I try to cultivate an attitude of gratitude most days, but don’t always succeed. When I don’t, it’s usually because I have been exposed to one of my numerous pet peeves. Here is a partial list:
Public speakers who talk too long: I don’t care if you are giving a stirring speech using impressive elocution; if you talk too long, the only thing people will remember is that you talked too long. Worse is when the speaker is oblivious to hints an audience gives that are signals it is time to close. People leaving, playing on their cellphones, snoring loudly or screaming “Shut up, already!” are subtle hints you may want to pick up on.
Female flaws seekers: There is a scene in the movie “Mean Girls” where, one by one, teenage girls look at themselves in the mirror and point out their “flaws.” Many grown women (not all) that I know seem to have this same weird thing of looking at themselves and seeing only “imperfections.” I maintain several websites and Facebook pages and I’ve learned to never post a picture of a woman unless it has been cleared by her. I have been stunned by women telling me that a picture of them was “ugly” or “horrible” when it was anything but. I know ugly and horrible pictures because I have many of myself. The difference is, I embrace them and also keep one with me at all times to whip out and disarm would-be muggers.
Breakers of unwritten but well-known rules: If two men have to use side-by-side urinals and they know each other, they can talk – keeping eyes straight ahead at the wall, of course. However, if you do not know someone, you never talk to them at that time. Some guy not only broke that rule with me in the library bathroom last week, but also asked me a question I hate: “Did you play basketball?” He attempted to follow it up with others about sports in general, but I utilized the Blasting the Hand Dryer Distraction Tactic and pretended I couldn’t hear him.
Supermarket zombies: People shuffling around so engrossed in the latest flavor of Pop Tarts that they run into you with their cart tick me off. I deal with supermarket zombies the same way they are dealt with on ‘The Walking Dead” – a blow to the dome. Albeit in this case nonlethal.
Young people wearing my rock T-shirts: I appreciate that many kids at my daughter’s high school like classic rock groups such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Pink Floyd, but when I start wearing ones from their era – Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and that would be never – then they can start wearing ones from mine.
Not knowing the answer to the driver’s wave mystery: The open hand wave that means “thank you” that we give to another driver who, say, lets us into traffic, is perplexing. Who came up with that? How come we don’t do that anywhere else? Why is the Driver’s Apology Wave so similar?
Technology that is not as cool as what came before: When compact discs first came out, the one thing that bugged me was they were not as compact as their predecessors – cassette tapes that could fit into your pocket. My Blu-ray player replaced my DVD player that, in turn, replaced my VCR. With the VCR, I always had the option to fast forward through the previews at the beginning. The Blu-ray? Uh, no. When I try to do that, the machine informs me with a rather snotty graphic that “That option is not available at this time” and holds me hostage. I then consider my act of muting the sound a small victory.
People who think Facebook is just a waste of time: A Facebook friend recently posted “Describe Your Last Fart Using Only A Movie Title.” Some of the hysterical answers people submitted included “A Mighty Wind,” “Breaking Away,” “How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days,” “The Toxic Avenger,” “Waiting to Exhale” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” See? Facebook inspires creativity.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.