Friday, July 28, 2006

Five things I do not understand

Do I need to keep providing an intro each week to explain this Friday Five thing? Is anyone dropping in these days who hasn't been here before? If so, hi there. Welcome. Stop by any time. Read this for the scoop on what this is about. Got it? OK then; here we go.

The topic I picked this week is a dangerous one for someone as easily agitated as I, because forcing myself to think about things that annoy or confuse me is bound to have a troublesome ripple effect. The items below are just the first ones that occurred to me when I started pondering this yesterday, but I can guarantee that in the coming days, my mind will continue to build this list (and more than likely, share the results with anyone who'll listen). Word to my real-life friends: I'm sorry.

Anyway, here we are--Five things I really just do not understand:

  1. Why people are so utterly baffled by time zones. I cannot tell you where I work, because we all know that would violate the First Commandment of Blogging. I will, however, use some vague terms and say that part of what we do is host online "sessions" of some sort* that are attended by various people across the U.S. The instructions e-mail that the session participants receive clearly lists the start time of each event, followed by a note in all-caps, boldface, bright and flashing text that says "All times are in Central Daylight Time. Please convert to your time zone as appropriate." OK, so I may be embellishing a bit with the "bright and flashing" part, but the point is that the note is quite clear. And yet, every day of my life, I take phone calls and answer e-mails from supposedly grown, functioning adults in professional business positions who seem entirely unfamiliar with the concept of time zones.

    I'm not even talking about people who aren't certain off-hand whether Mountain Time is one hour or two hours off from Central. (I do think those people should be aware of all the helpful sources out there where they could find that information without bothering me, but that is not really my point.) No, the people who make my brain hurt are the ones who don't know what time zone they themselves are in. A few weeks ago, a very confused woman called me very disturbed that she arrived at her online session at entirely the wrong time. I told her the listed start time was in Central Time and asked what time zone she was in. "Central," she said. I asked where she was calling from. "Boston," she replied. Boston. As in, the city with that great big ol' harbor where they dumped all that tea. The great big ol' harbor that eventually flows right on into the Atlantic Ocean. I am no expert in geography, but I do know that the Atlantic Ocean borders the eastern coast of pretty much the whole damn nation. You really can't get much further east than Boston unless you live on an open-seaworthy houseboat. And yet, this woman thought the Central Time zone was where she was. Seriously, I have no words. Except, yes, I do, actually. What I want to ask these people is how they've watched television promos for their entire TV-viewing life without being familiar with time zones. Sure, I suppose some of them are the highfalutin "I avoid the idiot box" types, and likely more of them have gotten spoiled by the magic and wonder of Tivo, where every show is miraculously at their command, but surely at some point in their lives, they've heard the words "Thursday at 10/9 Central" and had to figure out just what exactly that means to them. Have they really turned on the WB at 8:00 instead of 7:00 every Monday for the past 11 years expecting to get their Seventh Heaven fix and muttered, "Damn! Foiled again!"? Have they resorted to watching nothing but Law & Order and CSI on the sole grounds that one or both can be found on at least one station at all times of every day? I really need to stop thinking about this, I realize. Item one was not meant to be a post in and of itself. But really. Time zones. People, it's not that hard.

    * This is an entirely inconsequential and obscure reference in an already too lengthy rant, but does anyone else remember the episode of the UK version of Coupling where Steve thought that Jane's therapist was using the word "sessions" as a euphemism for lesbian sex? Does anyone else think of that every single time they hear the word "sessions"? No? That's just me? Yeah, I thought so.
  2. The Black Eyed Peas. Maybe I'm hopelessly out of touch and out of date here, and I should instead be feeling perplexed by The Pussycat Dolls or some other more current make-believe band, but as my cable-viewing has been pretty limited the past nine years or so, I'm not always up to speed with these sorts of things. Therefore, I'm still stuck on the Black Eyed Peas. Really, I'm all for being eclectic and individual; I'm not saying matching outfits and uniform choreography is my schtick of choice for modern music acts. But I do think (crazy as it sounds) that all members of a band should sort of look like they are in the same band. One member doing frenetic movements in the corner while another one sways side to side in the front really doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I don't think that, while watching a group perform, my first thought should be of that old Sesame Street bit--the one that challenged you to "guess which kid is doing his own thing," except in this case, the bit is modified, because in fact, every one of these kids is doing his own thing. I should point out, by the way, that my whole opinion on this matter is likely based on one Saturday Night Live musical guest spot and perhaps a single video I once happened across at a friend's house. I don't claim to be any authority, so feel free to try turning me around if you must.
  3. Why it takes people so damn long to proceed through the intersection of New Brighton Boulevard and St. Anthony Parkway. OK, I know this one is ridiculously geographically specific and means nothing to anyone but me,** but seriously, what is the problem?? Light turns green; you press the gas pedal. It really is just that simple, folks.

    ** And possibly the hundreds of other people who drive through this intersection every day of their lives, but I'm pretty sure none of them read my blog.
  4. How [insert name of nearly any disagreeable, unpleasant, dull, or frighteningly stupid person I have ever known] has a relationship and I do not. I assure you I really am not just desperate for a husband or boyfriend; if I wanted one that badly and at any cost, I would have stuck it out with any of the several men I've tried to connect with in the past several months. I'm just saying; I don't get it. And I know, I know; this particularly pompous and know-it-all rant does not exactly highlight my patience and charm, but I assure you that I really can be quite delightful at times. I can provide references if necessary; I swear.
  5. Why bubble skirts are back in style again. Or leggings under skirts and little dresses. Or, barring retro fashions and focusing just on the present, how brightly colored rubber garden clogs became acceptable footwear to sport outside of one's yard. Or why it's cool to wear your belted pants an inch below your ass. I'm going to stop now before I start enumerating every other fashion oddity I can muster, because frankly I do realize I'm starting to sound like my grandmother. She's a lovely old broad, really, but I don't take my trend cues from her.


-R- said...

What I don't get about the Black Eyed Peas is why they apparently can't so no to anything. I think they have said yes to every guest appearance they have ever been offered. You want us to sing the lamest song ever at your award show? Ok. You want us to appear on any tv show? Ok. Next up they will probably be performing on a Matlock reunion show, singing about old people solving crime. Your grandma will love it, although she will hate their clothing.

stefanie said...

Ha. Love the idea of the Peas singing about old people solving crime. That reminds me of when I lost all respect for the Violent Femmes after they did a guest spot on "Sabrina the Teenaged Witch." So wrong. So very wrong. And yet, given the inappropriate things they were saying about the teenaged girls at the all-ages show I saw at First Avenue a few years back, I guess it didn't really surprise me much.

Guinness_Girl said...

EXCELLENT Friday Five, Stefanie!
(1) OMG. There are people over the age of 12 who don't know their own time zone?
(2) Wow, I'm way out of touch - have never seen the Peas - just heard 'em!
(3) Dunno, but we have a similar intersectional problem where I live, too. Ours is exacerbated by certain people ignoring the "Wait for green" sign (which is Pennsylvania's f-ed up way of saying "no right on red") and running the light, thereby causing people driving from one direction to miss their turn at the light. Gah.
(4) You know, I used to wonder this ALL THE TIME. I may have told you this already - but I took a test on to find people who were "compatible" with me, and when the results came back, I was informed that a mere 3% of the male population is compatible with me. That explained things.

Yes, 3% of the world's men like me.

Miss Peach said...

This is fantastic. On 1--I once had someone telling me that if they were calling at noon pt, it would be 9am on the east coast. I traded ten emails explaining that they were wrong, culminating in a link to a website about time zones to prove my point. Seriously.

And on 4) I used to say things to myself like, "If [insert name here] finds someone before me, I will be shocked" and now they are ALL finding ppl. And I'm not. Really. I mean, I have some incredibly difficult, bitchy friends (who are great--really!--but just a lot to take) and they are in great relationships. I'm potentially one of the most polite and easygoing people I know. I'm not saying I'm better. I'm saying I'm a little easier to spend long stretches of time with. And I'm better at conversation, no question. So what explains the complete lack of any sort of relationship??? I'm baffled. I hear you. And I'm sorry this is the longest comment ever. Great Friday Five!

Stinkypaw said...

Really enjoy this Friday Five!
1. Really liked all the links to the different tools! Maybe you should do that at work, if those timezone awareless people get an e-mail confirmation, those links could be in there... that "sessions" thing - all you!

2. The Black Eyes Peas - they are just like the rest of them nowdays - all over the place, weird looking and loud.

3. Morons behind the wheel! that's all!

4. My dad used to say that each rag has it's bucket, so... Don't think about it too much, it used to make me so mad to see "loosers" with someone when "I" was alone, but then I started telling myself, the I was better off alone than with a "looser" like "that"...

5. Today's fashion is just as weird to explain as why in no.4!!

Great Five!

ePixie29 said...

stefanie - the time zone thing had me rollin. I used to do some telemarketing in college and that's where this would come up the most for me and so you've brought back a lot of memories, though some are not so fond.

Did you notice that pretty much the whole list can be put under the umbrella heading of Stupid Things about Peopl? So really, you're not just annoyed or confused by people in general, but you are specifically annoyed by stupid ones.

stefanie said...

GG--That 3% thing reminds me of something else the scary guy I wrote about the other day said. He told me that he figures most guys probably like about 40% of who I am. (Um, thanks. Whatever.) He, on the other hand, likes 90% of who I am. And yet, instead of being content with the fact that 90% is pretty good, he wanted to work on the 10% that was going to bother him. Yes, he really said this. Yes, this is another reason I won't be seeing him again.

Miss Peach--I'm with you. Maybe men want more drama than the lovely stable types like us can provide. Is that it?? If it's not, can we pretend that's it?

Stinkypaw--You know, I thought about maybe providing a link to a time zone converter in the message, but these people already don't read the full content of the message as it is. Stupid and lazy is my only explanation. (I have an excellent attitude for customer service, clearly.)

epixie--Good point. Guess I could have changed the title on this one if that's the direction I was going to go for all the items! Do you read Jurgen Nation? She's got a category for her posts labeled "Why I hate people." I love that.

Guinness_Girl said...

Oh. MY GOD. Stefanie, if you haven't done so already, kick this loser to the curb!

Maliavale said...

I hereby join the bubble-skirt-hating club. Horrific.

Also, this sounds fun, and I like the phrase: "an open-seaworthy houseboat." Whee!

Don't mind my spasticity. I be having some wine.

Anonymous said...

you are right on all counts. i have had all of these conversations within the last ten days or so. and sometimes other people were even involved. i don't understand how people can figure out how to rear a child (eh, more or less) and not understand about time zones.

and the black eyed peas thing is another mystery. completely. a hit song called 'my humps'? seriously??
and why choose a legume with such a shady past? is it a it a bean?

anyway, you're a great blogger. and i love the phrase 'every bucket has its rag' that another commenter left, although i have to admit i'm not sure i want to be either the bucket or the rag. c'est la vie. as it happens, i'm flying solo, so i'll make up my own analogies.

stefanie said...

GG--No worries. Done.

Malia--You may be the first person ever to write "Whee!" in my comments. I love it. :-) Oh, and I've totally drunk-commented many a time (probably even on your site). Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous--I love how you clarified that in some of these conversations you've had, "other people were even involved." I take it you talk to yourself just as often as I do? Also, thanks for the nice compliment. :-) And I agree I neither want to be a bucket or a rag. Maybe we should go with the "every pot has its lid" analogy instead?

Red said...

OMG, I LOVE to dance around and pretend I'm the Black Eyed Peas; they're such crackpots. Not one member in particular, just the whole band.

Darren said...

You know what I hate? People who can't grasp the concept of 12:00 AM vs. 12:00 PM. 12:00 AM is midnight. 12:00 PM is noon. This isn't that hard, people.

stefanie said...

Oh, I'm totally with you on that one, too, Darren. I've never understood why that's so confusing to people.

I also don't get why people can't remember that Memorial Day is in May and Labor Day is in September, but that's a whole other rant entirely (and not a very interesting one at that).