1. I am annoyed by people who talk on their cellphones and/or text while driving. I suspect that nearly everyone in this day and age (unless he is dead) has had the cultural experience of fellow drivers texting on one of any number of digital devices while operating their cars. Closely akin to that behavior, is the other habit which, because of the sequence of technology development, actually came on the scene first. To wit: talking on the ubiquitous cellphone while driving. I think I must have witnessed the ultimate of this phenomenon a week or so ago when I observed a young woman negotiating a 90 degree corner in her SUV (what else?) as she was holding a Big Gulp in her left hand, had a cigarette dangling from her lips, and her cellphone crunched between her right ear and shoulder while she was handing a cookie to the child in the booster seat beside her. Now, that is multi-tasking!!!
2. I am also annoyed by the parking lot behavior of people who get into their cars, turn them on, put them in reverse so that the backup lights come on and then JUST SIT THERE!!! I never know if I should wait to see if they will make up their minds to actually move their cars as the backup lights indicate they will or should I continue driving past the rear of this vehicle and risk being backed into by a driver who, clearly, has no clue about what's going on around him .
Other irritating people one finds in a parking lot and their behaviors include:
A. While in a supermarket or mall parking lot, the inconsiderate shopper who refuses to put the, now unloaded, shopping basket into the convenient enclosure that the store has provided. Rather, he leaves the basket out in the open parking lot where a strong wind (fairly common in Texas and Oklahoma where I live) can propel it into the side of my car (or yours) with the resulting dent and/or scrape and the associated chipped paint. With the cost of auto body work these days, this is not merely an irritant---it can become a significant financial burden!
B. The driver who can't seem to understand that the big yellow arrow painted on the roadway between the lines of parked cars indicates the direction you are supposed to drive on that piece of Tarmac. Going in the direction opposite of the one indicated by the arrow is often, then, followed by BACKING into the selected parking space and doing so with such an astonishing lack of skill that the car, truck or SUV ends up being either crooked or off-center in the space. This, in turn, often results in the vehicle door banging into the adjacent car as the "backer in" attempts to exit his vehicle. I will never understand the imperative to back into parking spaces. Are these people planning on a short foray into armed robbery and trying to position themselves for a quick getaway from the scene of the crime? Are they frustrated long-haul trucker "wannabes"? If you have any idea, let me know.
C. The cross country type who feels unconstrained by the lines drawn on the parking lot to indicate areas where driving takes place and those where parking is encouraged and one can, therefore, expect stationary vehicles to be present. This driver refuses to be a slave to that convention. Rather, he goes where the spirit moves him, wandering erratically across the lot (usually at high speed), over the lines and through the striped areas, to find the parking spot meant just for him. You're lucky if he doesn't "T-Bone" you, when he emerges suddenly from behind a parked car (usually in your "blind spot") as you are trying to select your own slot.
3. I am irritated by people (even those I know) who call up on the telephone and just start a conversation without saying who they are. They presume (and it is extremely presumptuous, not to say rude, to do so) that you know who they are and there is, therefore, no need for the nicety of good manners. Similarly, it is, in my view, extremely rude for a person who calls at what, for you, is an inconvenient time and is told, up front, that you are just now walking out the door to keep an appointment, to then go on running his mouth as if you had all the time in the world to listen to him prattle on about nothing in particular.
4. And then there are the annoying people who talk about "past history" as if there is some other kind. Where I went to school, ALL history occurred in the past! How about the TV and radio commercials that offer "free gifts"? This, I suppose, is to differentiate them from "gifts" for which there is a charge. Don't these bozos know that if it is a "gift" it is, by definition, free? These are probably the same people who pronounce the second month of the year as if it is spelled and pronounced "FebUary" rather than correctly saying "FebRUary". But then, what's a little spelling/pronunciation issue to a polity that thinks "LOL" and "OMG" are sentences!!
5. Somewhat akin to bad spelling in general are the printed signs that I see in public places, and which are characterized by the proper endings being dropped off the words. This results in grocery stores having aisles or sections dedicated to "Can" (rather than "Canned")Vegetables, and parking lots with slots reserved for "Handicap" (rather than "Handicapped") Parking. Small thing, you may say, but it irritates me anyway. This is in the nature of me being a curmudgeon, so get used to it!
6. The phenomenon of bumper stickers offers frequent opportunities for me to be annoyed. But, perhaps, the most annoying of all, are those that proclaim some sort of relationship to a student at Texas A&M University. For those who are unaware of it, the "A" in A&M stands for "Agricultural" and, therefore, an undergraduate is known as an "Aggie. Thus, the bumper stickers under consideration include: "Aggie Mom", "Aggie Dad", "Aggie Grandma", "Aggie Grandpa", "Aggie Sister/Brother" and so on. I'm waiting to see the one that reads "Aggie Cousin Twice Removed". In fact, I'm told there is a custom decal shop in my area and I am planning on having them make me my own bumper sticker which willl read: "Not Related to an Aggie in Any Way". Failing that, maybe I'll just get a T-shirt.
7. One more late breaking irritation---Why do the people who provide internet service and email frequently just change my home page configuration willy-nilly? I know they are using the old "we're improving it" dodge but they're really just confusing guys like me. We used to have a saying in the Army that "Better is the enemy of good...". The internet folks would do well to adopt that philosophy!
Well, that concludes the first installment-----there will be more.