A Few Irritating Things
By nature, I am the sort of person that deeply respects people’s personal space; one that likes for people to live their lives how they see fit—provided that such choices on their part do not in principle disrupt or needlessly interfere with mine. In many aspects, I am somewhat introverted: albeit public speaking or social interactions have never been a problem of mine. As a matter of fact, in social settings, I can freely interact and have as much fun as the next guy. I say these things beforehand because I am about to list a few things that I do not particularly care for; things which may, if interpreted wrongly, be fodder for some muddleheaded simplistic misrepresentation of my character or disposition.
You can call these things my pet peeves or whatever names you fancy—and I guarantee you that as often as I remember more of these things, I’ll add to this list. I am also willing to bet that you may find some points on which you and I are in agreement. Now, if after reading this, you are convinced that these annoying things are completely baseless and without merit, or that I am due for some psychiatric evaluation, do yourself a favor—take a long walk off a short pier. Got it? Good! Now that all the self-righteous turd-buckets have left this page, feel free to enjoy, or not enjoy: I didn’t ask you to read this anyway, did I? Of course I didn’t—you are reading at your own risk. There, I have given you fair warning.
A) Inane Generalizations: When people generalize, they usually extrapolate an observation or experience or deduction far beyond its necessary reach. This is without question, an example of fallacious or erroneous thinking. All too often many people employ inane generalizations in either written or oral conversations because they are deceptively easy leaps that people make without bothering to investigate their far-reaching conclusions. For example, suppose you are talking to some lady who might have been heartbroken because of the infidelity of her husband or boyfriend. So she narrates how that jerk used and abused her until she finally broke it off. Let’s also say that this woman has also previously dated or married four guys before the last one and indeed it turned out that all these guys were likewise men of dishonorable character. It is deceptively easy and common to hear such women decide never to date or marry again for the foreseeable future. Do you want to know the common reason adduced to explain their reticence? Because: Men are dishonest, dishonorable, lying pigs. Now, do you notice here that this woman has condemned practically all men (or if you like most men) based on her previous experience with 5 men? How is her interaction with 5 or 10, or 50 men enough to qualitatively or morally analyze all the men or most of the men out there? Suppose, she decides to play a numbers game and thus asserts that all her female friends, and most of the women she had interacted with, or read about, have expressed the same sentiment? Suppose she argues for instance that she has about 100 unique examples to buttress her argument? Does that therefore imply that most or all men deserve her withering condescension and blame? The answer is clearly NO. The fact is that there are still millions upon millions of decent and respectable men who she had never interacted with and would never ever get to interact with in the first place. Her generalization is unfounded and thus unnecessary.
The alarming thing is that there are very many examples of this if you bother to listen attentively to many people. I am not talking about those cases where a person generalizing might just be trying to rile people up or get people to discuss a matter. I am talking of all those cases where people substitute generalizations for sound arguments and argue strenuously that these generalizations are indeed not only observable but demonstrably true. For example: “Americans are generally dumb and overweight yokels”, “Nigerians are scammers”, “Women who marry rich men are simply gold-diggers”, “Black people are generally lazy” , “Most Muslims are terrorists or terrorist-sympathizers” etc. Many seem to think that by merely narrating a few cases of some negative experience, they have adequately erected a foundation upon which to cast blanket or generalized blame. In all these, the culprit is taking the actions or observations about a few and tarring the whole with it. This works in the reverse as well namely to positively assess or praise a whole based on the actions of a few. It goes without saying that the better thing to do is to judge things on their own individual merits or demerits; and if for any reason one wants to characterize a whole, one should take special care to adequately qualify such extrapolations.
B) Driving slowly on the speed lane: For my readers who are not in the United States, let me explain this first. Most of the standard US highways (expressway, freeway, whatever you call it) have about 3 or more lanes. American roads are built such that they are all interconnected—especially by ramps located on the right. Therefore, for the most part, when people want to exit a highway to get on to other secondary roads they would get to the extreme right lane and then take the approaching exit ramp. Therefore, it is not surprising for cars on the extreme right lane of major highways to proceed at a relatively slower pace; nor indeed is it surprising for slower or older drivers to be on this slower lane. Conversely, the extreme left lane is considered the ‘speed lane’. This is because people on this lane have quite a distance to drive before they get to their respective exits. Because of this, people on this lane tend to proceed at a relatively faster pace than people on all the other adjacent lanes. It is even illegal for big trucks and trailers to get on this extreme right lane. No matter how fast a truck or trailer driver is (and at night with fewer drivers on the road, these truck drivers really go fast), he is required by law to not enter this ‘speed lane’.
Therefore, I consider it the height of rudeness and incivility for slow drivers (drivers that are so slow that tortoises would give them a run for their money) to get on the speed lane and back it up for miles. The more annoying part of it is that when you tap your horn gently behind these creeping wastes of skin, signaling your request for them to move over to the next relatively slower lane, you are merely making the matter worse. They’ll respond by reducing their speed even further forcing you to pass them on the other lane. Of course if you are in a police vehicle, these lumbering meatheads will quickly get out of your way. This hypocrisy gets my goat every time. It is just inexcusable. While on the highway, if you insist on driving like you are terrified of the accelerator, have the common decency to move your trudging automobile to the slower side of the road. You may have all day to slither along to your final destination, but the rest of us don’t have that kind of time. Personally, I would suggest that you get yourself a driver or sit your slow-driving hind parts at home and spare us all the grief.
C) Small items with Credit Cards: Have you ever come across these bozos that run into a convenience store to grab one piece of chewing gum and then have to hold up the line fumbling in their pockets for loose change? From a customer point of view, I absolutely hate that. I feel that you should have your money ready at hand to pay for whatever single, less-than-$5 item you want to buy. I can understand if you have a trolley-full of consumer items and in the general disorder of trying to get every item accounted for, you took some time to retrieve the money tucked into some corner of your purse or hand bag as the cashier continues to ring you up. That is understandable. Also, I can understand that you might not have as much cash as you might have thought you needed and so you may have to dig inside your wallet or purse to find your credit/debit card to pay for big ticket item/items. What I have failed to understand are these inbreds who walk into a convenience store with the sole aim of buying a 99-cents item (or for that matter anything less than 5 bucks) approaching the cashier to pay for them with credit/debit cards and/or possibly holding up the line in the process! From a retailer’s point of view, it doesn’t even make that much sense to have to constantly pay a fraction of a customer’s deferred costs so that they can skip on out with some gummyworms or some fresh-breath mints! If you want to pop in for a stick of candy, or a pack of gum, or one miserable doughnut, get some cash to pay for it even if it means using an ATM machine. Let’s not all stand in line waiting for some bank to approve your miserable purchase! It is even worse when the bank declines the card. Now, this rotund doughnut-craving retard will waste more of my time arguing with the cashier and demanding that the card be swiped an indefinite number of times in the vain hope that the purchase would be made. If you are one of such people, let me tell you what every other person in line behind you is possibly thinking: You are a laughable ninny and the sooner you bundled yourself out of the store, the sooner you would stop your embarrassment and the better for us all!
D) Talking or texting in movie theatres: There is a group of people that deserve to beaten over the head with a bag of hammers. This is putting it mildly. They are these simpletons who think that the best time to call or text the acquaintances in their miserable existence are precisely when they are in a movie theatre watching a movie! These people really deserve to have a hot smoldering piece of iron forced up their rectums. Why, in the name of all that is sacred, can these urchins NOT resist the urge to disrupt others’ movie-going experience? What is absolutely so important that you cannot respond to or text back after the movie? If it was so important, why can you not do the courteous thing and walk out of the theatre to pick your call? It doesn’t even help matters when these miscreants are loud and obnoxious: as if daring anyone within earshot to cast a disapproving glance their way or worse to politely ask them to refrain! It is either that these numbskulls do not realize that the LED lights from their mobile devices disturb or interfere with the desirable completely dark background of the movie theatre, or they probably think that with the theatre’s acoustic surround sound, other people would not hear them cackling away on their phones! And lest I forget, talking in theatres is not limited to phone discussions. I shall not forget the jumpy and noisy folks who talk about the movie whilst watching the movie! Look here mongrel, this is not your living room. As you can see, you are in a public space and you should try as much as lies within you to live up to the acceptable bounds of decorum. If you are in your room, feel free to howl your head off as you watch a movie, but since you are not there, please allow us to hear and digest the movie without your unnecessary verbal ticks—in other words, please shut your pie-hole, turn off the bloody cellphone and allow us to get through this hour-and-a-half movie in peace!
(To be continued)
P.S—Feel free to add your own pet peeves in the comments section.