Sweating the small stuff

By By Matt Homer

By Matt Homer

Sometimes a finger sliver is more irritating than a blow to the head.

I realized this several weeks ago after failing to receive a fellowship I wanted. Although I was disappointed and a bit melancholy, I wasn’t really pissed off or irritated. Several days later, I found myself at the grocery store where I was offered a free sausage sample. I gladly took one, but was vexed when I couldn’t find any trash bins to throw away my small sample cup. Unlike my fellowship rejection, this really pissed me off.

The things that cause the greatest irritation can also be the most inconsequential. Here are 10 I’ve thought of over the past couple weeks (in no particular order):

1. Grocery store mayhem. In addition to the sample cup irritation, I also find myself incredibly annoyed when a food item has been mispriced, or when someone goes through the express lane with a shopping cart that obviously has more than 15 items in it (I was, however, impressed last week when a Smith’s cashier told such a customer to go to another line).

2. Just cut my hair. Why do hair cutters want to know my life story? All I really want is a haircut, not small talk.

3. Service at Chartwells. Whenever I’m standing in line at Chartwells Outtakes (in the Union or the Marriott Library), someone in front of me orders a latte or some other sophisticated variation of coffee. Too often, there is only one person working and this means I have to wait until the drink is prepared before I can purchase my item. It’s also annoying that they charge $3 for a chocolate bar when you can get a very high quality Cadbury bar for just $1 at Smith’s. So much for putting students (and their wallets) first. Also, why can’t they get debit machines so I can punch in my code instead of having to show ID every time?

4. I don’t want your credit card. Each week, I receive at least four credit-card applications. These come from the same banks that want me to start using electronic statements so they can save money on printing costs. The fewer printed balance statements they mail, the more credit-card applications they can peddle.

5. Roundabout roulette. The U has had a roundabout for a few years now and it’s time newcomers learn how to use it. Once inside, don’t stop to let other cars enter.

6. Speaking loudly doesn’t help non-English speakers understand. Spend some time abroad and you’ll hear plenty of Americans who believe the louder and more slowly they speak, the more likely non-English speakers will understand them. Word to the wise: If they don’t speak English, it doesn’t matter how loud you yell.

7. I want to breathe. If you reek of cigarette smoke, please don’t sit by me in class. I have to spend more time focusing on breathing and controlling my coughs than listening to the professor. Febreze might do the trick.

8. Spilling on a new tie. I don’t spill often, but when I do, it’s always on a new tie.

9. Jogging or dodging cars? A constant frustration to joggers is waiting at a red light. No matter how many times you push the button, it always takes too long for the light to change. And why do stopped cars waiting at a red light always inch forward when they notice you running through the crosswalk in front of them?

10. Bluetooth headphones. Why do some people wear these headphones, regardless of whether they’re talking on the phone? If you’re sitting in class, you can probably take it out.

Matt Homer