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It's Our Turn: Sweating – and venting – the small stuff

Sometimes it’s the little things that can send you over the edge.

OK, maybe I’m getting a little crankier as I age, but at times, it seems as if the planets are aligned against me when it comes to dumb little stuff, which, in the grand scheme of things. shouldn’t get me that upset. But it does, dang nab it! (How’s that for a cranky old guy expression?)

Maybe just venting my anger about these nit-picky nuisances will help. Here are four things that send my blood pressure soaring:

Locker room lament. I’m a member of the YMCA and there are 160 lockers in the men’s locker area. When it comes to picking which locker to stow my stuff, I must channel some sort of fiendish odds-maker. I’ll pick a locker that’s all by itself so I’ll have plenty of room to set all my gear on the bench and change. But way more often than not, when I get done with my workout and get back to my locker, there’s someone standing right next to it, either to the right or to the left, and sometimes, on both sides. This has happened even if the locker room was completely empty when I picked out my locker. The chances of randomly selecting one of 160 lockers that ends up being right next to someone else is greater than the odds of the Vikings going to the Super Bowl. It’s happened to me 17 times in a row.

Grocery store grrrr! Have you experienced this: You’re in a hurry to pick up an item at the grocery store. Thankfully, it’s not that crowded and you find the aisle you need is practically empty. There’s the problem – practically. The only other person in the entire aisle, sometimes in the entire store, is standing directly in front of the one item you need to buy. He or she is taking his or her time. You could barge in front of them or try to nudge them along with an “excuse me” apology but you wait, reading labels on food you don’t want. And you wait some more. I once waited 11 minutes for a woman to select a single can of soup.

Lonesome road rage. This is another one that only happens to me when I’m in a big hurry or running late. I’ll pull up to a lonely intersection out in the middle of nowhere, expecting to do one of those quick stops before moving on, but no. There’s a stream of three or four cars, spaced perfectly apart, to my right that I have to wait for. Then, when it’s almost clear, another three or four cars are coming from the left. Now, mind you, this road is off in the boonies, far away from any human activity. You could sit at the same intersection for hours and not see a single car go by or any sign of life whatsoever – until I pull up.

Parking lot predicament. Picture a huge parking lot at one of the “big box” stores. See all those spaces, filled with cars? Pick an empty spot. Go and buy your stuff and head back to your car. If you’re like me, 99.99 percent of the time, there will be a car either pulling out or pulling in right next to your car at that exact same time. This presents all kinds of problems. They’re opening or closing their doors while you’re trying to open your door; you almost get clipped while they’re backing out; you have to wait in your car while they finish loading or unloading; you get the idea. And the whole time you’re thinking, “What are the odds of these things happening SO MANY TIMES IN A ROW?!”

There, now I feel better. Thank you.

• • •

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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