I just saw another one of those surveys breaking down how many years of our lives we spend in various activities. It told me we spend five years waiting in line, four years doing household chores, three years in meetings and six months sitting at red lights. I've seen plenty of similar surveys, and always wondered why they overlook the less obvious things we fritter away our hours on.

Today, I thought I'd try adding them up.In an average lifetime, we spend:

- A year trying to stop mentally humming the theme song to an insipid TV show or commercial we hate, but for some reason can't stop thinking about.

- A month zipping along a major interstate, seeing gridlock on the other side, and secretly hoping the jam will go on for miles so we can congratulate ourselves on being on the right side.

- A year being on the wrong side.

- Six months sneaking the National Enquirer off the rack in grocery lines, turning to the article on which actresses have had liposuction, then slipping it back on the shelf by the time we get to the register.

- Two months sneaking vain looks at ourselves in store windows while walking along crowded city sidewalks.

- Six months standing in store lines that we thought would be the fastest, then watching the person at the end of the other line get to the clerk before us.

- A week retabulating exactly how many romantic relationships we've been involved with in our lives.

- Two weeks thinking about how many of those relationships could be classified as "major mistakes."

- Five days wondering why, when you drop a piece of toast, it always falls with the butter side down.

- Three days wondering why the odds of young children announcing their need to go the bathroom rise in direct proportion to your distance away from one.

- A year lying awake at night, desperately telling yourself that the only way to get to sleep is to stop thinking about how you can't get to sleep.

- Two weeks rushing from the car, spilling groceries, leaving them on the sidewalk, fumbling for the front door key, racing inside and picking up the phone only to hear the other party hang up just as you say hello.

- Four months silently rehearsing speeches to bosses on why we deserve a raise.

- Five months berating ourselves for not having the courage to deliver them.

- Two months thinking of appropriate forms of torture for the people who write the instructions for items that require assembly.

- Two months adding up how much you'd have been worth today if you'd had the foresight to invest $10,000 in IBM when it was selling at 12 per share. And sold at its absolute, peak, all-time high, of course.

- Three months more obsessing on how you could have gotten that waterfront Victorian by the ocean for $30,000 in 1974, but decided it was too high. Or, even if you never thought of buying there at the time, you sure should have.

- A week fuming at newspapers after turning to page nine and finding the front page story was not continued there after all.

- Five years going through the same elaborate daydream about being the oldest person ever to win eight Olympic gold medals.

- A month rifling drawers in vain search of instructions to your three-year-old video-camera. Or answering machine. Or programmable telephone.

- Three weeks getting to your seat in a theater or sports event and then dwelling on how much you wished you had different seats.

- A month wondering why, when you're late for a key appointment, you always end up behind a 75-year-old woman in a 15-year-old Chevrolet who stops at greens and waits for them to turn red.

- Four months wondering why the people with the biggest boom-box on the whole beach always decide you are the ideal person to sit next to.

- Two years vowing you'll forever be a better, more pious person if only someone upstairs helps you overcome this crisis.

- Zero time actually being better.