Well, That is More Than a Little Irritating

One Person’s List of Life’s Minor Irritants

Now That You Mention It…

Life is full of both big moments and little ones, every day and forever. Such is the deal for us all. I got to thinking the other day about what a list of things that are not really consequential but irritate the heck out of me.

The following is my list (at least the list as it stands today). As noted in the closing of this article, I am curious as to your thoughts along these lines. Here we go, in no special order, with my Baker’s Dozen of life’s small irritants:

  1. Men’s Suits Tops: There has been a growing trend in recent years of men’s sport coats and suit jackets fitting much tighter. Well-tailored form fitting is nice, but too many are too tight, forming a pulled button at the center and a tie playing peekaboo at the bottom. It looks infantile. Knock it off, guys – especially those on TV a lot.
  2. Floppy Collars: I railed about this a couple of years ago, but with more and more people appearing on TV or at live speaking engagements without a tie, time to restate the gripe. Open collars for such occasations should look crisp in the open position, not flopping around and sometimes with the shirt opening so large as to show a t-shirt. Not good. Look in the mirror before stepping out, please.
  3. Sloppy Dress: Society in general, and my community in particular, have gotten increasingly casual in dress just about everywhere, for every occasion. That is fine; people should be reasonably comfortable. But when going somewhere that other people have gone to a LOT of trouble to prepare and ensure you have a good experience, it seems to me one way to say thanks is to dress a bit out of respect for their efforts in our behalf.

    It is a way of saying “You have made this a special occasion: I dressed to show I respect that effort.” Yeah, I know – kind of old fashioned, but there I stand.

Social Graces
  1. Wandering Eyes: Nothing strikes me as more disrespectful and shallower than ignoring the person talking to you. I really hate seeing someone talking to another person and that second person keeps looking around the room. Looking for someone more interesting? Looking for someone to show off to? For whatever reason, this is really poor conduct. Give people your attention or be gone.
  2. Directions: People who ask for directions to a planned event strike me as being a bit lazy, by and large. A couple of comments earlier, I admitted I can be a bit old fashioned. Here I am the opposite – use the darn technology, people! For most people (and I know there are some exceptions), we have GPS, smart phones, computers, Alexa, Siri, et al.

    It is not hard to look up a destination and a route in advance. It should not be the host’s responsibility to provide directions for everyone. Look it up yourself and only ask for directions if doing it yourself fails. But try!

  3. Thanks for having me.“ People use this phrase all the time, especially when a guest on some sort of program. I always find the phrase cringe-worthy. It sounds like what one would say if they were pleased a cannibal chose them out of a line up, or something a sex worker might say to a satisfied client.

    How about instead something like, “Thanks for inviting me,” or “Thanks for the opportunity to talk about this with you and your audience.”

  1. Links You Cannot Open: I subscribe to a lot of news and various focus area clipping services. Probably too many, but that is another conversation. I find it really irritating when a headline or lead statement looks interesting, I click on it, and only then find I have to be a subscriber to read the article.

    Some services tell you this on the lead in element for the link, but most do not, and that is irritating. Don’t put something in a clipping service that requires a subscription, or at least put them in a separate section. Turns out I subscribe to most of these places anyway, but not all. Let’s not lead people down a blind alley, you editors.

  2. Email Calls: This has gotten rarer in recent years, but occasionally I still encounter people who send you an email, then call 10 minutes later to see if you got it. Seems they don’t get the purpose of email (or text messages). The whole idea is that people will read and reply at times that make sense to them. If you are going to call or if it is a time sensitive matter, just make the call and don’t clutter someone’s in box.
  3. Driver Irritant Number 1: It appears that a huge number of people who drive have no idea at all that the short stick on the left side of their steering wheel has a really useful purpose. That little stick allows everyone around you know if you plan to turn, and if so, in what direction. That makes it safer and easier for everyone around you to do their thing safely and smoothly. People think they do not need to use a turn signal when they do not see other traffic. Wrong.

    This is how you wind up missing use of the turn signal when it is needed from time to time. I think of the turn signal as being like something on a pilot’s checklist. You use the function every single time you turn. That way, it becomes an ingrained habit permanently. Those of us who share a street with you thank you in advance.

  1. Crummy Looking Empty Property: One often sees land/structures, especially in urban areas, that are owned by someone but empty and unkept, often for years. I would welcome really painful local ordinances that clearly require owners to keep up property, occupied or not.
  2. NOW You Make a Decision? Ever stand behind someone in a long line, say for not-so-fast food, only to find that they start deciding what to order when they finally get to the head of that line, not before. There should be a service charge for that. If you have a question, have a decision ready to go when you get whichever answer one might expect. Be courteous to those long suffering folks in line behind you and move it along, please.
  3. Seasoning: I am struck how many people, based on my observations, put salt on restaurant food before tasting it. I am inclined to trust the chef until proven otherwise. Besides, we all would do well to consume less salt, so hold off until you know some salt is needed. On the other hand, restaurants that do not have salt and pepper shakers out are being a bit presumptuous, wouldn’t you say?
Cardinal Sins
  1. This year there is only one such major sin: People who vote the wrong way. OK, that is not a small irritant and the results could be disastrous. Sorry to bring in a serious matter, and a political one at that. But we shall not miss any opportunity between now and NOV ccc to call each other out to show up, stick with it, do the right thing.
See You Next Week

In the meantime, how did this list compare to yours? Any old standbys here for you? What is on your list that I left off of this one?

Bill Clontz

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4 replies to Well, That is More Than a Little Irritating

  1. Men wearing hats indoors. (Yeah, I’m old school.)

  2. Wow Bill tell us how you really feel. This is a whole new side of you. I would just say these words from an old Bob Dylan song, “The Times they are a changing”. Peace and keep writing.

    • Ha! Well said, Tom. I suppose at times it feels like too much change, other times not nearly enough.

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