What Annoys Jeff this Week?

​1. The “to read” pile. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve always had a problem with acquiring books. For most of my adult life it’s been manageable largely because I moved every couple of years and shipping large boxes of books gets expensive. I had an incentive to purge the shelves from time to time. After settling in at Fortress Jeff, though, moving every three years didn’t become much of a threat. What we have now is a collection of books that I want to read, but just haven’t gotten around to yet. The shelf I bought to store this unread library is already filled to capacity and spilling out across the floor. It’s a hot mess. I read an article recently that argued your “to read” pile should always be larger than the collection you’ve already read because it reflects your goals as well as you’ve accomplished… but I’m fairly sure they were thinking about books that teach you things and not a shelf filled with detective novels you’re going to get to at some point. If I were slightly less compulsive about displaying books-as-conquests I could probably have convinced myself to get a library card or fully embrace e-books. Now with no physical check on how many is too many, I fully expect the pile to get worse long before it gets better. I need to either make more time or learn to read faster.

2. Geography. I got a notice that something I ordered online has shipped and was expected on time for delivery. I was apoplectic to see that it was scheduled for delivery “tomorrow” but was sitting quietly in New Jersey. It turns out that even after being here for more than seven years it’s hard to remember that this part of Maryland is about 25 feet from New Jersey and items might not take a week to get here from there.

3. Facial recognition. Monday afternoon I was having trouble getting my phone to unlock with facial recognition. Having to manually enter a six digit password is so 2000-and-something. It was annoying. In displaying my annoyance to the phone, I inevitable scowled at it… at which point the fucking thing immediately opened. Apparently that really is “just how I look.” Frankly, though, I’m a little surprised the infernal contraption didn’t also require me to roll my eyes.

Something doesn’t seem quite right…

I was in a position where I actually needed to go to Target today. Under most circumstances, I try to avoid that type of venue between December 1st and the middle of January, but I found myself there this morning needing an eclectic mix of groceries and sundry household goods. And with that, the stage is set…

While minding my own business and searching for the Wonder bread, it occurs to me that Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. People go to great lengths to show how jolly they are by decorating their homes and lawns, throwing parties, and exchanging $15 gifts with their coworkers. Since I’m a hopeless watcher of people, I noticed that no one around me actually seemed jolly. In fact they seemed downright miserable… jamming laden carts into one another, wading through scowling crowds to get to on section or another, scarcely keeping an eye on the kids they had in tow, unless it was to yell at them to come back.

This is the happiest time of the year and for some reason, something doesn’t seem quite right. It’s amazing what you can see when no one knows, or cares, that you’re watching.