I’m on vacation this month, so there won’t be a regular column. Or at least there wasn’t going to be. The questions keep coming in.
I keep losing my stuff. What do I do?
STEP 1: Check your person. (Your person is you. That’s just how people say it. I don’t think you’re expected to carry around a smaller person and go, “Hi, I’m Mordechai, and this is my person.” But if you do, you should probably check him as well.)
STEP 2: Make sure to check the same five places 68 times. Especially if it’s not a likely place for it to be. For example, if you’re looking for your car keys, make sure to keep checking the fridge.
STEP 3: Call for the item. Continuously say things like, “I can’t believe this! Where is it?” Like the item is finally going to break down and tell you.
STEP 4: Calm Down. Whenever I lose something, my wife ends up finding it, and whenever my wife loses something, I end up finding it. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking we should stop hiding each others’ stuff. But it really has more to do with panicking.
STEP 5: Buy a new one. As soon as you open the package, the old one will turn up. Guaranteed. For example, if you lose your car in a parking lot, the best way to find it is to buy a new car. If that doesn’t work, you can use the new car to drive around the parking lot looking for the old one.
On the other hand, maybe the reason we can’t find anything is because we keep buying new things, and everything keeps getting lost under everything else.
Why does everyone around me move so slowly? Especially when I’m in a rush.
This is definitely a problem. These people are everywhere.
For example, there are the people in front of us one the supermarket checkout line, who, even though they’ve been waiting the same 25 minutes you were, don’t even start looking for their supermarket card until they get to the front of the line. Like it’s a total surprise to them that they need a Shoprite card. In Shoprite.
Or how about the person directly in front of you who leaves his cart in line and goes off to do his shopping, even though you got in line behind him in the first place because he had a pretty empty cart? But then he looked back at your cart, and he got some ideas.
“Orange juice! Where’d you find orange juice?”
“Over by the refrigerated juices.”
“Ooooh! I’ll be right back.”
There are also a lot of people in your way on the road. Now I don’t begrudge other people for being on the road. But sometimes I can’t go because the person in front of me is stopped, and has his window rolled down, and is talking to someone who’s sitting in a car facing the other way, who also has his window rolled down, and I want to yell, “Get a cell phone!”
But you know how your mother always told you, “If you do things quickly, you’ll just mess everything up and have to do it over?” Everyone else’s mother told them the same thing, and they’ve taken it to heart.
But of course, on the other hand, there’s a pretty big chance that if you do things slowly, you’ll mess them up anyway. At least if you go faster the first time, you’ll have more time to do it over.
Is it possible I just need a vacation?
That depends. How annoyed do you get by everyday things? For example, I recently came across a poll of the top 20 irritating pieces of technology, and apparently, the invention that annoys us most is car alarms. Of course, the main reason this annoys everyone is that no one knows what their own car alarms sounds like, so when it goes off in middle of the night, they’re just as annoyed as everyone else, and instead of going out and turning it off, they spends hours trying to block it out and to fall asleep. So I’m thinking that maybe we should be able to personalize our car alarms, like ringtones. For example, I would make mine sound like an ice cream truck, so that as soon as a burglar sets it off, everyone will run outside.
Another item on the list was printers. Everyone knows how frustrating printers can be. You have a tray that can hold 100 pieces of paper, but if you put in more than 5, it gets stuck. And sometimes, for no reason at all, it will tell you that you’re low on ink.
Yes, of course proceed! I spend $85 on that cartridge, and the papers are still coming out fine!
But when the printer breaks down, what do you do? It has one button. You press the button, and if that doesn’t work, you press the button again. There’s no way this button is doing anything.
Another item on the list was alarm clocks. Those guys take so much abuse. It’s not their fault it’s 7:00.
But if you’ve gotten to a point where you’re finding technology inconvenient – technology, which is supposed to at least be better than not having technology, — then maybe it’s time for a vacation.
Where do you suggest I go to get away from it all?
If you’re looking to get away from the irritations of technology and people in your way, the best place to go is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My wife and I took the kids there recently, and it’s an excellent place to go if you want to get lost. For example, one thing we did was walk through a gigantic corn maze. Because getting lost while driving wasn’t enough for us.
We actually spent a lot of our trip lost, because as it turns out, all farms look exactly the same, and there’s no one to ask directions from but the cows on the side of the road. And we even did a lot of the steps of what to do if something’s lost: We called around for the place, we calmed down, we went down the same roads 68 times, but nothing. And the whole time the kids are in the back going, “Look a cow!” “Look! Another cow!”
Our GPS couldn’t find us either. In fact, before we left, I had tried, unsuccessfully, to borrow a better GPS just in case this happened. But then my wife put it in perspective. “Were going to visit the Amish,” she said. “We need a GPS?”
Because yeah, we visited the Amish. The big draw of the Amish, apparently, is that they live without any of the conveniences of modern life, such as cell phones. Except for one Amish guy that I saw while waiting for a buggy ride (mostly what you do with buggy rides is wait for them) in a town called “Ronks”, which, I have to admit, is a fun name for a town. Ronks Ronks Ronks. It sounds like a duck clearing its throat.
I later asked a non-Amish tour guide about it:
TOUR GUIDE: “The Amish don’t use electricity, because they don’t want any wires coming into their house from the outside world.”
ME: “I saw a guy on a cell phone today.”
TOUR GUIDE: “Um… Cell phones don’t have wires.”
But the Amish do have it tough when it comes to parental discipline.
“You kids don’t know how good you have it. When I was your age, we didn’t even have… Wait. You don’t have that either. Well, we had to walk… Well, you have to walk too. Oh, I got one! When I was your age, we didn’t even have covered bridges.”
“Yeah. All our bridges were uncovered.”
“Wow! What did you do?”
So where do they take vacations? Amusement parks, apparently. I see them at every one.
Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Send me a smoke signal. My cell phone’s still missing. Or maybe call it, and I’ll listen for the ring.Mordechai Schmutter