Saturday, June 23, 2012

A revolving rant

Monsoon season is in full swing here. That means rain and lots of it. I saw a few people on bikes out in it today, and they didn't look like they were having any fun at all.

The building I'm working in has a revolving door flanked by two ordinary doors, each of which is clearly marked "Please use revolving door" or words to that effect. Yet most people use the ordinary doors. The signage is large, clear, and placed to be easily seen. I think I finally figured it out last week.

It is a straight line from the doors to the electronic gate we have to wave our card key at to get in. This straight line is of course where people stop to chat. I had expected that. What I hadn't expected is that there are at least several people working in the building who can't cope with the revolving door, and still try to use it.

It goes like this. I was following someone out of the building. They went into the revolving door behind someone else. This door is not motorized, and therefore does not revolve on it's own. It stopped with that someone trapped. They stared blankly at the door for a few seconds, and then tried to get back out the way they got in. Think about that for a  second or two. I gently nudged the door up agains their butt, and pushed it and them along.

Another adventure in the door happened when someone slipped into the door, and rather than push it around, decided this was a good time to check their phone messages. Or maybe they were texting a friend that they were finally coming outside. I'll never know. I was tempted to revolve the door with extreme prejudice, but I restrained myself.

A couple weeks ago I was watching an adult trying to get on an escalator for what I believe to be the first time. They stood, stationary, at the top of the escalator, waving one foot at the moving stairs, as other people brushed past them, demonstrating the trick of it. I brushed on past myself. They had a baffled expression on their face. I have no idea how long they were there; my lunch time can be almost any length of time I want it to be, but it isn't long enough to watch an adult try to learn what most kids here learn by the time they are about 3.

Back into my building again. There are 4 elevators all in a row. There is a quiet chime, and an arrow sign that lights up to tell us an elevator has arrived going in the direction we have requested. In the normal world people start moving toward that elevator, and wait for people to get off. Several times now I've watched a group of people stand there and watch it arrive. There is a bit of a complicated dance that happens around elevators. People have to decide who gets in first. Sometimes this appears to be difficult. One guy walked in first, and only then apparently remembered his manners. He stood in the door, holding it open, gesturing people to go in. Past his fat and sweaty body. It's probably the closest he ever gets to the opposite sex.

That last one reminded me of the time a guy got fascinated with the elevator TV. Which, mercifully enough, my current building does not have. He was so fascinated that when the door opened on the ground floor, he stood in the doorway, mouth agape, looking almost straight up to watch the end of the segment. I was tempted to push him into next week, or the opposite bank of elevators, whichever happened first.

Such people are the surest proof of guardian angels that I know of. I do not understand how people who fail to cope with such benign technologies as revolving doors and elevators can manage much more dangerous items, such as kitchen knives, crosswalk signals, or the clear glass railings that are in vogue now.

North American cities are just about the safest places that have ever existed for humans to live. There are no predators ready to pounce and drag us off to be eaten. Aside from a few idiots who do not immunize their children, most disease is under control. There are people, at least there are this week, the Harper government is likely to fire them next week, that are paid to ensure our food is safe to eat, that the elevator will come down at a controlled rate of speed, that the crosswalk lights are synchronized to the traffic lights, that buildings and almost every other manufactured item are made in accordance with established safety standards. Unless it's from China, where who knows what's in that paint, or powdered milk. In the unlikely event that something bad happens to you, there are teams of highly trained people waiting to spring into action using specialized tools to rescue you and take you to a place where you can be treated and recover. Unless you are so unfortunate to catch a disease created by the cousins of those anti-immunization idiots.

The biggest dangers we face are not the various parts of the world around us, it's our responses to the world. Eating too much crappy food. Not getting enough exercise. Doing stupid things like inhaling carcinogens or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of narcotics. These are stupid things to do that happen to be under our control.

The problem is that stupidity used to be a capital crime. Until recently, the world had numberless ways of killing or maiming those who were stupid, those who weren't paying attention, or those who were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It sounds callous, but there is a reason, a great many reasons why the phrase, "think of it as evolution in action" got to be popular.

Now many people wander around in a fog, narcotized by the television telling them they are special and deserve the good life whether they do or not. They don't really understand the world around them, but trust that nothing bad will happen to them no matter what. Then when it does because they defeated the safety interlock on the power tool, or removed the guard protecting them from moving parts, or tried parkour without training, or crawled under a car held up only by a flimsy jack, or any of a multitude of stupid things, they snivel that it's not their fault. Then they find a lawyer who takes some company to court. Which makes the products even more expensive.

One of the phrases I hear a lot lately that raises my blood pressure is, "we don't want this to ever happen to anyone else," or close variations of it. As if this is the only time in the whole history of mankind this has happened to someone, and it's so bad that it can't ever be allowed to happen again. It's a narcissistic view of the world. One that says we're only doing this for other people, and the huge sum of money if we win has nothing to do with it. Or that we're such good people how can anything so bad have happened to us and it must be someone else's fault. Or it's a tool to get their 15 minutes of fame they think they deserve.

As you might guess, most humans don't much impress me one way or the other. They do their thing, I do mine, and the world keeps spinning. Then there the ones I mentioned earlier. The ones in court suing someone because they got hurt doing something stupid. The ones who can't manage their lives in the society that makes it the easiest that it's ever been to do so. The ones who make no effort to understand the rules our society is based on, and even worse, who denigrate the people who DO understand and apply the rules to create say, the iPhone. The ones who ski out of bounds, without telling anyone where they are going, without taking suitable clothing, food, and emergency supplies, and then wonder why one of them dies. Last I heard they were suing some organization for not telling them there might be an avalanche, and for not finding them sooner. Life is too good for such people.

I feel much better now. Some photos, just because.

When its cloudy the skies can be very dramatic. This was last week. Even though this is tweaked slightly, it's still not as bright as when I first saw it. By the time I got the phone the light had changed.

We are such good servants. The cats sent us on an errand.

Here is the result of the errand.


  1. My husband has plans for a "stupid person" bomb. It's yet to enter the testing stage.

    I've seen all kinds of stupid people recalls since becoming a parent. Like one for the bumbo (it's this little seat that helps babies sit up). There was a recall, basically so they could put a sticker on it saying it shouldn't be used on counters and tables and such...

    I don't understand why revolving doors are so complicated, but for some reason you see issues like that any place there are revolving doors.

  2. A stupid person bomb. What a great idea! I know of lots of subjects to test it on. (Don't get me started.) Since I posted that I saw a video of someone failing an automatic sliding door. That took talent...

  3. I love love revolving doors! I usually skip through them while giggling to myself and sometimes go around twice. I believe revolving doors are put there to remind us of the child we still have inside, if we are willing to look. many do not share my joy ha ha.

    If you haven't watched the Jeff Foxworthy skit about "here's your sign..." you should. It relates to the second part of your rant. :)

  4. I've never thought of going around twice. Maybe today. Giggling. Maybe I'll video it. At lunchtime. I think I've seen that Foxworthy clip, but will have to check it out.


Looking forward to reading your comment!