Wednesday, July 17, 2013

People Who Annoy Me -- Part 1

Sooner or later it was coming. Anybody who knows me at all has heard me complain at length about one group of people or another. It's a big list. So we'll call this Part 1 of an occasional feature.

Without further ado...

1. People who spit

Seriously? Aside from the occasional respiratory ailment, I can't think of a single time in my life when I've sat around thinking,

"You know? I think I'm in the mood to spit."

I'm not talking about people who use chewing tobacco or its variants. I don't understand why people use chewing tobacco, but that's not the focus for this post. And I'm not talking about people who do it as an insult. I get that, even though it seems a little too dramatic and cliched. I'm talking about people without anything else in their mouths who have nothing better to do at the moment than spit.

You know what the pavement beneath my feet needs RIGHT NOW? Spit.

I don't want to hear about overproduction of saliva. I don't really care what you say, what stories you've heard, what some underqualified TV doctor says, nothing -- this is not a thing now. Ok? I'm a pretty charitable person when it comes to people's medical concerns. Peanut allergies, gluten intolerance, soy sensitivity, lactose intolerance. I feel for you. But overproduction of saliva is NOT a thing. It's called being hungry or anticipating a meal. End of story. Our mouths are one of the dirtiest places on our body, so when you spit, you're just spreading disease. Stop being disgusting. Stop leaving little puddles of your germ-infested fluids all over the sidewalk.

2. People who talk on the phone in the bathroom

Let me give you a situation. You have a dinner party. You've had a wonderful meal, and you've moved the conversation into the living room. You and a few friends are sitting on couches catching up on the last few weeks, telling jokes -- you get the gist. All the water you drank during dinner starts to do its work, and you begin to hear nature's call. It's only natural at this point to say, "Hey, John, listen. I gotta go to the bathroom. Why don't you come with me and talk to me while I take out my penis and urinate. This conversation is too good to put on hold for even a second."

Nope. In almost 37 years of life, I've never proposed or had this proposed to me.

Even so, a few times a week, I'm in the bathroom in a store or a restaurant or at work and hear guys talking on the phone while they pee or while they sit on the toilet. You wouldn't ask someone to watch you do that, so why do you take someone in with you on the phone? Why don't you make a decision? Which is more important to you right now: finishing your phone conversation or emptying your bowels? If your bathroom situation is so urgent, is it so difficult to say, "Hey, listen, can I call you back in a few minutes? I'm not in a good place to talk right now." And I can't say I've ever heard an interesting phone conversation in the 


This place? Not your office.

"Ok, Jim, let's go ahead and put together an action plan on that one."

"Shut up! Are you serious? He said what?"

"I dunno. I'm thinking about seeing that new Superman movie this weekend."

These conversations can wait.

Oh, and one more thing. It's extremely difficult to wash properly while holding a phone to your ear. Soap, warm water, 15 seconds of handwashing. Otherwise you shouldn't even bother. It's rare enough to see a man do more than splash water on his hands (I call the average male handwashing maneuver "The Wicked Witch of the West" -- wouldn't want to melt from too much contact with water), and I NEVER see a dude on the phone wash his hands. Hey, your boyfriend just wiped his ass with one hand and held the phone to talk to you with the other. And he still has particles of crap on his hand. Remember that when he helps you cook dinner.

3. People who order at the drive through, when they should've gone inside

I think every drive through interaction should focus on convenience. A good drive through order is simple, to the point, difficult to screw up. Because you're going to give your order to some person making $7.25 an hour to do a job they hate. You may think they should do their best regardless of the job, regardless of the pay. Funny thing, though, your expectations don’t translate to their actions. Go ahead, set your expectations. Get too loud about it, though, and you're likely to get their expectorations.

You want a number 3 combo, but with extra pickles, no tomatoes, hold the mayo, oh, and add cheese on the side and some ranch sauce, and on your second order you want a number 4 combo, no pickles, extra tomato, extra mayo, and no ice in your drink -- half regular, half diet, of course. And on a third separate order you want...

You get the point. You know what you're not getting? What you want.

And that guy in the car behind you, the one with 30 minutes for lunch, just trying to grab a quick hamburger? Yeah, he gets to listen to you go back and forth over the tin can speaker at the menu board, gets to wait while you fish through all your bags and argue with the poor sap at the window who's going to spit on your replacement order, gets to inhale his burger before heading back to work.

You didn't get what you want -- an inconvenient situation for you, but one you should have anticipated. The guy behind you is late to work. To be fair, his schedule isn't your responsibility, but I'm just illustrating the chain of events. The manager of the restaurant probably gets to hear you complain about the service at the drive through, something he can’t really fix. The people who would give good service at a drive through don't work at drive throughs. They make more money doing something else, and if you pay fast food workers more money, your extra value menu becomes decidedly more expensive.

Do everyone a favor. If you have a tenuous grasp of English, if you have complicated special requests, if you plan on spending more than, say, $30 -- just go inside.


Since I've spent roughly a thousand words belittling the very people who may now be reading this blog, now is probably the wrong time to express this, but please -- don't get me wrong.

I have friends and/or family who do all of these things, and I don't love them any less. As it turns out, I'm good at separating people's good behavior from their bad behavior. At the risk of sounding incorrigibly rude, if you and I speak on a semi-regular basis, then even if you do the stuff I've listed or the things that will come up in future installments, I obviously think your good qualities outweigh your bad. I'd say I don't want to know the terrible things people think about me, but maybe I need to hear some of them (though this isn't necessarily an invitation). I think recognizing and changing the bad stuff makes us better people tomorrow than we are today.

So, buck up! I might hate most of the things people do, but I still like a few people. Just don't call me from the bathroom.

In future installments:

--People who get "offended"
--People who never left high school
--People who can recite the complete lineups of every NFL team or sing the lyrics to dozens of songs they love or keep track of all the characters and plot lines on their favorite TV show, but can't sort out the difference between "your" and "you're"
--Religious people who won’t take “no” for an answer
--Anime/JRPG Fans (closely related to the religious people listed above)
--Sports fans who keep talking to me about sports even though they already know I don't follow sports
--Geeks who criticize every movie, game, or book they encounter
--People who make lists of stuff that annoys them


  1. You and I are annoyed by the same things. Please vacate my head... there's not enough room for the both of us.

    And I cannot wait for the next installment!!

    1. Terese,

      Cross your fingers -- maybe I'll cover some new ground for you next time. Or maybe I'll just mine your head for some more material...

  2. 'The most amazing' blog. Really loved the bathroom/phone part.

    1. This special ordered drive thru hamburger is RAW!

  3. While I would like to point out that not ALL drive-thru workers have optical-rectomitis (a shitty out-look on life), a few of them actually are good people going through hard times in their life... BUT, for the most part they do suck! Everyone who annoys you, they annoy me too, I just never even thought about it so in depth - LOVED IT! Can't wait for "People who get offended"... ;)

    1. That's true, Heather. We all started somewhere. In fact, my first job in high school was at the drive thru at KFC (it's frightening how long ago, too).

      The next installment isn't coming immediately, but stay tuned, and I promise I won't disappoint with part two.

  4. Lord help me, but this will be good. Where's the popcorn?