Sorry! Haven't You Figured Out By Now That ____________ Doesn't Speed-Up The Process?

Subtitled: Hurry Up And Wait! Mundane Thoughts and a Doper Poll From A Rather Impatient Man.

This thread is inspired by a completely maddening occurrence I witnessed on the road a couple of Sundays ago:

As I was slowly passing by the remnants of what looked to me like a minor fender bender on a heavily traveled four lane street, I noticed 2 policemen sitting in their squad cars with their lights flashing. They weren’t filling out accident reports. They weren’t waiting for their flares to burn away. They were just sitting there. One police car was in the left lane on the southbound side of the road, the other was in the northbound lane. Apparently, they wanted every vehicle in either direction to merge into the right lane as they passed the scene of the accident. It was odd. Odd and inconvenient. The vehicles that were involved had already been removed from the scene (whether they were towed or were able to drive away on their own is anyone’s guess). Yet these two cops were quite content to sit there and watch four pounds of shit try and squeeze into a two pound bag. There were no chalk marks on the asphalt. No one was doing any investigational work with a measuring wheel. There weren’t any strewn automotive (or human) body parts in view. I didn’t even see any blood or radiator fluid for that matter. Just a whole bunch of traffic, and what appeared to be bits of shatter-resistant glass on the median between the two policemen’s cars.

Fast-forward three hours: What do you know? I’m on the same road, passing the same spot (going northbound this time) and what do I see? The same congestion. The same two policemen in the same two squad cars. The same number of glass shards.

I was moving. I had just finished my errands. But back at that accident scene it appeared the laws of physics had been turned on their head - somehow time had been frozen. My first cynical instinct was the cops decided to take a 180 minute break from work; mainly due to the fact there was a Dunkin Donut shop about 100 yards from where they were blocking traffic.

Ten minutes later, as I once again squeezed by the clusterfuck caused by the long-since cleared accident, I finally realized why those cops were sitting there:

They were preventing motorists from driving over the glass.

Here I am, once again squeezing by in the right lane and all the while I had a feeling of helplessness & impatience. Having now figured out that two cops were getting paid to sit there (at $40/hour each) got me aggravated. I called my friend Pete from my cell phone.

Officer Ellison

“Hey Pete, it’s me.”

What’s up?

“I have to ask you something. After a car accident, when there’s broken glass on the road, what’s the correct police procedure.”

We cordon off the area until the highway department comes to clean up, why?

"Because I just saw 2 of your fellow officers doing what you just described for over 3 hours! Just sitting on their asses doing jack squat while traffic backs up for over a mile in both directions.”

Yeah, so what’s the big deal? And by the way, they weren’t doing jack squat, they were preventing people from driving over glass

“I’m dumbfounded. That’s the deal. Besides, that glass isn’t even sharp. It’s like little pieces of Pez."

I still don’t see what your problem is. Get over it, you were inconvenienced for a few minutes. And you know as well as I do it was a policeman’s salary that kept food on your mother’s dinner table

"You know, a couple of years ago, before my father retired from the force, he always said it was the police department’s first duty to get traffic moving as quickly as possible at any accident scene. Why can’t you guys just keep one of those broom and dustpan sets janitors use in the trunk and sweep up after an accident?”

Are you nuts? That’s highway’s responsibility. Do you suggest we keep a bag speedy dry on hand to sop up oil and radiator fluid off the road too?

“Yeah. I do. If it speeds up the process. Besides, it’s Sunday. Highway crews don’t work on Sundays. This is a totally asinine policy.”

It’s called overtime. Get outta the private sector and you’ll learn all about it

“Fuck off. I’ve heard it before. You guys get paid for the security you provide, not the amount of work that you do. Blah-blah-blah. Now I know exactly what mayors mean when they start calling for productivity give backs from the municipal & civil service unions. As far as I’m concerned, the whole lot of you can go choke on my big 10-4. I’ll talk to ya later.”

OK. Be good. And if you see your Dad, tell him I said ‘hello’.

As I closed the flap on my Nextel, I was completely miffed. Hundred of drivers were being unnecessarily inconvenienced and no one could do a thing about it. A few people were waving their arms. Several rolled their eyes. One or two beeped their horns – but that was it. Each and every motorist that drove by that scene from 2PM until at least 5:30 was being delayed and every one of them, including me, was completely unable to remedy the situation.

When I got home, the first thing I did was put a whisk broom and dust pan in my trunk. I made a vow to myself that I’ll never remove it until the day I sell my car. I’ll be damned if I’m ever forced to feel as helpless as I was that day. In fact, if I had my broom and pan with me earlier that day: I would’ve pulled over, walked up between those two squad cars and swept up the glass myself. I would’ve shooed the cops away and told them to go do something important; like enforce the sealt belt laws, the smoking ban or the hands-free cell phone regulations. Whether I would’ve gotten a baton crack upside the head is anyone’s guess.

Ok. I blabbed on for far too long already. Now on to the topic of this thread - A poll of sorts: Have you, or someone else you’ve noticed, ever done something irrational, nonsensical or irrational in a vain attempt to speed up the process?

I have. The first two that come to mind are something I’m occasionally guilty of and witness all too often. Oddly enough, both have to do with pushing buttons. Go figure.

  1. The “Already Lit” Elevator Button.
    God, do I hate elevators. I hate them more than I hate escalators. If I see a stairway, even if I have to go up 20 floors, I’ll opt for it. On those occasions where a staircase door is locked or I’m required to go over my ‘300 steps limit’ and I’m forced into taking an elevator - I hate waiting for it. Even when I can clearly see the illuminated ‘Up Button’ on the ground floor has been pushed by someone else waiting for a ride up, it’s very difficult to control the urge to push that damn button again. Common sense tells me repressing a button isn’t going to make the elevator move more quickly – but on more times than I care to admit - I can’t control myself and need to hit it just one more time.

  2. The Pedestrian ‘Push to Cross Street / Walk Signal’ Button
    Alright, I admit I’ve pushed more than a couple pedestrian buttons in my day, but I’m fairly convinced none I’ve ever come across even operate. I think they’re installed by municipalities to give people something to do while waiting to cross the street safely and aren’t even wired to the signal controls. I gave up trying them a few years ago and have now reverted to dodging traffic.

So tell me – No tell the world: What little things do you do (or have witnessed other impatient souls doing) in a fruitless attempt to ‘crank it up a notch’. I’m sure there are many others that aren’t coming to mind at the moment…a good number of which I’m probably guilty of as well.

Come on. Hurry up with those responses. I don’t have all day here!

Personally, I just run down people with my car. Gets 'em outta my way in a flash! I just don’t have time for those clueless folks in my way. Stop trying to cross the road in front of me, fools. I also push check-writing idiots out of my way at the store. God, why do checkbooks even exist?!


Arguing. Far too many of my users think that badgering me will get their problem solved faster. Whether it’s on the phone or by email, it doesn’t help. If any of my users are reading this - here’s a clue - the more you argue with me, the farther back in my queue your request will be pushed. Really annoy me, and I’ll go poke around SDMB for an hour or two before looking at your request again.

My wife will turn the thermostat up to 90, the theory being that the house will get warmer quicker. I couldn’t get through to her until I started talking about energy consumption, which seems to have curbed this habit. A fintube will only radiate a certain amount of heat, for cripes sake.

Same with stove burners, a habit I have not been able to break her of.

Waggling my finger under the tap while the water heats up. (Okay, okay, while the cool water washes down the drain and is replaced by hot water from the water heater.) I know this doesn’t make the water get hot. But I do it anyway.

Waggling my fingers at red lights and saying “now!” when I think it ought to change. Alternately, slowly counting backward from a random number, expecting the light to change when I reach zero.

Great banter in your story! Wow! Extremely enjoyable reading. Thank you! :smiley:
And the above quote…I will now end up laughing out loud if I seem someone re-press the already lit button of an elevator! :smiley:

BTW, JohnBckWLD, I have this quote from you saved in a document file…“Me thinks the call towards the impure side was answered, culminating in a round of dirty touching that caused reverberations felt on the other side of the world.”



** Have you, or someone else you’ve noticed, ever done something irrational, nonsensical or irrational in a vain attempt to speed up the process?**

Back when I used to watch the weather reports on TV, I’d yell all manner of curses at the weatherman whenever he started yammering on about birdwatching, or a bake sale at the local Eastern Orthodox Church, or the frigging space shuttle – basically, anything but the weather.

Once I could get weather info from the Internet at any hour, my blood pressure dropped dramatically. :smiley:

I do so enjoy the people at doctor’s offices I’ve worked at that, after 10 or 15 minutes of waiting, will poke their head out the door and say, “Have you forgotten about me?” Uh, no… we’re well aware of what’s going on in the office.
“How much longer will the doctor be?” It’s impossible for me to guess how long he’ll be in with each patient. Not too long. “I have another appointment/to get back to work/to pick up my kids.” I know that to some people, a 10-15 minute is a real inconveniece. I don’t like to wait very much when *I go to the doctor, but I will generally give it a good 45 minutes or so before I start getting irritated.

To complain to the nurse is just plain worthless, they have no control over how fast you get seen. What I’m gonna do, knock on the door of the room he’s in with another patient, and tell him that you request to be seen NOW???

So, John, which road was it? Before I saw you mention the number of lanes I thought you were referring to Sunrise - I hate that bloody road.

Well, that coupled with the fact that Sunrise doesn’t run north/south. :smack:

At red lights, I always go “OK, that’s long enough… ready… change… NOW! Nope, OK, how about… NOW! No?” I must say that’s not only irrational, but also nonsensical, and what’s more, it’s irrational. You shouldn’t look at the clock when the bell’s going to ring in 10 seconds, but you can’t help it. I do the pedestrian button thing too.

You are the first in a crowd to walk up to a cross-walk. You push the “push to walk” button to signal the light to change. You look around to see how many other people will then follow suit and push the button over and over again on a long light. There are times on really long lights you are tempted to push the damn thing again and again thinking the first time didn’t work.

I hate that.

My first boss used to stand beside the laser printer and try to pull the pages out of the machine in a effort to make it print faster. Suprisingly enough it didn’t work and my mentioning it wasn’t appreciated. (hey, it was my first job, I didn’t know enough to keep my mouth shut)

I saw this the other day; father tells (4yo) son to press the button, son presses the button, father says “press it again, keep pressing it, like this” (taps rapidly on the button), lights change (because it was time for them to change anyway), father puffs up chest and says 'See?". I knocked him to the ground and performed an emergency castration on him right there in the street.

The other one I see a lot of is people flashing their headlights at temporary traffic signals at night time (set up at roadworks), under the mistaken assumption that the doppler sensor on the top of the unit can see their lights.
I knew a guy who swore blind that this worked and would reach across and flash my lights for me when I was driving - if the lights happened to change soon after, he would say “'See? I told you”, if they didn’t change he would say “fucking thing must be broken”.

I have to admit I’m a button pusher.

I’ll push an already-lit elevator or crosswalk button, and will even push it again if I have to wait longer than I think I should have to.

I also like to push the heater buttons in the car to make it warm up faster. My new car has “climate control” where you just set the temp and the car will make the appropriate adjustments. My husband threatened to install a “dummy” button pad because I couldn’t stand to not push the buttons to make it warm up faster. :rolleyes:

The crosswalk buttons aren’t designed to make the light change faster. What they do is make the cycle last longer so pedestrians have enough time to cross the street. Without the pedestrian button, the light may cycle through to quickly for the pedestrian to safely cross.

source page
Because of the lack of feedback you complain about many pedestrians opt to not press the button. Traffic engineers are now working on “automatic” pedestrian to get around this.

The stupid thing I do to make things hurry up? I repeatedly raise and drop my mouse to make the server hurry up. Annoys my coworkers immensely. :slight_smile:

But couldn’t they just wait longer to bring the patient in from the waiting room? Most people would rather wait there than alone in a doctor’s office.

I have a bad habit of moving my hand around in a circle (as if to be reeling in a fishing line) when I get impatient. I do this with everything from waiting for slow web pages to load to trying to get the driver ahead of me to go if the light has changed to green and they have not yet moved. Failing that, I tap the car horn. At least in this case I have some degree of control.

I also have a habit of repeatedly clicking on links to pages that don’t load quickly/

Reminds me of what my brother did with the C64 version of Lords of Conquest. He’d repeatedly press the joystick button to get the computer to hurry up with its turn.