It was 3 a.m. in the wee hours of the morning when my phone rattled my slumber. Agitated, as I did not recall telling my phone to wake me up that early, I let my reflex silence the alarm. I swiped and swiped but the noise persisted, so I had no choice but to open my eyes. Alas, an alarm it was not. I begrudgingly attempted to answer the call with my blurred vision.
“Hello, I hope I don’t disturb you.”
No, I was just idling by waiting for the sun to rise while watching my freshly-painted wall dry.
Let’s back up a little. I work in Information Technology Operations. Now, for some people (those who are not immediately turned off by the job title), this means I am a glorified Googling expert (most certainly true) and that I spend the whole day sitting around waiting for things to break (probably true). What is certain, however, is the fact that I have to be ready for panic calls at sometimes odd hours.
It definitely does not help when someone calls me with that opening line.
People stating the obvious is a peeve of mine, among others. Why would people sometimes feel the need to state something that is clearly apparent escapes me.
Well, at least the guy who called me had a glimmer of hope. Even so, he should have realised that even watching paint dry requires some form of focus and concentration.
Just to be clear, I do not mind people who state something that is less obvious to others. For instance, “The grass is greener on the other side,” might be beneficial if you are talking to someone who is colour-blind. Same goes to things that are only relatively obvious. Saying, “That fire hydrant looks angry,” may elicit swift agreements or protracted arguments from your artsy savant friends.
Sometimes, however, you need to state the obvious just to check whether the person you are talking to has not gone mildly bananas. “Gee, it’s cold out here,” is fine when you are talking to a tshirt wearing, ice-cream eating, Canadian standing outside on a winter day. True story.
My beef is with people who would state something that is objectively, unequivocally, and phenomenally obvious.
“It’s raining.” Yes, that explains why both of us are currently drenched.
“Hey, are you sleeping?” No, I am just resting my eyelids.
“It seems that you have tripped and fallen down a deep manhole. Do you need help?”
Someone call Captain Obvious.
(I am still undecided about saying things that obviously need to be said, such as, “The dress looks good on you, hon.”)
I get why people do it, I suppose. I read somewhere that since we are social animals, the tendency has developed over time due to evolutionary needs. We need to communicate our presence, moods and feelings. Sometimes, in the absence of anything that is remotely significant, we just need to emit the occasional sounds. We simply hate silence.
I guess that is why Starbucks always plays sonically non-offensive songs in their stores. Their absence, combined with caffeine overload, would send us gaga.
Well, that is life, I suppose. In fact, I am sometimes guilty of stating the obvious too. Humans are just weird.