I'm looking for a word or short phrase that adequately describes those useless actions we all perform despite knowing the futility of said actions. I've tried to order the following examples roughly descending in suitability to my purpose with most appropriate first.
- Repeatedly pressing the 'Walk' button at a pedestrian controlled crosswalk or a hallway's elevator call button when an elevator is taking a little longer than usual to arrive.
- Tapping or shaking a wristwatch that has obviously stopped as if the action will miraculously get the watch to show the correct time.
- Rattling a locked door after it has been determined that it is locked as if subsequent attempts will magically allow access.
- Wandering around waving a cell phone in the air when it's perfectly obvious that no signal can be found as if the process will inexplicably transcend the laws of electromagnetism.
These actions fill time and/or alleviate anxiety. I was thinking of 'busy work' but that seems to be more descriptive of a workplace environment.
An accurate word or phrase that describes the above would not describe the following.
- Hitting or shaking a mechanism that refuses to perform the action it was designed to do. (e.g. vending machine, computer,
- A baseball player throwing his bat after striking out.
These actions are born out of frustration and anger. They could be described as a vent. That's not what I'm looking for.