in an a la carte situation, this practice is valid.
But every dish forming its tantalising skin in front of you was prepared in advance - there's been no special preparation required and so no reason to justify charging up to 50% more for exactly the same amount of food.
Is this being all hard on those poor, struggling mall caterers trying to make an honest buck? 
Clearly, I think not. 
And the first establishment that promotes as many variations as you want to squeeze into one container for the one price - is going to be popular.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Elevator pitch

Why why why try to enter an elevator before letting others exit?
You know, one sees - daily - instances of actions performed that suggest that those performing them are doing so for the very first time in their lives.
What else could explain the complete ignorance (utter lack of consideration?) of the consequences of something so fundamental as... trying to get on to an elevator at the same time as others are attempting to get off? (Say...)
Time and time and time again, I'll be the position of egressor (is that a word?) - the one getting off - and someone else  waiting on that floor to get on... WILL NOT WAIT until I complete my obviously intended manoeuvre. 
They'd rather barge in, against the current as it were, then - here's the niggly part - then react as if the resultant clash has never occurred anytime previously in their entire existence. 
Ha? Wha? 
There's no answer, I know - but it doesn't stop me wondering how the HELL they can't see that simply allowing those who wish to, the space to get off, THEN stepping in - unimpeded - is the way to go.
And yet - despite the fact that that clash MUST have happened to them in the past - the practice persists.
Sigh - there is no rest for the rational.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Toilet Paper - the wrong way

Why why why put toilet paper on its holder the wrong way?

There’s a wrong way? Oh, yes.

Installing the roll with the flow towards the wall (under) is just plain inefficient - it’s harder to reach the end and trickier to tear when you do. 

Have you ever walked into a hotel bathroom and seen it that way? No.

(And you know what group commits this malpractice the most often? Well, you'll see this entry has a 'Sexism' tag)
(You know what else? If I find it 'wrong' - I make it right - that's how strongly I feel about it)

Away from the wall (over) makes all the sense. End of story.

(But stay tuned for the toilet seat myth - it's a doozy)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Women and jumpers

Why why why do women remove their jumpers inside-out?

I’m not going to generalise and say all women do it all the time (you can’t really generalise about anything), I’m just saying it’s definitely frequent enough to warrant comment...

For me, though, it typifies a 'general frequency' of the female reluctance to adopt a practise - EVEN THOUGH THEY KNOW IT IS SUPERIOR - (there's trouble, right there...)

See, if you take jumpers off right-way-out to begin with, you don’t have to revert them - every... single... time. 

The funny thing is, once you figure out how to do that (not difficult in itself) - I think it's actually easier than doing it, well, 'wrong'.

How is it done? Simple! Don’t pull from the bottom - grip the top by the collar and when you’ve got that bit past your head, remove from arms by grabbing the cuffs. Voila!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kitchen Cupboards

Why why why place cups and glasses upside down in your kitchen cupboard?

I'll bet everyone who does this is pretty sure there's a rational reason for this practise - but will have difficulty convincingly verbalising it.

(Don't I sound cantankerous?)

But why shouldn't you? You may ask...

Well, consider - there would not be a kitchen in the world that does not have little unhygienic beasties skittering about in the cupboards. Show me an Aussie kitchen without cockies.

And dust. No matter how thorough you are, there is a fresh (or stale) film building even moments after you last wiped.

OK - so that's the state of the surfaces in your cupboards.

Which brings us back to our upended cups etc. The rims of which now resting on the distinctly undesirable residue.

And what is the part of the cup that we press to our lips as we take a drink?

Personally, I'm glad my drinking edge has been up out of reach of the nasties.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Undercover Umbrellas

Why why why keep an umbrella up where it isn’t raining?

If you’re walking ‘round town and it’s bucketing down, you’ll naturally find the most congested areas are under shop awnings. This, obviously, is because rain does not fall there

Yet, despite this, there is always a contingent that persist in barging through the crowds, brollies aloft at full spread.

Apart from just looking silly, this is a display of supreme ignorance and/or carelessness as to the physical well-being of their fellow pedestrians when they present a circle of spikes at a dangerous coincidence to eye height (mine in particular). 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dishwashing suds

Why why why is the power of a dishwashing detergent measured by its suds?

Contrary to popular opinion, suds in no way contribute to cleaning power. It's all in how much detergent you use. Here's a radical behaviour shift - try putting it in your water after filling the sink... Who does that? Nobody, right? But I assure you, it’s just as effective at shifting grease

...and you don’t get all that bloody froth.

Potato peelings

Why why why peel potatoes into the sink?

I assume you’re just going to fish the bloody peelings out again...

This is one of those never-rationalised things adults did when you were a kid and, well, you just end up doing it too. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Freezer compartments

Why why why do so many refrigerators have the freezer compartment at the top?

The natural tendency of coldest air is to move downwards, so you’d think that’d be the place for the coldest section of the fridge (like in supermarkets).

But, apart from that, one goes to the freezer a lot less frequently than the main ‘regular chill’ section.

So why curse yourself to a life of constant bending down?

Hah? Why? 

Why "Why? Why? Why?"?

Most people do weird stuff that defies rational explanation.

They also mostly don’t know and/or don’t care.

My curse is: I know they do it and I do care...

And I want to say how they should be doing it.

But what is there to gain from picking faults with the behaviour of society at large and offering ways to set it straight?

In those few life-threatening instances I mention herein, something worthwhile. But mostly, not much.

Nonsense is common and who really wants to change?

It’s pointless and that, really, is the point.