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WHY, 1. (adverb): for what? for what reason, cause, or purpose?

November 7, 2007

Paulo Coelho posted a question on his facebook site today, asking what was “normal”, as in, even if it’s strange to you, what are some things that the rest of the world sees as normal. And the silly thing only lets you use 300 letters or something like that, so my fantastic essay that I had planned was reduced to 2 little sentences. I expand here.

Beaurocracies piss me off. Because people like to hide behind badges and rules. And if you deviate from said rules in any way, even in the minutest of minutest ways, then you are violating a section code of some kind, and causing everybody a great deal of hassle. Take, for example, when I stupidly left my non-Washington Mutual bank card in a Washington Mutual ATM. When i went back for it an hour later, then had disposed of it, and I had to wait for 2 weeks for another one to arrive from the UK while borrowing money from everyone I knew. Would it have been so hard to say “hmm, this anonymous person might come back for this, I’ll hang on to it for an hour or so”. No. It wouldn’t. My card was not a threat. It did not have any unmarked liquids in it. It was not ticking funnily. It was just not a “WAMU” card. So it went in the trash. (don’t get me wrong. I take full responsibility for being a fanny and not taking my own card. I am just pissed off that people just follow rules instead of maybe doing something nice for somebody).

“I’m terribly sorry ma’am. Its in the rules. We are not allowed to hold on to any card that isn’t a Washington Mutual card”.

Another example. Driving on the freeway. It’s 0330hrs. You are the only person on the road. You decide to go a little faster than the speed limit because it’s 3.30 and you want to get home to bed. You get pulled over. “Ma’am, you were going 75 in a 70mph speed zone”. I mean, really? REALLY? Because the California Vehicle Code section whatever says that thou shalt not ever go over the speed limit, there are absolutely no exceptions? Or, actually, because speeding tickets are one of the biggest funding sources. These things piss me off. I do not like rules that do not need to be there. I do not like people who uphold rules just because they are there, or because they have a badge that allows them to be the rule upholder. Or, maybe because they took a 2 hour training course on how to uphold these rules, and now they feel very important, and like making other people feel miserable.

I think all of these things just serve to make human beings treat other human beings like they aren’t human at all. And nothing upsets me more than being treated like I’m not a human. It’s like when you call your cellphone company for help, and get put through to a very friendly computer. It’s a computer. Just like the rest of the people who answer the phones. There is a protocol and you follow it. Why does it have to be like this?? Why cant people think and act for themselves?

This is one of the things that I think is seen as completely normal in our society (I can’t speak for the world, because I havent lived all over the world (yet!)) and I just don’t understand why. And I don’t think I’ll ever find out why. Every time I ask, I am just told the section code, and a word for word recital of exactly what the rule says (in very pompous English that is difficult to understand). I don’t think “why” is a part of the vocabulary of western society. Though I really hope it will be one day.

A couple of days ago a wee boy (by wee I’d say he was probably in his early teens) came to my door trying to sell me a newspaper subscription to help send kids like him to college. I tried explaining to him that I don’t like newspapers because they constantly feed you with negative thoughts and images. I suggested to him that he tell the newspaper people to start writing positive stories, like “YOUNG MAN, 18, HELPS LITTLE OLD LADY ACROSS STREET”, or “LARGE URBAN COMMUNITY RAISES MONEY FOR STRANGER’S FUNERAL”, or “LOCAL WOMAN, 52, ALLOWS ALL TO TAKE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES FROM HER GARDEN”… stuff like that. I would love to read stuff like this. I would talk about stuff like this with other people (as in: Did you read the newspaper this morning? They’re implementing a community permaculture garden in that dead space that used to have nothing but grass and use too much water). I would much rather be told things that were positive about the world. Then I would start looking at the positive in the world. I am so sick of hearing who and what I have to fear. Who and what I have to hate for whatever political reasons. Anyway, the boy walked away, very fast. I thought I was speaking English. I thought what I was saying made sense. sigh…

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