Life’s Progress Display

Why can’t real life be like downloading files where you get to see a progress display of how far it has gone, how much more to go and an estimated time it will take to get you to the promised land? I’m not talking about the big picture where you want to know how many more years left to your life. Even if you were at that age eligible to join AARP and were told that you have another 30 to 40 years yet on this planet, you’d start doing the countdown, selling all your assets and going into a deep funk. No one wants to know when it is time to check out to that big condo in the sky.

I’m talking about those of us who are members of the Patience Haters Club. In order to stay cool, calm and collected at all times, we need artificial pacifiers that help us get through the rough moments of not knowing. Like pushing the button for the elevator and not seeing an indicator that lets me know what floor it is on and being able to watch it inch the indicator light towards my floor number. Or being able to quickly determine if the elevator that stops on my floor is going up or down.

Or sitting at a stop light that seems to be out of rhythm with traffic flow as I keep looking at the cross light waiting for the damn green to switch to yellow as notice to get ready to ram my foot on the accelerator. Or sitting on the phone listening to an innocuous presentation of loud and unappealing music while waiting for the customer service person to pick up. The better companies have systems that inform you that you are third in the queue with an estimated wait of two minutes. Even if it is lying through its robotic teeth, at least you have something to hang your hat on. The wait doesn’t seem so bad knowing that you haven’t been forgotten.

I’m one to rely on expiration dates on food labels at the grocery store. I will not buy anything past an expiration date even if it is discounted. My doctor says that I can take aspirin type pills sitting in the medicine cabinet several months past expiration. Easy for him to say- he ain’t taking it.

It would probably be the best for both parties involved if they could publish expiration dates on relationships. When you start dating someone seriously, it may be a good idea for both to put in writing how long it is going to last, including the marriage. This way, it won’t come as a shock and psychological issue to deal with when it ends in break up or divorce. A progress display would be great if it could then indicate “four months into it, three months left.” And if something occurs that was not planned, it would inform you, “relationship has either crashed or frozen. Please reboot your life.”

While going to school as a kid, you constantly receive progress displays. You know how far you’ve gone and what you have left to learn. However, no one tells you the truth about what to do after you’ve finished school. That’s like getting off the elevator and not knowing where you want to go. The truth is that education is a lifetime process. The progress display never ends until you do. No expiration date printed on the label of getting schooled about life.

And so far I haven’t found a reason to join AARP. Maybe it’s because I still see that the arrow has not reached the downside yet.

Neurosis is Habit Forming

I’m the guy who has to click his car’s remote control twice when he locks the doors. The first time I hear that swish but it isn’t enough. I need to hear that noise that sounds like a car breaking wind as if it has trapped gas.

I’m also the guy who before retiring to the bedroom for the night has to check in the kitchen at least four times within five minutes to see if the stove and range knobs are all turned to the off position, the sink faucet is closed tightly, there are no dishes or silverware in the sink tub and that any dishes or silverware sitting on the sink counter have been wiped dry by a towel.

I check that the kitchen blinds are totally closed so no one can peek in to the fourth floor from at least one hundred feet away. The same goes with the drapes in the combination second bedroom and computer room. I also make sure that the front door is locked at both knobs and that the alarm is on. My cell phone must be turned off and connected for recharging if required.

I also must look in the mirror at least three times before retiring, standing sideways and ask myself if I’ve lost a little weight since the prior evening.

In other words- I’m nuts. I have a need to make sure everything is in order. But I don’t trust myself nor the forces of evil that wish to harm me or ruin my karma, depending on the given night.

Truthfully, it’s not just a nighttime thing. I check email at least twenty times a day because I just have to know if and when someone wants to tell me something as quickly as possible. I also look at my web browser several points during morning and afternoon to check the Dow Jones stock average. Hey, it’s the lifeblood of the economy. And I only look at my mutual fund share value if the stock market has been up for a few days; otherwise, I don’t want to know.

I don’t like walking on the lines between each sidewalk section nor the cracks within them. I check to make sure my cellphone is still sitting on the belt clip at my waist just as I did twenty minutes earlier- a person can never be too careful, right?

Like the schizophrenic said, “I gotta be me- and me.”