Saturday, September 1, 2018

Random Rants

To most people and on most days I am a calm non-confrontational live and let live sort of fellow. Life is too short to be mean or angry all the time. I'm the guy who lets people merge on the expressway or allows someone with only a few items to cut in front of me at the grocery checkout lane. But there are some people or incidents that can work my proverbial last nerve and as my maternal relatives used to say, make me "lose my religion".

1) People who park or stand in front of LARGE no standing/no parking/fire lane signs or in handicapped spaces. If I were a cop I wouldn't ticket people for most minor infractions. Often a curt warning is enough to change behavior. But it takes a special sort of contempt for the law and everyone else to park in front of a sign that states no parking just because you don't feel like walking an extra few yards to whatever store you're patronizing. If I were a cop I would ticket everyone who did that. No exceptions. Forget about being polite. I would start by asking the driver "So are you stupid, illiterate or both?"  I have and had firefighters in my family. If there is a fire they really do need access to the fire lanes. Similarly if you're not handicapped then why the hell are you parking in a handicapped space. If it's that important to you, go have a horrific car accident or obtain some condition that leaves you enfeebled. I'm betting you would trade access to that handicapped space to have your full health and mobility back.

2) Grocery store clerks who are sick or have poor hygiene.  I'm picky about what I eat and what or who I have in my home. I know that we all have immune systems that work diligently to remove anything from our body that isn't us. But I say why give your white blood cells more work to do. With age our immune systems lose a step or two. Things they would have quickly eliminated in your youth can give them a run for the money when you're older. I don't like it when I'm in line to purchase groceries and the clerk who will handle my food is having a coughing or sneezing fit, picking her nose, scratching his private parts, digging in his ear, or taking out a visibly mucus soaked handkerchief to vigorously blow his nose right before reaching out to handle the food I intend to consume. If you're sick stay home. And if you need to do some personal grooming, please take a break to do that in private in the restroom.

3) Slowpokes on escalators. Where I work most people try to leave at 5 PM exactly. At that time the elevators stop at every floor and are packed like sardine cans. So I take the stairs or more rarely the escalators. When I take the escalators there will inevitably be someone who apparently considers it a point of pride to stand there not moving and reading their phone even though there are dozens of people behind them trying to walk down the escalator. Or maybe I'll be trapped behind a person who doesn't want to get even the slightest bit of gravity-assisted exercise and move their larger than standard issue behind down the MOVING steps. It's true there are some people who may have medical issues that make it difficult for them to walk down the escalator. But from what I see the primary issue is that the person thinks that the world will end if they don't check their texts, email or phone messages right this second.

4) People who drive WAY under the speed limit in the left lane. Speeding is wrong. You're putting your safety and that of others at risk. You shouldn't speed. That said at certain times and places posted speed limits are more than a bit unrealistic. But whether someone is pushing the limit or not, the left lane is for passing. So if you want to drive at the speed limit or WAY under the speed limit, the left lane is not for you. I have nothing against slow drivers. I slow down dramatically in bad weather or nighttime conditions. So I understand. But slow driving is not for the left lane. So please keep to the right. You'll be happier. And I won't have to tailgate you.

5) Coworkers or bosses who try to show you up in front of other people. There's always someone who asks questions in status meetings that are designed to make other people (e.g. you) look stupid while making themselves look smart. Maybe you told them something in confidence that they decide to blab to the world. Maybe they are sucking up to their boss and want to stab you in the back. Maybe they're trying to hid their own failures by making you the scapegoat. After getting burned more than few times by such people I developed a nastier side. I don't like it but it comes in handy sometimes. When you put people on blast in public I have found that they usually stop messing with you.

6) Contractors who think you're extra special stupid. When I find a decent contractor who has shown that he can handle a small job I want to know if he can handle a bigger job. Trustworthy people who do the job right the first time for a fair price are hard to find. Recently, when I asked a contractor for a quote on a larger job he called me his "brother" and quoted me a price that was at least three times the market rate. Well. Needless to say that schmuck didn't get that job from me. There are lots of ways to steal. Some people do it with a smile.

7) Barbers who feel that your time is their time. It must be good to be your own boss and have few external limits on your income, interests, or work habits. I hope to be in that position myself someday. But even self-employed people must consider customer interaction. I keep my hair very short. I have it cut every week or two. It doesn't take too much time to cut my hair. Or at least it wouldn't take much time if the barber does the job I'm paying him to do. I have run across too many barbers who feel that cutting hair is not as important as coming in late, leaving early, taking a lunch break in the middle of the haircut, carrying on long phone conversations in the middle of the haircut, stopping to watch the game, negotiating prices with the local bootleg DVD guy, or performing any other activity that isn't cutting hair. When I have to wait for more than an hour to get in the chair or spend more than an hour actually in the chair, that's when I find a new barber.

8) Micromanagers: bosses, friends, or intimates. If you want my help or if you happen to be in a position to order me to do something then I'll ask you to explain exactly what you want and when you need it. But once I know what you want and you agree that I know what you want, I don't need you hanging around watching my work, second guessing my decisions, saying you would have done it this way or worst of all, forcing me to do things your way. Because when you do that chances are that I won't offer to do such work again (if I have a choice in the matter) or work even slower on a task (if I don't).  If you don't think I can do the work don't give it to me. You can tell me what you need and when you need it OR you can do the work yourself. Pick one. We'll both be ever so much happier with each other.

9) Store clerks who investigate or mark your cash or ask for multiple forms of ID. You know I can buy anything or everything I want in your funky little store. I'm not paying with funny money and yes that is my name on my credit card. If the clerks do this to everyone well then ok, but if I get the feeling that's just me then I'll find another place to shop. I don't need extra irritation in my life.

10) People who ask the same question over and over. Micromanagers tend to do this a lot but it's not a tendency limited to them. This trait can also be found in shady salesmen who won't take no for an answer, deadbeat relatives trying to "borrow" money from you, and of course people suffering from OCD who literally can't stop themselves from checking on things. If you asked me a question and I gave you an answer trust and believe that the answer didn't change in the ten minutes since your first inquiry. I can be patient when it's children who do this but it makes me angry when adults do it. Usually it's best to end the interaction or completely ignore the person who behaves this way. Unfortunately this is not always possible.
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