Friday, 2 April 2010

Other people's habits that irritate me.

It may be no wonder as to why I've never had a really close friend, either M or F, let alone having a partner - and it's highly unlikely that I ever will have one, though I'm not closing off the possibility for evermore.
I've never been able to abide noisy eaters. In my 'living-in-a-bubble' life this irritation comes to the fore frequently in trains. Sometimes I just want to yell out when a nearby passenger tucks interminably into a packet, or packets, of crisps (potato chips in U.S.) It's so damned disruptively distracting. Eating apples is almost as bad. I think such practices ought to be permitted only in private, either individually or with co-consumers. I direct almost the same level of 'aaaaaaargh!' at mobile phone users who seem to insist that their side of the conversation must be heard by every single person in their carriage. Why? One doesn't (usually) hear every word of a direct conversation going on at the far end of the same carriage, at least not with the same regularity. Why do phone-users have to raise their voices so? (I take heart in knowing that in this case at least there is a substantial numberof people who are on my side.)
Talking of travelling on trains, I also can't abide those slovenly and uncaring passengers who place their shod feet on the seat opposite. Doesn't it even cross their parochial little minds that another passenger is inevitably going to have to sit directly down on the street-dirt that the offending person has brought in on the soles of their shoes? One sees the same practice in cinemas and theatres with certain, usually younger, members of the audience draping their entire lower legs over a vacant seat in front of them, again resulting in their dirty shoes coming in contact with the seat-fabric. It's so ill-mannered! This unsavoury behaviour only started to happen within the last 2 or 3 decades but now it's omni-present. I don't mind in the least if a train passenger first removes his/her shoes. Just simply placing a newspaper on the seat opposite indicates some degree of forethought and care, but seeing such is so rare.
I was going to go on with several more pet peeves but just reading what I've written above I seem to be coming over as a cantankerous, intolerant, old fart, which may be true ("Things were so much better in my day. But now the world's going to the dogs!") so I'd better call a halt - for the time being. But it may be clearer now as to why I've gone through my life without ever having had an especially close companion. Actually, when I put it down in black-and-white it's becoming clearer to me.


  1. If you're a cantankerous, intolerant, old fart, well than so am I. With the invention of the cell phone, we took a step forward and several giant steps backwards. Today, the mobile is a symbol to show the world how important I am. In the checkout line at the supermarket, in the line at the bank, etc., these people are babbling in loud voices about the most inane things: "I'm at the supermarket trying to decide what toiletpaper to buy" well, you get the picture. I call the cell phone "the new nicotine." You go to a restaurant, people are not conversing with their dinner compainion, but fingering their phone as if they have to have a fix. When they get their fix, they disrupt everyones dinner with their loud, stupid talk. I could go on, but it is pointless. With the sense of entitlement in today's world, I believe you are going to see more and more bad manners.

  2. I fear you're right, Paul. What's it going to be like in, say, 20 years time? - "yap, yap. yap....." I don't in the least mind when it's something really important, but 90% of what one hears (or can't HELP hearing) is so INCONSEQUENTIAL, dammit!. It's almost as though the talker wanted to 'show off' that she (and, I have to say, it's usually a 'she') owns a phone. And, oh yes, I've not only never owned a mobile phone, I've never even held one! - But I don't have any friend to talk to in any case.

  3. How much worse can it get in 20 years? Ummm... don't answer that. It can get worse. Much worse.

    As for cell phones, one good thing about the popularity of people 'texting' each other is that it spares the rest of us from hearing their inane conversations.

    I don't know why folks need to talk loudly into a cell phone. Greg does it at home where it's just the two of us and is otherwise dead silent. Maybe it's because the microphone on a cell phone isn't even remotely close the the user's mouth such that we feel the need to speak up lest it not pick up our voices.

    Just yesterday on the highway a big van swerved in front of me causing me to slam on my brakes. It crossed four lanes of traffic and barely made it to the exit ramp. As I passed it, I saw that the driver was an Asian female (double stereotype) who had an iPhone in one hand and was typing with the other. No doubt she was using her knees to steer. This is who I think is truly rude in our modern society: folks who insist on texting while driving and have complete and utter disregard for the safety and well being of the rest of us. I pray people come to their senses and stop doing this!

  4. Ray, you aren't asking them to reject technology or asking them to conduct themselves is some draconian fashion; you are expecting people to be responsible and reasonable, especially when others are around, two things it seems humanity is having a hard time with.

    Public cell phone activity/texting bugs me as well. Most of those millions of calls/texts on that tiny box are quite meaningless and useless.

  5. Larry, using a mobile phone while driving has been a criminal offence in the UK for a couple of years now - but people still do it, even though, if caught, there is a mandatory fine and penalty points scored against one's driving licence.
    I too often wonder why people feel obliged to talk loudly when on the phone, ANY phone, and I must confess I catch myself doing it on my domestic land-line, the only phone I have. I wonder if it's because the listener being out-of-sight one's brain thinks s/he must also be out of normal ear-shot. I'd like to know of any studies done into the psychology of this.
    Texting can indeed be a preferable option, but it's very quickly become a plague, in cinemas especially, where one is distracted throughout the film by blue lights flashing on and off randomly.
    Kyle - yes, it all comes back to the thought one might have thought was obvious, viz "How would I myself feel if I was subjected to someone else behaving in the way I do." It's so simple, but we are going in the direction of the 'ME FIRST and damn the rest!' society.
    It's also so sad to see the atrophy of good, face-to-face conversation and well-written correspondence, but even our educational institutions now seem to think such losses aren't really THAT important. So I'm back to regarding myself as the unfashionable and ridiculous 'cantankerous old fart'.