Have You Ever Noticed…?

A Short List of Life’s Small Irritants

Let’s take a break from politics this week (Control yourselves. Stop all that cheering out loud!) This week, we are looking elsewhere for musings, reflections, and surprises.


In most of the country, people are swamped with ads and news about elections. Court rulings or legislative changes make even the familiar unfamiliar in some places.

This week, a friend (Thanks, Jerry) put me onto something good. It comes from an organization we both know and trust (Hello there, Pisgah Legal Services). This was a recommendation of an excellent voter guide. the guide comes from a most trusted source (Salute, League of Women Voters).

The League has produced an excellent, nonpartisan voters’ guide. It gives the reader about all you need to know to be an informed voter. It is https://vote411.org .

Upon landing on this site, you enter your address. From there, you get specific information on where and when you can vote and lists of candidates at all levels. You get links to more information from and about them. There is specific data on how register in your locale or check your registration. You can see what is on the ballot you will vote, and more.

This is great stuff. Oh, and you are welcome to make a small donation as thanks if you wish. By all means, check it out.

OK, That Is It for Politics Today

Let’s get on to what else irritates us! Next session, we will celebrate some of our favorite small pleasures in life. In some ways, this posting is an homage to Andy Rooney. Andy reigned as America’s best example in at least a generation of the Ideal Curmudgeon. The CBS program 60 minutes was where he held court for years. We all loved it. I miss him still. If you have forgotten how good he could be, there is a link at the end of this posting to one of his better shows.

So, with a tip of the hat to Andy, ask yourself:

Have You Ever Noticed…?
  • A Lack of Seasons. Much of the country is getting beat up by the weather this year. We have missed this effect, tucked as we are on the leeward side of the Appalachians. We watch ominous storms approach, only to have them hit the mountains, turn left, and proceed to pummel the mid-Atlantic region.
    The downside of this is that we have effectively had no winter. No long cold snaps, no measurable snow. Have you ever noticed how it throws your mind and body biorhythms off when you seem to miss a season? We lived in Hawaii for a while. Lovely place, but we pined for Fall every year. Most of us need the seasonal changes to feel time properly passing and the world being in balance.
  • Spelling Errors. I expect a lot of spelling errors on Facebook and in similar places. Even on blogs occasionally, (but surely not on this one….). But have you noticed that of late, such errors are everywhere? I am finding typos, grammar errors, and misspellings everywhere. In the NY Times and Washington Post, on corporate web sites, in books, for heaven’s sake. With education, spell checks, editors, proofreaders, and some professional standards, we could catch most of these. But we are not. I have never seen it this bad. Before long, we are going to look like the web sites of so many Trump administration entities. Good grief.
  • Senior Sleep. Have you noticed that at a point in life where people usually need more sleep, it’s harder to obtain? I hear seniors complaining all the time about the quality and duration of their sleep. That doesn’t seem fair.
  • Sudden Illnesses; how much time do we have? OK, not a small irritant here, but something that I reflect on from time to time. I have lost count of the number of people I know who live healthily, are fit, have no bad history, no bad habits, but fall ill with life changing effects. One day are you Queen of All You Survey. The next day, you have a stroke and cannot communicate or concentrate. This might get better. It might not. Or you are just living your life and feel a little discomfort. Turns out all your heart valves are bad, and you need major surgery – tomorrow. The point is none of us know how many cards we are dealt in the game of life. Nor do we know what quality those cards may be on the last round. You might want to cherish and make full use of the good cards you hold today.
  • A Sense of Vulnerability to Global Illness Due to Global Travel. This latest killer bug from China has us all on edge. One reason is that the world is so mobile now. Any disease can spread exponentially in any number of directions with lightening speed. One need not panic, but our sense of dread is justified.In a connected world, we are all at risk in ways not possible before. This is yet another reason for us to consider there are no “others.” We are all on the same ship in space. What happens anywhere can affect anywhere. Out of self-preservation if not out of humanity, care about what happens around the globe.
  • Weariness for Some Normalcy and for Less Conflict. Have you noticed that even with political passions, we hunger these days for a quieter time? We crave less conflict and more serenity in our midst. This is part of the appeal of some candidates – they seem to offer more stability. It is a good time to remember that some politicians (and some preachers, commentators, and others) crave conflict. They need it to feed their machines. They want you to feel angry and threatened.
  • The Angrier Something Political on TV Makes You, The More Likely You Are to Yell at the TV. Sorry, the TV is not listening. But we all tend to do it. I find it helps to mute the TV and make up your own dialogue that the source of irritation might be uttering. Try it. It’s more fun than listening to what some are actually saying.
  • Why Can’t They Put the Gas Port on the Same Side of All Cars? Have you noticed that where they put the gas tank portal for cars seems totally random? I have two cars, both made the same year by the same manufacturer. Yet the gas ports are on opposite sides.Even though the little arrow on the gas gage reminds where to find the port, I go to the wrong side as often as not. When I rent cars on travel, I often get it wrong. This is irritating. Put them all in the center of the back of the car, where they used to be, or pick one side and put them all there. Don’t even get me started on dashboard layouts.
  • Have You Ever Noticed This Common Irritant in Service Lines? It seems that the longer you are in a line to order food, the more likely someone in front of you arrives at the head of the line undecided as towhat they want. They have questions. They have doubts. It’s a sandwich! Just order, dammit! I think all such lines should be placed on those moving sidewalks like we see in airports. Get your order organized or lose your turn, go back to the end of the line and try again.
  • Laundry Hampers are Alive. I am convinced the clothes and linens in my laundry hamper secretly breed at night while I sleep. Suddenly the thing is overflowing. This seems to be the case almost daily. You, too?
  • About Newspapers. I hate those newspaper ad pages that are a full page behind the section but only 1/3 page, vertically, in front. The thing is a pain to handle. It often obstructs what I want to read, and such a portion of a page cannot be turned like a regular page. You have to take it out completely. Destroy these things! I often read my paper electronically but enjoy the feel of a real newspaper frequently. These types of ads seem to be spreading like kudzu. Be gone, you irritants of life. They join the long-standing irritant of subscription cards that fall out of magazines.
  • Ads in the Middle of Videos. I watch a lot of videos. I don’t mind a short ad or two up front if I am not on a premium service. I mean, it seems fair that I have to watch an ad or two as the price of watching something I did not pay for in any other way. I especially like it when they tell me how long said commercial will run. But of late, some idiot came up with the brilliant idea of stopping a video in the middle and running an ad. A little box comes up and says “The Video Will Resume After This Ad.” No, it won’t. Whatever it was, no matter how much I enjoyed the video, I am gone. I move on to something else to watch. This is the electronic version of coitus interruptus, with about the same level of irritation.
What about You?

How does this list strike you? What is on your short list?

Cheer up – Next Time Out – Life’s Little Pleasures. And now, here’s Andy Rooney. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGCg6EO-sr4

               Bill Clontz

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(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here.

(2) Share the word about this post with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts (https://agentsofreason.com). Let’s grow our circle.


4 replies to Have You Ever Noticed…?

  1. Bill, The gas filler issue is interesting, and I have tried to rationalize the system for deciding what side is most advantages for any manufacture to settle on. I even thought manufacturers split the decision between themselves to make it possible for many cars to enter the gas pump lanes from the same direction but use opposite pumps. Now you tell me your gas access from two vehicles from the same manufacturer are on opposite sides. I give up…must be an engineering thing based on chassis or something.

    • Jerry, you would appreciate that I read your comment first, before the heading. As I finished it, I said to myself, “I bet Jerry wrote this.” Great minds think alike, I suppose. By the way, both those cars I mentioned are Fords, so you should be especially interested!

  2. Excellent! And how about the “You’ve won!” notices that take over your screen and won’t go away until you totally reboot?! Grrrr!!

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