Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hyper-Vigilance and Badly Worded Street Signs

I suffer from a mild case of hyper-vigilance.  Okay, perhaps suffer is too strong of a word.  I have hyper-vigilance ... the people who know me suffer because of my hyper-vigilance. Being hyper-vigilant is the opposite of apathy.  I care too much.  I am hyper aware of my surroundings.  I am too busy, in social situations, scanning the room and taking in all the stimulus to actually enjoy myself.  Also, I see things that are wrong, and I want to fix them. I can't blow it off, I have to do something about it. I get a little obsessed, just a little, not enough to lock me away or make me dangerous. This can get me in trouble sometimes, but nothing serious.

I remember sitting in JP Licks in Boston, trying to enjoy some ice cream, while sitting on the side of a door that had a sign that said "Please close door after using." Of course, half the people who used the door left it wide open. I could not enjoy myself.  Luckily I was with other hyper-vigilant people who could commiserate. And what's the deal with people who converge at the bottom of stairs, escalators or in doorways? I'm the guy that walks through them saying "excuse me," loudly, giving them the scum-of-the-Earth look. I might even say to them, "you know, you are blocking the flow of traffic."  Speaking of traffic ... (deep sigh) .... driving ... not my favorite activity. I lived in Boston for ten years, the best thing I ever did was get rid of my car. City life is way too stressful, too much going on and way too much of it out of my control. Country life is much easier when you have hyper-vigilance. Telecommuting even better.  

But still, I have no problem finding things to complain about. The Internet making this easier. A country drive can have its stress. I've been driving by this street sign, on Osgood Hill Road in Essex VT, for years.  It bothered me because I didn't know what it meant. What the hell does "Limited Site Distance" mean?  Was there a site somewhere that I need to look out for? I'd just ignore it.

One day my wife pointed out to me that this is a spelling mistake.  It is supposed to be "sight," not "site."  Now that I understand the sign, I am irritated by it.  It is bothering me so much that I wrote an email to the Essex town government to fix it.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Extreme cases of hyper-vigilance is usually a symptom of something more serious like posttraumatic stress disorder or schizophrenia.  A more entertaining version of hyper-vigilance than mine is when comedian Adam Carolla does his "What Can Adam Complain About?"  He has it much a much worse case than I do and he's learned a way to make money off of it as well.


Olga said...

Is this condition somewhere on the autism spectrum? I had not heard of it before, but I'd like to learn more...reminds me of someone I know.

ManOfWow said...

I don't think it is on the autism spectrum, but I will check with my wife who does that for a living.

Here is a good web site that I found: