Sunday, March 27, 2011

Things That Annoy Me: A Sampler

It’s been a stressful 2011 so far, what with the various and sundry assaults on American values perpetrated by the banana-republic junta running Wisconsin these days. And stress only exacerbates my normal bent toward sarcasm, cynicism and refusing to suffer fools gladly.

So I’ve been a real treat to be around these days, let me tell you. Ask anyone.

As I do not anticipate this changing anytime soon (hey, just this weekend Governor Teabagger’s chief minion violated both the Wisconsin Constitution and a court order in his quest to get his union-busting bill turned into law, and neither he nor Governor Teabagger [a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries] can understand why anyone finds this objectionable), and as I have become more aware than usual about just how many things there are in the world that have no business being in a well-constructed universe, I have decided to present a list of non-political things that annoy the hell out of me.

Just to shake things up, you see.


1. Jewelry made by cutting up old coins.

I collect coins. My entire collection might buy a night at the local Holiday Inn here in Our Little Town, so it’s not like I’m cornering the market on numismatic treasures here, but I do rather like old coins. They have an artistry that you don’t generally find in modern ones and they are a bit of portable history – you can pick them up and wonder where they’ve been and how they got to you.

Destroying them in the name of costume jewelry is just morally febrile.

2. Waking up at 7am on a Sunday morning when there is no earthly reason to do so.

I have never liked mornings. Well, no, that’s not quite right. Mornings are fine, from midnight to 4am. It’s the 4am to noon shift that bothers me. And since morning people have taken over the world and demand my presence during those hours during the week, I look forward to not seeing those hours on weekends.

Seeing them anyway, with nobody forcing me to do so, is therefore Right Out.

This was never a problem when I was younger. I once spent an entire semester with my alarm set for 1pm to avoid sleeping through lunch, in fact. But that was a long, long time ago.

Man, this getting old thing really stinks sometimes.

3. Being asked to do useless work for free.

I don’t mind volunteering my time for worthwhile causes – I’ve done that all my life. And while I have no particular driving need to engage in productive labor at all times, I have always tried to give value for wages received. Further, if my employer prefers I waste my time doing useless things for wages, that’s their problem not mine.

But when I am required to I do useless things on my own time – time I am not allowed to work but must still account for, without receiving compensation for such accounting – that I find objectionable.

I don’t think that plan was very well thought out.

4. The sheer cussedness of small plastic objects.

Ever since my children were born, the house has been inundated by small plastic objects of dubious value, many of which came with meals. And you know, I could handle those.

It’s the ones that are supposed to be useful that really tick me off.

For example, we have a drawer full of plastic containers – the sort of things that you use to store leftovers in while they rot and then you have to throw them away. This drawer is full to the brim with such containers. No matter how you stack them, no matter how you arrange them, there is always one that sticks up and prevents the drawer from closing. And if you take that one out, another steps up and takes its place. I think I could take all of them out and the drawer would still stick on something.

Don’t even get me started on the vegetable crisper tray in the fridge that twists like an Escher print whenever you try to close it.

Someday I’m going to slam the fridge door closed anyway and just accept picking plastic shards out of my food for the rest of the afternoon as the price I had to pay for that moment.

5. The grocery store shrink ray.

When did food packagers decided that the proper response to rising costs was not to raise prices but instead to keep prices the same and shrink the package? All that happens is that the packaging-to-food ratio gets higher and higher and the usefulness of each individual package gets lower and lower.

And have you ever tried to make an old recipe based on those new packages?

A new can of tuna is 5 ounces. The old ones were 6.5 ounces. Chocolate chip bags are now 12 ounces instead of 16. And so on. So now I either make do with less or buy two packages and try to figure out what to do with the leftovers.

Just raise the prices.

That’s enough for now.

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