Saturday, May 13, 2006


What I Dislike

Last week at a dinner party a friend said to me (and to my partner): "I can't imagine that there is a place, a person or a thing about which you guys wouldn't have something positive to say."

Since I am the kind of person who often likes to take on a challenge, I proceeded to come up with a list of things that I dislike.

Here it is.

1. Men who sit on the subway with their legs spread apart.

What gives? I asked my partner what the deal was with this kind of behavior and being a somewhat proper British man he became embarassed until I pressed him for an answer. Then he leaned forward and whispered into my ear; "They're trying to keep the pressure off of their balls."

But if pressure on balls is such a problem, then why do so many other men manage to sit within the confines of the subway seat and not spread apart their legs? I think that the leg-spreading has to do with some sort of inferiority-complex-territoriality-thing that I don't even begin to understand as a woman. You know, as a woman, it is not exactly exciting to spread your legs apart on the subway. It sends the wrong signal and knee-rubbing with strangers is not exactly a turn on.

Lately I've tried to observe these leg-spreaders. I've decided they often have a definite sneer on their faces, as if they are daring you to tell them to shut their knees together.

One day I imagine I will snap and order a man to do just that. This will not be a good thing to do. It will not be a good day.

2. Men who insist on reading the newspaper during rush-hour with the pages spread wide open.

This item is closely related to item 1. Why does anyone need to open a newspaper to its fullest width? And why do this during rush-hour? I mean, I get that manners have fallen by the way-side in the States, but isn't it just a little bit embarassing to spread your newspaper open to the point that you are inconveniencing other people? Don't you care? I mean, okay, obviously, you don't care.

If your job is so important that you must absorb all of the Wall Street on the way to work then, for God's sake, take a cab. If you can't afford a cab to work everyday, then you aren't that important. Taking the subway and spreading open the newspaper all the way isn't fooling anyone into thinking you are some kind of 7 figure salary earner. And, yes, I realize how offensive this sounds. But I know people who are important enough to take said cabs to work . . . and they do just that. They won't take the subway. And no, I am not such a person. But I also don't spread open my newspaper.

3. Cashiers who hand back change, bills and the receipt in a fistful.

One upon a time, a cashier used to count back your change. For example, let's say that something cost $4.56. You handed the cashier a $10. The cashier would give you $.44 and say, "Here is 5." This gave you enough time to put the coins in your purse (or coin purse) and put your hand out again. Then, the cashier would hand you $5 and say, ". . . and 5 makes 10." At this point, you could put away the bills, and wait to receive the receipt. These days, you are sullenly handed everything at once. It's a clumsy way to handle change, and yet, as in items 1 and 2, no one seems to care any more if you are made to look clumsly.

It pisses me off.

4. Young women who yack on the cell-phone while waiting in line at the post-office, then don't turn off the phone once they are waited upon.

I was recently subjected to a young woman (who, by the way, hadn't gotten the message that super straight dyed hair is out) going on and on about her completely irrelevant and uninteresting personal life on a cell phone. When she got to the window at the post-office, she continued to yack away and the man behind the counter couldn't tell if she was talking to him or to the phone. When he asked her, "Excuse me, are you talking to me?" she snapped at him and snarled, "I'm on the phone. Can't you tell?"

I just about bit her head off on behalf of the postal worker.

5. Women who (and sorry, it generally is women) have such self-entitlement issues that, when sitting on the floor in a bookstore and reading a book, they will not move if you need to look at a title that is right behind their bodies.

It's like, "I'm reading this book, and I'm sitting on the floor, and that is so much more important than your need to look at a particular title that I'm not moving." I find this behavior akin to the challenge of driving in Boston. It is as though by avoiding eye-contact with you, you might not want to look at the book that badly after all. I mean, what gives? God. I'm getting so upset just thinking about it. It annoys me so much that I make it a point to look at several titles behind said squatter, and if she still won't move, I end up saying, "Excuse me, but I need to look at some books behind your head" in the bithchiest way possible.

6. Actresses who analyze their non-existant careers in a loud voice on the subway.

This may just be a New York thing, but I don't understand these pseudo-dramatic people who want to discuss their "careers" on the subway. This happened to me the other day; I, and a car-full of quiet New Yorkers (who were neither leg-spreaders nor newspaper spreaders) had to listen to this woman go on and on about how she was coming to terms with the fact that she was a Catherine Zeta Jones type and not an ingenue and how she was accepting this even though she wasn't sexually confident, and how she had recently hired some personal coach who was teaching her to think of dieting in terms of developing a love for exercise instead of an addiction to the weight scale and how she was learning to touch the men in her acting class . . . I just thought to myself, "We don't care!!! It is not enough to have an attention-seeking personality if you want to become an actress! You actually have to have talent! The subway is not an audition! We can't give you a part and we don't want to anyway!" Thank God she got off at Midtown. The rest of the ride was quieter.

7. People who are rude to waiters.

Have you ever been a waiter? It's hard work. I once read somewhere that a person who is nice to most people, but not nice to waiters is not a nice person. I firmly believe that this is true.

I can't stand it when people treat wait-staff, cooks, maids, cleaners, office assitants, etc. with rudeness. It's enough to make me re-consider a friendship. The only people who do this, in my experience, are people who either 1) have self-entitlement issues or 2) haven't really ever had any kind of service job.

Thus ends my list of things I cannot stand.

I agree with you on all counts.

Here, I get very annoyed with large groups taking all of the sidewalk, the man who protests abortion under my window, and the people who turn left when the signs clearly say no left turn, and they hold up traffic to do it, and everyone behind them honks, but they still don't drive!!!

As a male,it's equally annoying if you happen to be seated adjacent to one of these types.It's just plain rude and lacking in consideration for fellow commuters.It's also probable,that it's a world-wide phenomenom.
(I just swam by for a look at your site - by the way) Nice Place.
"When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. In the grand division of [life], there are things to act and things to be acted upon. As [moral human beings], we have been blessed with the gift of moral agency, the capacity for independent action and choice. Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon. To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation. In many instances, choosing to be offended is a symptom of a much deeper and more serious spiritual malady. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us—and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless. You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended."
Ha! Yes, I can very well choose not to be offended, I suppose. Or maybe I am tired, sleepy, anxious, stressed and therefore more prone to getting upset in this city in which I live . . .

Remora, I'm sure it upsets the guys too. Now, of course, I feel very silly having ever complained aobut these things. But oh well . .
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