There are a few things in my exciting daily life that, with repetition, have worn me down. I’ve gone from puzzlement to perplexity, to what is now full-on minor annoyance.
Let me explain.
Take shampooing hair. The labels ubiquitously contain directions which nobody needs; that is, “lather, rinse, repeat.” This is something, I feel confident in saying, that most people could manage without taking the time to read up on it first. (The “repeat,” of course, is a separate issue; many people maintain it’s there just to sell more shampoo.)
Similarly, I am confronted daily by two completely superfluous painted arrows, imparting glaringly unneeded directions, in the parking lot of my son’s school. The first arrow points the driver to drive along the brick circular road behind the building, where the driver is currently driving.
Go here. You’re already here? Good.
This arrow appears on a new driveway, installed just a couple years ago when the school was remodeled. There are so many cars in the pick-up and drop-off lane now that they needed more space to line up all the cars. So behind the school we go, and then back out to the front, pick up our kids, and leave.
(The traffic jam caused by two other schools directly next door and across the street is, again, a separate issue that makes me want to slap 1950s Lexington city land-use permit granters.)
The second painted arrow is halfway around the circular drive. It clearly encourages the driver to continue driving around the circle.
You know what? There’s nowhere else to drive. You either go around the circle or you take off cross-country through the park behind the school.
“Oh gosh! Where do I go? Do I continue turning the wheel left? Or do I go across the grass and drive straight into Southland Pool? Oh, help!!! What do I do?? Don’t panic, don’t panic. Breathe.”
“O thank heavens. There’s an arrow. I keep turning. WHEW.”
Said nobody ever.
So there’s that. Arrows painted on what otherwise would be an unmarred, attractive, unexpected little feature of elementary-school design: a brick paved driveway solely for the enjoyment of the parents taking their kids to school.
Situation #2: Communion Crowd Control
At a parish I used to belong to, the ushers were very hands-on. I don’t know about Protestant churches, but many Catholic churches have ushers, whose main duty is to use baskets on poles to whack people when it’s time for the offertory shake-down … no, that’s not true.
They slide the baskets down in front of people sitting in the pews for them to place their offering in. Or, they supervise baskets that are just passed from hand to hand. Either way, this is a job that, sort of, requires personnel.
What churches don’t need, in my opinion, is ushers who do communion line crowd-control.
Communion is pretty simple process. Get up, get in line, receive the Body of Christ. Kneel down, pray. The end.
But no. In some places, the ushers think standing up and getting in line is too complex a task for your average Cradle Catholic who’s been doing it since the age of 7. They stand guard at the front pew, blocking the exit like a border collie to keep eager-receivers from storming the altar like sheep on steroids.
Then, when THEY deem it the appropriate time, they take a step backward to permit everyone in that pew ONLY to get up and get in line. After these sheep exit the pew, another step backward, and Pew Two is good to go.
And so it goes through the whole church. Don’t anyone get too frisky, now, and muscle your way out early. There’s that usher, making sure you keep to the line.
And to ensure that everything goes smoothly, they’ve got walkie-talkies to relay information to one another about the more suspicious communicants.
Well, maybe not actual walkie-talkies. But they look capable of it.
Mercifully, my current parish has deemed us trustworthy enough to get up and go to communion our own, and as yet, there have been no incidents. I just hope the ushers don’t start feeling useless and implement draconian changes.
But if they do, we could start something a childhood friend once daydreamed about — an Usher Olympics where we’d clock them on how fast they can race though the pews with their offertory baskets.
I volunteer to paint the arrows in the aisles so that they know which way to go.