Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pet Peeves

So, on occasion, I have out of the blue, unprompted, tangential conversations (usually via text) with a certain individual about pet peeves. We like to share, as it's nice to know you're not the only soul who finds life's minutia an occasional exasperating pain in the ass.  Tonight, I experienced two that I thought I'd share with the world wide web.  And what are these pet peeves you may be (probably not) asking yourselves? Smoke alarms and Redbox video rental kiosks.  Let me explain...

Smoke alarms are nothing but a governmental, big brother, nanny state, pointless feel good law mandated requirement for American homes.  They are an utter nuisance and a colossal headache inducing torture device.  They should all be ripped out of our homes, and in a flurry of brilliant irony, set aflame and allowed to smolder and we dance naked Druid style in the shadows cast by their flickering combustion (I'm imagining this happening somewhere near the Salisbury Plain, at night, during the summer solstice.  It just seems ..right).  "But John!  Smoke alarms save lives!  How can you say that???"  Smoke alarms save lives?  Really?  Do they?  You know, in my four decades (plus) of life, I've met a lot of people.   Easily in the thousands.  And in all the information sharing,  the exchanging of stories, and basic knowledge swap you (the proverbial "you" by the way, not necessarily "you" the current reader, although unless you're a hermit who lives in a seaside cave ((OK, any cave)), "you" too ((reader "you" that try and follow along)) are probably familiar with this sort of encounter) normally engage in typical human interaction, you learn a few things.  One of the things you learn is most human beings have a multitude of common experiences.   Love and loss, winning and losing, yin and yang, the alpha and the omega, the peanut butter and the jelly, the mangled tape cassette in your in-dash car stereo (like I said, I'm 40+), repeatedly stopping your car and throwing up on the sidewalk of a major metropolitan coastal city as you try and make the hours long drive back home only to be trapped in a traffic jam on a suspension bridge wondering if life could suck any worse (What?  Just me?), etc., etc., etc.  Human beings are ultimately not all that different in most respects, and we can relate to a great many shared experiences. Want to know what is one experience not one single person I have ever met  EVER, has experienced?  Having their lives saved by a smoke alarm. NOT ONE.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Want to know what IS the common smoke alarm experience most human beings experience?  The low battery  ear piercing chirp they emit when the battery needs to be replaced. This, for reasons that are not clear, always seems to happen at three in the morning on a Tuesday before an especially stressful meeting is scheduled for work at 8am, sharp.  The really awesome thing about this is, you can go all caveman and rip the goddamn thing right out of the ceiling, eat the now depleted battery, and back repeatedly over the smoke alarm with your car, and it will not stop chirping.  It's as if it's powered by the will of Satan, and his evil wishes WILL NOT BE DENIED.  Now, I know what you're thinking: "Hey, just replace the battery".  Right.  Generally what happens in this scenario is this: you go to the "junk drawer" (every American house has one.  It's usually filled with mismatched screws, a book of matches with one match left, a flathead screwdriver, rubber bands, expired coupons, a Chinese take out menu, a random Tic-Tac or two, .13 cents in change, and an eleven year old stick of spearmint gum.  It also has batteries in it) and look for a battery.  You'll have a plethora of AA, AAA, a couple of "C" cells, and a miniature watch battery to a watch you no longer own.  But, no, I repeat, NO, 9v.  So, you think to yourself, "Hey, you know what?  I JUST replaced that 9v battery in the (fill in electronic device of choice here), and it's practically new. I'll just swap that into the smoke alarm until I can get a new one." Ha ha ha!  You poor, delusional, pathetic fool!  That battery is no longer fresh!  It's .006573 percent depleted!  A smoke alarm would not accept that filthy, used, whorish battery!  It has another device's stink all over it!!!!  Your smoke alarm MUST have a VIRGIN battery for it to cease its migraine inducing, Voldemort (hey, he's a dark lord too) induced shriek.  Oh, and god forbid the battery in question is not the smoke alarm manufacturer's suggested battery.  You might as well expect it to run on hopes and dreams.  Anyways, now you're at a crossroads. You either have to throw on those dirty clothes on the floor next to your bed and schlep your ass down to the 24hr market at 3am to buy a new battery, or, check into a hotel for the evening.  Thing is, this is a toss-up, as the price of a two pack (the powers that be have determined we're not allowed to buy just one) of 9v batteries at a 24hr. supermarket rival the price of a one night stay at The Four Seasons.  So, you'll have some deciding to do. 

Anywhoo, my point is this: a smoke alarm is nothing more than the lobbyists of the battery producers of America convincing our legislators (via a steady stream of cash, liquor, Rolexes and know...the good, solid, logic induced reasoning lobbyists are known to provide) that the American home doesn't have a high enough demand for an outdated source of temporary power, and gosh darn it, we just can't have that (unless of course, you're not interested in hookers and Rolexes).  

Moving on...another thing that annoys the hell out of me...

Redbox video kiosks.  

"What? You mean you have a problem with a service that only charges $1 for a video rental?  Are you kidding me?  What the hell is wrong with you???"  No.  I am not kidding, and the only thing wrong with me is my clarity of understanding.  They are the ultimate bait and switch. They CLAIM to only cost $1, but I've never had a Redbox video rental that cost me less than $37.50.  Why?  Because who in the hell watches a movie, and then immediately (less than 24hrs is immediate in my book) races back to the kiosk to return it?  NOBODY.  That's who.  Generally, these movies are rented on a Saturday night when the family is going to hang out, share a pizza, and watch the latest Iron Man movie (Iron Man seems a good example.  Another would be Argo, or, if dad gets his way, anything with Jason Statham).  So, what happens?  You eat the pizza, you watch the flick, and you go to bed.  Then Sunday rolls around.  This is YOUR day to rest.  You work tomorrow, so who in the hell wants to leave the house?  Leaving the house means you have to shower, miss football games, brush your teeth, and maybe even talk to somebody beyond your door.  Ain't gonna happen, baby.  It's Sunday.  We're going to watch football, drink coffee, and maybe eventually shower...maybe.  But I'll tell you this, we sure as hell ARE NOT going to make a special trip that consumes three dollars worth of gas just to return a $1 movie.  Eff that noise.  I'm on the sofa, and Argo (sorry lost on the decision via majority rules) is just going to have to sit on the coffee table.  No worries.  I'll just return in Monday.  No big deal.  Well, it IS a big deal because it's Monday, you're late, and you'll go flying out the door with no time to go to the Redbox kiosk.  Welllll.....Tuesday then.  Nope.  Not Tuesday either, as your car has to be smogged (the registration is already overdue), and you'll completely forget.  Wednesday?  Nope.  It's your child's birthday, and you'll have your already crowded mind solely focused on remembering to get a birthday card.  Thursday?  Maybe Thursday.  By Thursday, you'll actually remember to put the DVD in your car, but then it will slip into the crack between the seat and center console and you'll forget about it...and it will become your silent and forgotten travel companion for the next week and a half.  Then, one day, as you can't find your wallet and are frantically searching for it in your car, you'll run across the DVD, say, "Holy overdue is this thing????" and then, and only then, actually return a cost of the afore mentioned $37.50.  And the thing is, Redbox KNOWS this, and are (literally) BANKING ON IT.  And they will Hoover our bank accounts over and over again, so much so that you'd be financially better off if you simply produced the actual movie yourself, and were given a free copy of it at the cast party.  

So what's, ultimately, my point?  Nothing really...other than the obvious conclusion that we're nothing but self winding automatons that exist to consume and fork over our hard earned capital to our corporate overlords.  And you know what?  It's time for the revolution!  I'm as mad as hell, and I don't have to take this anymore!  It's time we stood up and...wait. Is that the latest Star Trek movie at Redbox?  And it's only a buck? Sounds great!  I'll order the pizza...    

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