Monday, March 2, 2009

The Daily Mysteries

By Julia Buckley
I’ve been reading lots of mysteries lately and admiring their complex plots. I was thinking today, though, that there are all sorts of little unsolved mysteries in everyday life. I tried to compile some of them here, but I was confronted by another unsolvable puzzle: why can’t we think of any examples when someone asks us to prove our point? :)

Still, I came up with a few:

1. Who are people talking to on their cell phones at 6:30 in the morning? God knows I wouldn’t want someone to call me at that hour.

2. Why do women open their mouths when they put on mascara?

3. Why do portrait photographers make you put your head at an odd angle, as though your neck is broken? Is this just for their personal amusement?

4. Why do birds stop singing when we walk by? Is it because they were talking about us?

5. Why does it take all day to clean a room, but only a few minutes to destroy it?

6. Why do the drivers whose vehicles are burning oil always choose to pull right in front of my car?

7. Why can’t pale people get suntans? (As a pale friend put it, “I have two stages: lobster red and deathly white.”)

8. What do nuns wear under their habits? And do they have hair under their veils? (These were the biggest mysteries of my Catholic-school childhood).

9. Why do kids instinctively open the side of the milk carton that DOESN’T say “Open here?”

10. Why does it only rain when I fail to bring the umbrella?

What are the troublesome mysteries in your daily life?


G.M. Malliet said...

I can answer #8, which was also a subject of fascination for me, Julia. The hair under the veil is not shaven, just sort of chopped short.

Very amusing list here!

Jess Lourey said...

The bird one is my favorite. FOR SURE they were talking about us, or at least how ridiculous the tops of our heads are.

My most recent little mystery was inspired by a club I went to on Saturday night. The band was good, the people were friendly, and I was enjoying myself when I looked over and saw this short, dark-haired guy leering at me. With no shame, like he was deciding whether or not to buy me. I shot him "the look," (oh wait, I think it might have been "the finger"), and he went on to leer at someone else, his eyes on 'em like flies on flypaper.

And I thought, why doesn't the leering gene self-select out of the gene pool? Certainly, no one is breeding with these guys. Right?

Saturday was also the night I went to my first roller derby, and the lesson I took away from it was: If you fall and the whole world sees your underwear, stand up, skate off, and get back to business.

G.M. Malliet said...

Why do things always seem to break down on Sunday, when it costs more to get the repair guy out?

Speaking from recent experience with the fridge.

Keith Raffel said...

Mystery: How can an editor who says she stayed up all night reading your manuscript also say it doesn't fit with what she's looking for?

Craven said...

I have a few possible answers:

1)People in Europe - it's noonish then.

5)Entropy - order is an unnatural state that requires a great deal work to maintain. Chaos is the natural state, and takes very little time or effort to achieve.

4 and 6) It's just you - kidding.

7) There is a third state after the burn where the skin does tan some, just before it peels off. If you place the sluffed tanned piece next to the white patch underneath, you can actually see a little difference.

8) Underoos - check yourself if you don't believe me. A word of warning, nuns are tough an don't like giving up their habits easily.

9) Because they're so preoccupied checking the photo on the side to see if it's someone they know.

10) Your meteorologist has serious credibility issues (and when was the last time he warned of an incoming meteor - you'll definitely want an umbrella for that).

Sorry I don't have all the answers.

Julia Buckley said...

GM, I totally agree about the repair people. And I did encounter one nun who told us she had a long ponytail under her veil. Must have been a more lenient Mother Superior. :)

Jess, you crack me up. And yes, those leerers really must never have been told BY a woman what should be appropriate behavior TOWARD a woman. No mother? Sisters? Women in his community? No television? Yeah, that's a tough one.

Keith, those are the toughest mysteries to crack: the "I like it and yet I don't like it" sort of assessments. And they can chip away at one's fragile confidence (at least mine is fragile, like a robin's egg).

Craven, your answers are of great value! Thank you for taking the time to explain the inexplicable! And in such a humorous fashion. :)

Deborah Sharp said...

Very Seinfeldian, Julia. Thanks for the laugh... as for my mystery, why does a sore tooth stop hurting when you get to the dentist's office?

Julia Buckley said...

You're right, Deborah! And also, why does your hair look great on the day of your haircut?