Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Exploring Anomalies! This could be controversial?

Maybe it's an age thing or maybe I am just over hypersensitive to what is going on around me but I am amazed and even disconcerted about what I see as anomalies. 
Take for example the vast sums of money spent by local government departments in the UK in installing traffic calming solutions. The most popular of these (popular by the local governments and shock absorber manufacturers not drivers) are speed humps (which more poetically were known as "sleeping policemen"). Why go to the trouble, cost and effort of installing these when letting a random scattering of deep potholes develop, renders the same traffic calming effect for free?
For me another anomaly occurs at dances or discos. Why do people attend dances and disco? Well certainly to dance or at least to jig about, but mainly to meet and get to know other people. Does this happen? Yes, but the efficiency of the process is severely inhibited. What inhibits the process? The "disc jockey"! How do they do it?  By playing the music so loud it is impossible to hold a conversation. This explains why at a noisy disco you see so many people in the corridors or even the car park so they can talk. Sadly it is a self defeating cycle as the DJ on seeing people moving off the dance floor turns the volume higher! Obviously DJs are not equipped to be arbiters of noise levels as the very nature of their job means they are all profoundly deaf anyway!
Years ago it came as a real shock to me when I asked my teenage children if they had enjoyed a particular event such as a friends party or church youth club meeting and they replied "Dad, it was really wicked!" Concerned as to what evil had transpired in this seemingly safe environment I would "water board" them to get to the innocent truth. This current popular use of the word wicked is another anomaly as is the use of the word "cool"! Sitting in a warm and humid chapel last Sunday I was amused by a speaker who kept telling the congregation how cool they were. On reflection maybe that was less of a concern than if he had been saying how "hot" they were!
The use of alcohol to enhance an evening's pleasure leads to the classic anomaly "it must have been a brilliant night out because my head hurts and I can't remember a thing!" I am so glad that in my autumnal years not having been fueled by alcohol I can still remember the good nights out!
Then there is the anomaly of some restaurants imposing a "service charge"! If I see that when ordering I am tempted to ask, "If we serve ourselves can we forgo the service charge?
Mention computers and anomalies and I could prattle on at infinitum. Suffice it to say that if my computerised financial transactions are so secure why is it necessary to have so many system updates and why are there daily news reports of security breaches and people's nest eggs going missing?
Now to risk getting a bit political. In the days when we were either hunters or gatherers or even multi tasking at both, everyone had to make some contribution to the survival of the tribe. Some of us are old enough to almost remember, no work, no eat. So everyone had to do their bit; kids collecting firewood, elderly people watching children and most surprisingly even teenagers working! Probably even the weak, sick or dysfunctional were expected to make some sort of contribution. No contribution, no dinner! So here today, in the so called civilised world, the anomaly is that often we actually pay people to do nothing! When we do that we deny them the satisfaction of experiencing the feeling of being needed and of a "job well done"! So what stops us helping everyone find a working role, I suggest it is mainly a lack of imagination. 
When I worked in Africa I was amazed at how some of the locals could make something to sell out of nothing.  Once I was invited to stay at the home of the architect I was working for in Lusaka, Zambia. He lived at Leopards Hill, the posh part and his estate had a swimming pool, squash court and everything else you could desire.  One of the reception rooms in the house was huge, two storeys high and was equipped like a museum. On the floor were a number of very large models, in metal, of vehicles beautifully hand crafted.  I asked the owner about them and he said that one day there was a knock on the door and a local gentleman said "Mr Andrews here is a model of your Toyota Land Cruiser I have made for you".  Andy was impressed with the size (it was at least 4 feet long) and the craftsmanship (it was all made out of recycled coke cans metal, oil drum metal etc).  Andy felt he had to buy it as it was so good.  A month later the same man appeared but this time with an equally beautiful, huge model of Andy's wife's car.  The following month it was a beautiful model of the family's tractor and so it went on until Andy pulled the plug.  I cite this because it shows an interesting use of initiative.
Well I have run out of steam now but I bet you have your own list of anomalies!

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