Brooklyn Boro

Have you noticed: Observations on the oddities around us

August 14, 2023 William A. Gralnick
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An editor friend once said to me, “If you have eyes and ears, you’ll always have something to write about.” Here are some examples.

Television: Television commercials are demeaningly dumb and auto insurance commercials are the dumbest. Commercials that have animals talking like people and being displayed in people poses are maybe dumber than the insurance commercials. This one drives me nuts: the hard-fought-for law that was passed making it illegal for commercials to be louder than the show is never enforced. And I’ll bet you didn’t know there was a hard-fought-for law that mandated that the soundtracks on commercials could not be louder than the shows they are on. Here’s a look closely and you’ll see that the coffee and soda drinks actors carry that are supposed to make you think they’re full don’t because they are empty. 

 For a grand finale is this– if you change channels to get the show you want you always get a commercial.

Driving: people with pickup trucks that have tow hitches always park front in so the hitch can either damage your car or your shin or that motorcyclists on the highway drive so crazily they warrant the signs to watch out for them. Repeat after me. Grrrrrrr. Why? Because of how often people go left when they put on their right turn signal, or vice versa cutting you off in the process. In the “if you want to kill yourself that’s fine but leave me out of it category are these two. drivers on the highway will cut across two and even three lanes to get off at their intended exit instead of just going up one more exit and turning around and the fear of blowing your horn at someone on the highway who just cut you off fearing you might get shot. It’s been raining cats and dogs almost daily. Have you noticed that when you are driving in a blinding rainstorm some of the car sensors that are supposed to keep you safe stop working, Here are two more: the unfamiliarity some drivers seem to have with turn signals because they either put one on and then turn the other way, forget to turn them off for miles and miles on the highway, or…just do not use them at all and how close to your car are the cement posts holding keypads at car washes, storage lockers, and such thus greatly raising the possibility of your scraping paint off the side of your car.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Elevators: We spend a lot of time in them, mostly going to the doctor. How many times do you press the black hard numeral button instead of the one next to it that makes the elevator move? How many times do you press “G” instead of “L” because where you came from “G” meant ground floor not garage? Ever notice that your doctors are never on the same floor, so you not only have to remember where they are but what floor they are on. ‘bet you are guilty of this. I know I am– people repeatedly push the elevator call button even though everyone knows once is all that is necessary.

General Annoyances: when you’ve just had the car washed the street sprinklers are on and how often street sprinklers water cement rather than grass. Emails are like roaches, they are with us forever. Then there are the teens answering a question saying “Yeah/No/I” mean all in a row and how many television commentators and guests do the same thing sounding like they are still in college? You’re in the company of most of America when you reach a rolling boil over how many customer service reps don’t speak English well enough to service customers. Chew on this one: the fire station lights turn red and traffic has to stop even when the engine has returned and is in its driveway backing into the firehouse. How many hours a week are spent deleting emails; for me it’s about a half hour a day! You try and cut down the number by unsubscribing but the emails you request never to be sent again seem just to keep on comin’.

Puzzlements: The people who give out visitor passes at hospitals and other institutions type with one finger. It seems that the birds with the most beautiful songs are unseen because they’re always at the top of the tallest trees. People will not clean up after their dogs and look you straight in the eye while not doing it. Here’s one that drives me buggers–over time one sock disappears from the laundry but rarely does a pair disappear. This comes close: there are invariably too many wire hangers in the closet—or not enough, but never the right amount. Are you like me in over-sleeping some mornings because you haven’t remembered that you have an equal chance of hitting the off button on the alarm clock as you do the snooze button?

Aging: When someone asks you how you feel, they don’t really want the answer but the older you get when someone asks you how you feel, the more you want to tell them—from your top to bottom. How is it possible for so many things so far apart on your body to hurt all at the same time? That bending over is a lot easier than getting back to the upright position. You’ve transitioned from writing yourself notes to forgetting what the notes mean when of course you can find them. Fifty mph now seems plenty fast enough even though no one else on the highway agrees with you. Don’t you wish that all your doctor’s offices had the same prompts so that 1 or 5 meant the same thing and thus spared you from having to listen to “our menu of options has changed” messages?

Having experienced all of the above, I’ll close by saying let humor get you through.

That’s all folks—at least for now.

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