Photo: If your bed looks like this all the time you’re not in it, congratulations of not being inefficient.
When you get to my age, you begin to realize you don’t have a lot of time to waste. I’m more than half-dead. I suspect it’s more like 90 percent dead, but that clearly is “more than half-dead.” How old am I? I’m 51. How old is that? If Tom Brady were that old, he’d be like completely, totally retired from football — only for a year or so, of course, but still.
I’ve always gotten a little bugged when folks waste my time. I’ve even gotten bugged with myself when I waste my own time with tasks that could be done faster to give me more time to be productive in other areas — such as wasting my time in good ways by lying on the beach or strumming “Margaritaville” for the 2,435th time on my six-string. That’s when wastin’ away again is OK, whether or not I’ve found my lost shaker of salt.
Lately, though, I’ve gotten even further irritated with inefficiencies, be they large or small, or in some cases, tiny.
For instance, we don’t use our whirlpool tub in the master bath very often — usually only when the grandboys are visiting or when I need one of those Calgon-take-me-away bubbly retreats after a day filled with annoying inefficiencies. But that bathtub itself had an inefficiency that was driving me crazy — a little stopper that had to be twisted with the force of The Incredible Hulk to open and shut. And the tub is fairly deep. I’m not even sure how deep, but when director James Cameron came by our house to explore the tub with his Deepsea Challenger submersible vessel, I asked him how deep it was and he just said, “Pretty dadgum deep.”
“That’s what I figured,” I said. “Can you throw me that towel before you go? I need it for my hair.”
“The blue one with the sharks on it.”
“No, I meant which hair.”
A source of tension in my home every day has to do with one of the most inefficient chores of humankind — making the bed. I get that you might want to toss the covers back up toward the headboard a little, but you don’t need to make it perfectly and flatten out every wrinkle. Southern Living ain’t coming by to do a feature on bed-making — although if they did, they definitely should start at my house.
Between the time we get out of bed and the time we go back to bed, the chances of any other human seeing the bed are pretty slim. This made-up bed thing ain’t fooling me. I know good and well someone slept in it the night before, and I suspect those same folks are going to sleep in it again. And it’s just going to be buried under 17 pillows anyway. Is that efficient? Of course not. I know because it takes me about 10 minutes to unmake the bed so I can get in it and mess it up again, or as I call it — much to my wife’s disgust — “the bed disassembly process.”
There are plenty of inefficient things you folks do in the outside world, as well. As long as it affects only you, have at it. I have a problem when your inefficiency wastes my time — which is (1) short and (2) way more important than yours. At least to me.
I’m talking to you, person who mopes across the parking lot to the front of the store after I politely wave you to go ahead. I’m talking to you, person who asks me questions that they could be Googling, Yahoo-ing or Bing-ing. I’m talking to you, person who asks if I want fries with that. Have you seen me? There’s a reason my time is short. Yes, of course I want fries with that.
I’m especially talking about the meeters — you know, the folks who think we’re about one more meeting away from reaching peak efficiency at the office and/or the folks who sigh about having to go to another meeting with the big bosses but who really love it because it makes them look important and keeps them away from all that ugly real work.
If you want to speed things up at work, cancel about 12 meetings on your calendar this week and do some actual work instead of talking about it. Then, eliminate the three most inefficient words in the American lexicon — “regularly scheduled meeting.”
Meanwhile, if I wave you on in front of Publix, STEP ON IT! I’ve got a lost shaker of salt to find.