Things That Bug

I know we all encounter situations in life that get under our skin. Here, by way of venting, are some of my most aggravating peeves, among which, with any luck, you may find some of your own:

1. Among the many tiny irritations I find particularly galling are men who keep their hats on (generally baseball and sometimes backwards) while eating in a restaurant. I wonder whether they had mothers. One of my favourite scenes in the Sopranos was when Tony berated a diner for wearing his baseball cap during dinner, and successfully encouraged the young fellow to doff the chapeau. Oh, the times I’ve wished I had a .45 in a shoulder holster to back me up in a similar confrontation with a capped ignoramus.

2. I abhor the presumptuous practice of waiters and waitresses asking, “Do you need any change?” At one time, restaurant owners insisted that their servers return all change to a patron even when the combination of bills was such that it was obvious the customer intended to leave the excess amount as a tip. But now, there are no standards.

3. I don’t like eager, grinning and clearly insincere servers who declare, “Hi, my name is Waldo and I’ll be your server this evening.” They’re probably the same wet-behind-the-ears kids who address people old enough to be their parents as “you guys.”

4. I get annoyed at the habit of young clerks saying, “No problem” in response to my, “Thanks.” Of course, it’s no problem. They’re being paid by the company they work for to provide a product or a service, and paid indirectly by me as a purchaser. “No problem” is fine to say if you’re being thanked for doing something as a favour to someone without expecting or accepting any reward.

5. I can’t abide people eating on public transit: I think it should be banned–after all, it’s unsanitary. But what really bothers me is listening to somebody chew open-mouthed, and I certainly don’t want to smell cooking oil and onions and cheap yellow mustard on my bus ride home.

6. I can’t stand people who drive through red lights when they have plenty of time to stop safely. First, I don’t like such people because what they’re doing might put others at risk–on the other hand, it probably doesn’t, since the lights on the crossing road remain red for a few seconds after the intersecting road’s lights turn red. Actually, it’s because I detest scofflaws–people who go through life paying no attention to rules that infringe on their right to do whatever the hell they want to do. They all vote Conservative (or Republican), by the way.

7. Particularly irritating are people who talk in movie theatres as if they’re watching a video in their family-room at home. Many theatres flash announcements on the screen before the feature starts, requesting the patrons to respect others and remain quiet during the film. The talkers either can’t read–entirely plausible–or they’re part of the above group that aren’t going to have their “liberties” infringed, even their liberty to infringe on the rights of others.

8. If I wanted to hear about the vicissitudes of the personal life of George or Myron or Gladys, I’d watch soap operas. When these ignorant people speak on their mobile phones in loud voices on public transit, I hear about 12,000 per cent more than I want to know about their personal lives. For those of you who don’t take public transit, let me inform you that this is a familiar feature of the daily commute. Of course, you may have heard them at the table next to yours in a restaurant.

9. Speaking about noise in restaurants: Who told these eatery owners that all their customers want to have to struggle to talk to the people at their table over whatever garbage music the 22-year-old twit responsible for it has decided to blast over speakers everywhere in the place, including, for god’s sake, the washrooms. Turn the freaking thing off. No one, I repeat, no one wants to hear it. Don’t fiddle with it, don’t lower the volume or change the musical format, JUST TURN IT OFF.

10. Speaking about intrusive music, I revile brainless bozos–on their way to being deaf brainless bozos–who drive by with their car stereos cranked up so high the thumping actually makes walls vibrate. I use the term “music” very loosely, by the way. Rap and crap are only one letter apart and closer than that in meaning.

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