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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Random things that are annoying. Why? Because I’m in that sort of mood.

The good news is that I am not currently annoyed about anything. I am, in fact, happy to have a thing to talk about that has words. A lot of words! And really, the best time to talk about annoying things is when you’re not annoyed about them because then you can find the humor in them and be marginally less annoyed the next time they happen, because you will remember that they are just stupid, annoying things.


Automatic faucets. Because I seriously must be a vampire. Nothing I do gets these things to turn on. I am like a moron going from one to the next to the next and no water comes out, then some other person stands there while I’m muttering to myself about how these things never work and magically it works for them.

Loud movies. But you can’t understand the dialogue anyway.

Stickers that won’t come off tomatoes. I can’t get a piece of tape to stick to a box without wrapping it around like a mummy fourteen times. But that little bar code sticker on the tomato? Magic superglue. Inevitably you have to cut off a piece of the tomato. Or pepper. Or [insert thing with sticker here].

Getting to the post office at 2:04 on a Thursday to find out the post office only closes early one day a week, and that day is Thursday, and that time is 2:00. I mean, they would be just as closed had it been three or four pm, but missing it by four minutes is a lot more annoying than missing it by two hours.

When you need $35 for free shipping and your shopping cart total is $34.99. And the only way to save $5 on shipping is to buy some $20 item.

The fact that literally now means figuratively. I know language changes. I know we’re at a place in our social evolution where them is now singular, but a word either means something or it doesn’t. It can’t mean two things that are completely opposite of each other.

People who wear perfume/cologne like it’s 1986. There is enough going on in the world, so when I go out for a glass of wine I do not want to sit and inhale your fake flower stench all night.

When videos can’t load but the ads work just fine.

People who don’t hold a door when you’re walking in right behind them. And don’t say thank you when you hold the door for them. Because clearly that is your job.

Corollary annoyance: people who don’t do the thank you wave when you let them get in front of you on the road, because if you didn’t they’d be there until next Tuesday trying to make a left turn. And you end up getting the traffic light but they don’t bother to be courteous about it.

A group of people walking horizontally across a sidewalk. And it’s not like they even move if they see you coming in the other direction, because again, it’s YOUR JOB to step off the curb or something and get out of their way.

A particular annoyance that also happens to drive Ralph insane to the point that he has started photographing it every time it happens, with the net effect that of 20,000 photos on his phone, I’m convinced 12,000 of them are of people who can’t park in the lines.

I get it, we all drive SUV monstrosities now. But parking spaces are usually pretty big these days. And people park in such ridiculous ways that it’s stunning to me that they actually get out of the car and don’t think wow, I am LITERALLY, in the literal sense of the word, six feet over the line.

You aren’t going to deliver a baby, you’re just going to pick up Chick-fil-A.

People who get to the movie concession counter/deli counter/fast food window, and spend the next ten minutes figuring out what they want. Because they couldn’t do it in the twenty minutes you all spent standing there waiting.

Pistachios that won’t open.

I’m not even going to say beeping trucks. We’ve covered that in gory detail. But really. Beeping trucks. You know how the credit card readers in stores used to screech at you when you had to remove your card and then someone got smart and now some of them do a little ding instead? Maybe we could figure out a better way to keep construction sites safe without deafening half the neighborhood.

The refrigerator door that neither stays open nor swings shut but returns to some utterly useless midpoint that is in the least helpful position possible.

Pictures of beautiful workspaces where there is some perfectly clean desk with a monitor in the middle and a plant somewhere to the left but not a single power cord. And somehow you’re supposed to aspire to this version of organized space, meanwhile you have about 400 cables snaking across the room to three different outlets because otherwise you will blow a fuse. And every one of them has a giant brick attached because a simple plug is not sufficient to power whatever contraptions we have. Not to mention that every extension cord or power strip has slots for tiny plugs so when you actually have to plug in your brick adapters, they take up three slots each.

Gravity. Because it is solely responsible for everything I touch ending up on the floor. Multiple times in the same try.

Trucks that drive in the left lane while passing a sign that says no trucks in the left lane. And then causing a Parcheesi style roadblock by driving next to another truck in the right lane, neither of which will go a mile an hour faster or slower so the rest of the world can still function.

When someone interrupts you while you’re talking and never bothers to come back to what you were saying. I mean, it’s as easy as this:

Me: … and then the timer on the oven went off…

Person: Hold on, I have to order another cocktail. {{{flags down bartender}}} Ok. finish your story.


Having to bring a coat with me every time I leave the house on a 95 degree day because you know you’re going to end up someplace where the AC is down to 60. I get it. We want to be cool. But if I’m sitting in a restaurant I do not need arctic air blowing on me. In the winter it’s the opposite. You go anyplace and they crank the heat up so you end up stripping down to your t-shirt just to breathe. I feel like in this century, we should have been able to figure out climate control.

People who can only process one idea at a time.

Me in an email: are you available to talk this week? If so, give me a couple of good days and times.

Person: yes.

Me in a second email: great, can you give me a couple of good days and times?

Person: Tuesday.

Me in a third email: what time?

Person: morning.

Me: :::throws keyboard at wall and takes the rest of the week off:::

Or at the movies, I used to ask for a large buttered popcorn and always ALWAYS the person would ask “do you want butter on it?”

No, I don’t want any butter on my buttered popcorn. Can you make that happen? Great.

Facebook posts that start by saying “let’s see who my real friends are” and then proselytize about something that you are supposed to share or comment on to “prove” you’re a real friend. There is a word for that. Unfriend.

All customer service people. Like the one I had to give my address to the other day and I said “Iron Horse Lane” and had to spell it four times. And then when I said Franklin, Tennessee, she said Franklin, New York? And then when I said no, NOT New York. Tennessee. She said oh, ok. Franklin, Pennsylvania.

No, the connection was not bad.

People who are not named ‘Flo who call you sweetie or honeybunches or some other ridiculous term of endearment that makes you want to look in a mirror to see if you accidentally painted little rainbows on your face or maybe you’re wearing a tutu and just forgot.

People who send you unsolicited emails then follow up ten times to say how sorry they are to bother you but did you see their last email? And say things like “have you read my below email?” as if this is reasonable grammar for someone trying to solicit your business. Unless they want me to teach them English, go away.

People who send out mass emails and don’t BCC anyone so now you are stuck on a neverending reply-all.

The post office saying that you have to come pick up the package you paid to be delivered because it won’t fit in your mailbox. This happened recently when I ordered a table for our balcony via Amazon Prime, which is a thing I pay for, but since the table didn’t fit in a mailbox they would not put it in the mailroom or bring it to my door. I sent it back.

Thirty minutes of movie previews before every movie. Half the time I forget what I went to see in the first place.

The price of everything. Used to be gas was the thing you had to complain about. OMG, did you see the price per gallon??? Now we’ve got $6 donuts and $12 ice cream sundaes and $750,000 shacks that don’t even have a floor.

Slicing your finger open on the teeth on the edge of the plastic wrap box every time, even though it never cuts the plastic so you end up with a bloody wad of torn and crumpled up plastic that will never separate so you have to throw it away then juggle the box while you try to wield a pair of scissors to cut the plastic and wonder why this was ever invented and why you insist on using it.

The other day Ralph told me about a book he read once that talked about how we think of pigs are these dirty, aggressive animals but they are really super smart and gentle, except we put them in pens and cages and they basically lose their minds.

And that is what is happening to people.

We are getting crammed into ever-smaller cages, in spite of this thing we imagine about how free and independent we are.

We are still sitting in a can on a road in front of a traffic light, unable to move, stuck there without any say over what happens, getting angrier and angrier.

We are still sitting at the end of a phone queue talking to people who barely speak the same language we do on a good day, let alone when they literally don’t speak the same language, and we’re just cogs in a wheel we can’t control.

We are being shoved into smaller lives where the pursuit of profit reigns above all and we’re so “connected” that we’re disconnected from reality.

We’re bombarded by the worst of everything every day while simultaneously being told by everyone on social media how wonderful and amazing their jobs/lives/kids/vacations/dinners are. Nobody ever has an ugly power cord in their office and everyone’s toenails are always perfectly manicured.

Is it a wonder we get pissed when we get the 404 page and when we get on the shortest line in the grocery store but stand there the longest because someone can’t take their wallet out until the entire thing is rung up and bagged?

So we rail at the powers of the universe, but there is nobody to appeal to, it’s just us in a cage. And we are losing our minds.

Good thing I’m not actually annoyed today, isn’t it!

Mostly I’m reflecting. It’s good to remind yourself once in a while that the struggle is real. But it doesn’t give you permission to park like a moron.

Photo: come on. Just… come on.