Biggest Time Wasters of All Time.

24 02 2012

I wandered into my closet this morning in a sleepy haze. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I did a double-take as I gazed at my husband’s side of the closet:

It was tidier than mine. Stacks of crisply folded shirts were laid in neat rows, while every shirt was impeccably hung and facing the same direction.

I quickly glanced out the window to make sure pigs weren’t fluttering by,  nor asteroids falling from the heavens and signaling that the Apocalypse had indeed started. Then the realization hit me: my husband’s on break right now from his graduate school. He truly is that bored–bored enough to organize his closet while I’m at work all day.

As I gazed at his perfect stacks of clothes, I was reminded of how short-lived this burst of organization will be. You see, I’ve neatly folded his immense stacks of pants and shirts multiple times over the last few years we’ve been married. Once, in a regretful bout of energetic OCD, I even decided to organize his clothes in a color-coded pattern.

Guess how long that lasted? Yeah, about a week.

This naturally led me to ponder an interesting question: what things do we do on a regular basis that are actually a ridiculous waste of time?

I can think of several, right off the bat:

#1. Folding underwear.

Come on–no one will see creases in your undies. You’re probably the only one who really opens that drawer, anyway. Other than the occasional burglar who systematically checks under your mattress, in your jewelry box, and in your underwear drawer for valuables. Incidentally, I’ve come up with the absolute best hiding spot in the house for hiding my valuables. Not that I want to invite trouble, but I’d be happy to let a thief poke around and leave my place perplexed and penniless.

#2. Reasoning with the blitzed friends of your regularly too-intoxicated-to-walk neighbors.

Why do we attempt to reason with people who stumble down our apartment steps with only one shoe on, and try to talk them out of urinating from the second story onto the public walkway below? People who can’t even recite the alphabet or touch their fingers to their nose steadily simply won’t listen to our best arguments, as stellar as they may be. As the saying goes, “Don’t throw pearls to pigs”.

#3. Saving and organizing old magazines.

I’m sure most people I know commonly refer back to the 1984 issue of National Geographic on a regular basis, and are justified in holding onto old magazines. Interestingly, old magazines are the most frequently sighted and oft-ignored item at the local Goodwill Outlet I frequent. However, if you want to end up on an episode of Hoarders and have the entire cable world sigh in disgust at your filthy home, collecting magazines is probably a good way to start.

#4. Planning weddings on Pinterest.

I hate to break it to you, all of my single friends–wedding planning is actually pretty awful. The only truly enjoyable part is cake-tasting–and that’s paramount to getting your ear iced before you get a needle jabbed through (yeah, it pretty much feels exactly like getting a painful piercing when you realize how much you’ll be paying per slice for your “dream cake”). All those perfect pictures, gowns, and decorations you see online are beyond your budget and probably unavailable to you, unless perhaps you plan on marrying a royal (act fast, that’s a small market).

#5. Filling up toothpick and Q-Tip dispensers.

Call me guilty of participating in this addicting habit, even though I’ll readily admit what a waste of time it is. All those cute little dispensers are apparently made for humans the size of dolls (who, incidentally, don’t use Q-Tips). Would you rather have 15 Q-Tips displayed nicely in a glass jar and have to refill it every 8 days, or have all 750 Q-Tips in a handy container and restock it every 3 years ? I think we both know what the obvious choice is.

#6. Listening to your automated message system announce each new message.

Is there anything more frustrating than hearing that robot voice say, “You have 9 new messages. First message, left at 10:34 A.M. on Friday, March 19. Phone number, 314.555.9874…Message end. To replay message, press 1. To skip message, press 2. To listen to the next message, press 3. To hear more options, press 4.”

Hm. “To hear more options”–like perhaps a step-by-step guide to blowing up this confounded machine? I’m dialing right now.

#7. Waiting for people to finish pulling out in front of you when you have a green light.

I’m a big proponent for allowing the top 25% of drivers to carry around a set of  blow darts in their cars, just in case they need to pop the tires of the bad driver in front of them. How much time has been wasted waiting for those people who pull out halfway in your lane, give you the doe eyes in hopes that you’ll let them go in front of you, even though you clearly have the right of way and now traffic has halted behind you because you can’t get around this bloke? Lots.  

#8. Cleaning the junk drawer.

I don’t need to explain this one, because we’ve all done it and realized how futile it is. Those “organization experts” who advise that even your junk drawer be cleaned because “everything has its place” clearly don’t have to deal with real life and the complex issues of figuring out where to store Silly Putty, spare rubber bands, and batteries that may or may not be dead.

#9. Attempting to save old ribbons.

I think my mother and grandmother are probably due for an intervention, as they are the main perpetrators of this crime. They’ll argue and point out how much money they save; I’ll tell them that I’ve been secretly wanting to put my Christmas presents in decorative bags for years and haven’t been able to do so because their perfectly wrapped, beribboned packages make me ashamed to wimp out. How can I be the one that ends the family tradition of sitting on the floor under the Christmas tree, rolling up used ribbons for hours?

#10. Surfing Facebook.

Call me hard-hearted, but I really don’t care what the kid who sat next to me in 9th grade French is eating for dinner every night, or how his vacation to Aspen was, or even what he’s doing with his life. Aren’t we supposed to save that small talk for when we bump into those people we vaguely knew in high school and we run out of things to talk about besides the weather? It seems that Facebook has suspended high school into a strange, infinitely preserved specimen that we all study every day. I’d probably delete quite a few of my Facebook friends, if I wasn’t so paranoid about someone coming after me with a shotgun someday. Hey, it’s a stressful world–you don’t want to give anyone a reason, you know?

(Hopefully, that did not give you a reason…because you’re actually my friend. Gulp.)

That’s my list of things that waste time–what’s yours?

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