Despite what you may think, I view myself as a hopeful person. Someone who enjoys complaining, sure. An individual who finds many questionable elements in everyday human behaviour, definitely. Am I judgmental? Yes, although this is a part of my personality I am trying to change. But change becomes more complicated with each passing year.

There is hope in cynicism, a hope that by airing our collective dirty laundry, perhaps we can move forward, evolve into better people and treat one another with more respect and dignity. I hope that my contribution of complaining about these little annoying situations is helpful, and I can then take my place in the canon of high-minded individuals who have attempted to culturally elevate us to new heights of awareness. I may be painting myself into a corner, as pretentious statements such as the sentence preceding this one are more often than not very annoying. However, a little annoyance goes a long way.


You’re late for [insert here: work, meeting, date, etc.] and the bus passes by as you approach the stop.

Whenever I am early or running right on time, I hit my bus rides and various connections like clockwork. In order to get to my place of employment, I take a bus and transition to the subway. With lots of time, I never wait longer than two minutes for a bus and once we reach the subway station, it is as though the train is waiting just for me, sitting there like a slumbering metallic fun machine. When I’m late for an appointment, nothing ever works. The bus zooms by me as I wave frantically and uselessly. The next one is late. The subway is delayed and when it arrives; it’s packed to the brim. I am often convinced there is a conspiracy that reaches right to the top levels of government. They are monitoring me and it comes right from the mayor, who has an elaborate surveillance system, knows that I am running late, puts in the call to the head of the public transit system, who in turn radios all bus drivers and subway workers on my route to include delays all round and, in addition, drive really slowly so as to increase my anxiety, paranoia and self delusion. ANNOYING!

“He’s actually quite friendly.”

Not when he wants to bite my face off. More times than I can count, a person has been walking a large dog, and when said dog sees me or smells me, he/she runs full tilt and lunges. Always. I would call myself a dog person, but there are limits. The owner, with leash in hand, slowly (if at all) saunters over—no apology—and refers to the dog’s usual politeness and timidity. This, to me, implies I am the one doing something wrong. And when I walk away all distraught, the owners cluck their tongues wondering what is my problem. ANNOYING!

People unprepared to order or pay.

If I am ordering a coffee at a café that is unfamiliar to me, I will stand aside, scrutinize the menu and only get in line when I feel confident in my choice. In addition, I will calculate the price of the specific caffeine-laced drink I am buying in order to help encourage and facilitate a more free-flowing ordering environment. Just the other day, I stood behind a woman squinting at the giant overhead menu in a coffee shop, asking ingredient questions, cup size inquiries, and in general displaying a complete lack of understanding that the five people waiting behind her were all slowly building to an angry boiling point, holding their money in their hands and itching to just grab her and toss her out the front door. This also goes for people approaching the entrance to subways. There is only room for one person in the turnstile space and the fares are universally consistent. I’ve watched numerous people reach the turnstile and start rummaging through their bag looking for money, tokens or a monthly pass. I always wonder if they’ve forgotten about the whole payment thing right up until the point they reach the turnstile. However, I have yet to see someone slap their forehead, eyes to the sky and say, “Oh, yeah! You’ve gotta pay for this!” ANNOYING!

Someone knocks on the door of a public washroom.

Relief, a coffee shop with a washroom. I step inside the cool, dank room, lock the door and do my business. Someone tries the doorknob but it is locked. They knock on the door, “Is anyone in there?” Washrooms, especially public ones, are places that I don’t feel comfortable talking to others. We are in here doing something quite private, and yes, sometimes in washrooms that have those awful troughs instead of urinals, it is a bit too public. But if I am lucky enough to find a public washroom that is its own enclosed space, a tiny room where I can use the facilities privately, I am confounded by this need to knock. First, if the door is locked, chances are someone is using the washroom. I assumed this would be obvious, but I guess not so to many people. Second, if the locked door does not deter the individual, what do they hope to accomplish with the knocking, and sometimes, “Hello? Anyone in there?” Third, after the knock and the call out into the darkness, if I don’t answer, do they keep knocking and fondling the doorknob because they think that someone went into the washroom, mysteriously evaporated and like mist managed to sift through the vents, not only leaving the door locked, but more importantly, leaving the joke on them? UPDATE: I visited a chain coffee shop not too long ago and a sign on the washroom door read: “If the door is locked, it means someone is inside.” Finally, some reason. Naturally, while doing my business, someone knocked on the door and called out, “Hello? Anyone in there?” ANNOYING!

The social contract of walking.

On the sidewalk, when someone is approaching, I stick to one side, similar to cars on a road. There are those that will not only walk in the middle of the sidewalk, but insanely step in your path. You veer to the left—so do they. You try to avoid a collision by moving to the right—so do they. You finally have to do some fancy modern dance steps around them. Similar to the dog owner, the inappropriate walker, with clucking tongue, wonders, “What was that guy’s problem?” ANNOYING!


Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Photo of hand squeezing a yellow happy face stress ball