Call me Curmudgeon. (Along with ‘serendipity,’ ‘curmudgeon’ happens to be one of my favorite words in the English language. I adore the word’s peculiar blend of letters.) You’d think that with a December birthday and the upcoming holidays, I’d be full of good cheer. Well, bah humbug…
The other day I was returning home from running errands because that’s one of my preferred methods of procrastination. Sometimes I fold laundry. Sometimes I catch up on tv shows in the middle of the day and feel guilty about it (but only a tiny bit guilty). Often I play a quick round of Boggle on my iPhone. In this particular instance I was in my car and, bored with the music playing on the radio station, started compiling in my head the following list of shit that irks me, which I warmly dedicate to fellow curmudgeons everywhere.
List of Shit that Irks Me
- Tell me why owners of lightning fast German-made sports cars frequently drive well below the speed limit – in the left passing lane on highways. I drive a little red Honda Fit that’s essentially the 21st century equivalent of Fred Flintstone’s car. When I’m driving my little red Honda Fit, I regularly encounter these drivers, to whom I make an offer: give your beautiful car to me so I can give it the workout it deserves.
- Speaking of cars and drivers, tell me why only one out of 20 people stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. This number is based on a scientific survey I conduct every time I take Truffle to the local park. In order to get there, we need to traverse one of the main north-south roads in our town. When we reach the corner, I do not passively stand there, hoping for a miracle. I always conspicuously enter the crosswalk and put my hands up – not in surrender, but as a signal to the oncoming cars to STOP. Plus, Truffle is so full of himself you can’t not notice him standing by the side of the road, confidently waiting to cross. And yet, the cars zoom by, oblivious to our presence and not caring one iota that they’re breaking the damn law.
- Tell me why scammers think I’d be willing to provide them personal financial information when they call my house and inform me they’ve noticed a serious problem with the Windows operating system on my computer. Never mind the fact they can’t possibly know if my computer has been corrupted. Or that I own a Macbook and haven’t used Windows since my last office job. Are you schmucks serious? Stop calling me!
- Tell me why “The Good Wife” airs after Sunday night football. I hate football. Football culture is sexist and misogynist. And the fact that football, of all sports, always preempts one of my favorite tv shows, a tv show that happens to be about a compelling and realistically portrayed female protagonist, strikes me as yet another f**k you to half of the population. Just sayin’.
- Tell me why, after failing to access a health insurance website that mysteriously no longer accepts our password, my husband, who never uses said website, must speak to the customer service rep to have the issue fixed because he’s the covered employee, not me. You know what? Screw privacy. It’s not like it exists anymore. I’ve been married to my husband for 20 years. I know his social security number. Hell, I know him better than he knows himself. Next time, I’ll just follow the customer service rep’s advice and impersonate my husband. Because screw honesty, too.
- Tell me why my adorably crazy and exasperating labradoodle has suddenly decided – after 16 months in this world – that the cushions of our couch are the best damn thing he’s ever tasted.
- Tell me why “ability to listen closely to your customers” is no longer a requirement to obtain a job as a waiter. Although I am admittedly a picky eater, I am no Sally. I sometimes request minor changes when I place my order. My modifications are never complicated – they generally involve one ingredient. Without fail, my food inevitably arrives garnished with the crap I asked to have removed or missing the one item I asked to have added.
Yes, I know these are trivial complaints. I am privileged. My life is good and my family is healthy and generally happy.
But I have one final rant. It’s something that’s been festering for a long time and, if current events are any indication, will continue to fester for a long time to come. The list above – simply camouflage for what really and truly disturbs me.
At the root of my Baudelaire-like malaise is the short-sightedness – or willful blindness? – of the ever more vocal segment of the population that has fallen for the craven opportunism of so many of our politicians.
- Tell me why so many people continue to vote for a bunch of politicians who have absolutely no interest in improving their lives. You don’t want subsidized healthcare for your families? You don’t care about climate change? You believe that creationism is a science? You don’t want your daughters to have control over their own bodies? You don’t care that limits on individual contributions to national political parties have just been increased tenfold in the latest federal spending bill? Or that the same bill will make it easier for big banks to trade, all over again, some of the same complex financial instruments that caused the Great Recession? Or that many of your Congressmen would be more than happy to gut education funding in order to increase defense spending? Does our society’s continued racism, both institutional and casual, not make you feel nauseous and ashamed? How can you not demand stricter gun control measures to prevent children from turning schools into their personal shooting galleries? HOW IS ANY OF THIS OK, PEOPLE?
I am done, for now. Time for me to stop bitching and moaning, get off my butt and get more involved – to be the change, as Gandhi sort of said, but not really.
But first, it’s time for a drink and a toast: to better drivers, no more scammers, the end of the football season, websites that function properly, a dog that stops eating our furniture, waiters with listening skills and voters who will see the error of their ways before the next presidential election.
Dare I ask what shit irks you?