Petty annoyances

There are things that annoy me day-in and day-out and I find there are more of them as I grow older. I suppose this is what is meant by “grumpy old man.” In any event, I thought I’d list a few annoyances that I run into now and then. Keep in mind that I rarely express my annoyance at these things in an outward fashion. Mostly I just brood internally and then do my best to forget about it. But these things keep coming up.

We have the most inefficient elevators I’ve ever encountered in the building in which I work. The building is 12 floors and there are 4 elevators, which is plenty, but the people who put in the elevators failed to program them with the proper elevator algorithm, or so it seems to me. Most of the time, the elevators do what they want, regardless of what button you press, and more often than not, you spend more time waiting for an elevator than riding in them. I have on my bookshelf at work Donald Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming and in the third volume, I believe, is the optimal algorithm for elevator efficiency. I think I’ve even read that this algorithm has recently been improved, but in my building, the elevators seem to get worse and worse. Compare this to the elevators at the Dolphin hotel in Orlando, Florida where I don’t think we ever waited more than 5 seconds for an elevator.

The main lobby in my office building has three doors. Two glass doors on either side and a revolving door in the center. For the last several days, both side doors have been labeled as Out of Order and I’ve been forced to use the revolving door. Both side doors at the same time? Come on!

I will occasionally go to the McDonald’s in the mall below my office building to get a Sprite. Every day this week, they have been out of Sprite. What kind of place is out of Sprite 4 days in a row? It certainly can’t be a shortage since 19 other places in the food court all have Sprite. Frankly, this particular McDonald’s is often out of stock. They are sometimes out of ketchup for instance. The shake machine is frequently malfunctioning. I think the only thing that keeps it from failing is idiots like me who keep returning for their Sprite as a matter of principle.

It’s that time of year when the mall is flooded with kids touring Washington, D.C. They are given food vouchers and they fill the food court of the mall during lunch hour. They have no sense of their surroundings. It seems that I always end up behind a group of these kids as I pass through the mall and that for no reason, they stop mid-stride, completely unaware that they are holding up traffic, so to speak. I wonder if I was ever like that?

The cold water faucet on one of the bathroom sinks at work does not function. It hasn’t functioned for two weeks. I could have reported this to our Facilities department two weeks ago, but I am always reporting stuff (like my complaints about the elevators) and I wanted to see if anyone else would take the time to do it. Nope. The faucet is still not functioning.

On Metro escalators: walk on the left and stand on the right! (Only regular commuters can appreciate this one.)

There is a ton of construction going on around my Metro station and it adds a dozen minutes or more to my commute every day. It’s been like this for nearly a year and from what I understand, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Lately, an unusual amount of spam email about the next stock to hit it big has been finding its way into my inbox. I mark it as junk but they still manage to slip through multiple layers of protection, like a wayward sperm cell that doesn’t know any better. In this case, I’m less annoyed with the email messages and more annoyed with my spam filters.

“Loud talkers in restaurants. I despise them all, and I want them to die.” [1]

Real estate agent junk mail. I get volumes of junk from local real estate agents asking me to sell my house. They all seem to include their pictures on their advertisements. Why is this? Is their face their fortune? Do people pick real estate agents by the way they look? I have this fantasy that plays through my mind every now and then. I imagine that I save up a boxful of these fliers, and then one day, I see one of these agents at the grocery store (recognizing them from their picture), follow them home, and once they are inside, dump the box worth of junk into their mailbox. Take that, you rascals!

I can never remember how to spell “occasionally”. No matter what I do, I get it wrong. Is it two c’s and one s, or vice versa. No matter what I do, it doesn’t stick.

That’s enough for now. But I am curious: what are your petty annoyances. And don’t say blog posts about petty annoyances; I’m looking for some good ones.

[1] From L. A. Story


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