Small conveniences not always convenient

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Columnist

Once in awhile, OK more like often, I get on a soap box and take note of things that really annoy me. Then I see a pattern emerging and presto … I

A) Realize I have better things to do and move on or
B) Ignore my conscience and write a column.

This week’s column is brought to you by months of in-depth observations and extensive research that I have conducted on our postmodern human condition and the technological advances that have enriched our quality of life.
Yeah right.

This is a laundry list of complaints from a middle-aged, Disco-deprived woman who longs for the days when heavy traffic only meant two or three cars in front of you at the stoplights and when semitrucks were rare sightings downtown. In journalistic terms, here’s an easy-to-read, bulleted list of conveniences, which have become rather inconvenient because of what I call over- or expanded-use, or perhaps due to outdated or misused cultural behaviors.

• Convenience stores. Convenience stores are No. 1 on my list of conveniences-turned-inconvenient. The original idea was to provide 24-hour stores where you could run in and out for last-minute things. Not so anymore. There seem to be fewer clerks and longer lines, which translates into longer waits. Sometimes it’s faster to go to the grocery store.

• Inquiring about bills over the telephone. You use to be able to save time and trips by calling about your billing questions. But with so many companies bogged down by extensive phone messages, selections and directions, it can take 10 to 15 minutes or longer to get a real person on the line. The same is true for phone cards, which are bogged with advertisements before you can even make your call.

• Long answering greetings. Have your ever called a place and just wanted to talk to Bill or Chuey, but you’re forced to wait until the reception gives his or her name, a long job title and greeting, and then, this one really gets me, they try to sell you something. When you finally do get through they say, “Chuey just left!”

• Writing checks. I really like my new debit card. Checks used to be the preferred form of payment, but nowadays this requires a pictured ID, sometimes fingerprints, telephone numbers, a number of a friend, a number of a stalker, proof of citizenship and proof you’re a living and breathing mammal residing in a real home on a real street in a real town. Then you have to sign the back of the check stating there is money in your account, or at least there will be when the check arrives, and if not, you agree to be sentenced to a public hanging or be stoned to death.

• Buying ice cream. Remember the days when you could make it home before the ice cream melted? More traffic in town may be good for the economy, but not good for your car seats.

• The premature door opener. Before you take me wrong, I’m an old-fashioned gal who likes for men to open my doors, but don’t you hate it when people open doors too soon? This is good social mannerism and it’s a convenience, especially when your arms are full, but when a person opens the door prematurely, like when you’re still several feet or yards away, you have two choices: 1) You can keep walking at your regular pace and smile at them as their overstretched arms begin to weaken or 2) You can pick up your pace to a trot or jog so as not to inconvenience the person who is inconveniently making you hurry so they can conveniently hold the door open for you.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: