Some Random Pet Peeves Annoying Me This Week

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I can’t call this a ‘rant’ because none of this is stuff really makes me mad … but I have found a bunch of annoying things over the last week, particularly on runs and on our whirlwind college tour.

Speaking of which, I have an annoyance before I start with the pet peeves – I took an unplanned rest day today, slept in and didn’t run. Why? Because I have a decent cold, a combination of a weekend spent waking up at 3AM, driving nearly 900 miles, and scrambling everywhere … then coming home and running nearly 19 miles on Sunday and more than 9 on Monday surely didn’t help. So yeah, I feel like crap … which is annoying!

1. Reciprocal Blogging

OK, this isn’t anything new, and was in a post I never finished months ago, but playing ‘catch up’ after vacation and after this weekend I REALLY noticed it.

What do I mean by ‘Reciprocal Blogging’? I mean that a person only reads/replies on your blog when you comment on theirs. For example, I posted 7 times over vacation, including the weekends, and barely read or commented on other people’s posts. When I returned I commented on a number of blogs – and most of my friends had been commenting on my stuff all week long (and I always love reading comments … they ALWAYS make any post better!).

Anyway, with one blog, I posted a comment on a post that was nearly two weeks old, and suddenly within 5 minutes a new comment appeared on my most recent post. This wasn’t the first time – or first blog I’ve seen this person do this on …

Look – I get that commenting to gain visibility is a general practice, and also that we often see a comment and remember to check on a blog we don’t regularly visit. That is natural – we all have our first, second and third tier blog-follows. But this was different. It was all about the APPEARANCE of following to sustain the connection, like giving a dog a treat to get them to behave.

I don’t know if this makes sense, and I want it to be clear I am not talking about the normal daily interactions I see on my blog and pretty much everyone I follow. But if you follow someone or comment ONLY in order to keep the other person connected, or use someone else’s comment section ONLY to promote your own blog … YOU are the problem I am talking about. If you haven’t noticed … this is a GREAT community that is all too willing to help others and promote new friends. If you are a slime bag … well, interestingly on one of the blogs that did this I visited recently and have seen the comments and even contest entries really dwindle. So I guess it wasn’t just me.

2. Crappy Customers & Customer Service

For whatever reason, over the past month I have experienced enough crappy service, and have had to watch great employees deal with horrid customers that it has really come to annoy the crap out of me!

In one store where all we wanted to do was grab a drink, the fountain machine was out of order and the employees seemed to have no desire to deal with it, and when we presented a Canadian coin in with our other change they summarily tossed it back saying ‘this is no good’, and only noted it was Canadian when we said ‘what?!?’. Then as we were finding more change he actually told us to ‘hurry up’. Yeah … rude!

But there are plenty of buttheads on the OTHER side of the counter! Most of it was the usual stuff:

– Cell phone talkers in line who expect everyone to accommodate their conversation, hold up progress, stand in the wrong places, make employees repeat themselves and so on.

– Line jumpers – generally they will not directly cut in front of you, but will push from the side, pretend they don’t notice the queue, run to a newly opened register without acknowledging those who were already waiting.

Specifically on this trip there was a shuttle from the hotel to the subway, and we were waiting there already and a family came out and the driver was unsure how many would fit so we waited … they started piling in. There were 5 and ended up all fitting, leaving us for the next shuttle – and the driver had no clue when it might come (it ended up being less than 5 minutes later so it was all good, but still annoying!)

3. Store Aisle Cellphone Talker Hogs

Shopping stores are very often cramped, with customers browsing, moving slowly due to physical restrictions, more product crowding the space, and so on.

The there are the people talking on their phones, slowly wandering around looking at nothing in particular, generally oblivious that they are greatly inconveniencing others with their rude behavior … heck, I even had someone glare at me when I said EXCUSE ME after simply saying ‘excuse me’ failed to even register acknowledgement.

I did say ‘well thank you for allowing me to shop in the shopping store’ … not as loud as I might have felt at the moment … but hey, they were already talking and blocking the entire aisle again anyway so they didn’t notice.

Here is the thing – just like it has been shown that using your phone is a distraction in the car, so it is when shopping. So if you want to talk on the phone casually while shopping, get out of the traffic pattern and chatter to your heart’s content. But not loudly, because THAT is a general pet peeve for most people. We really don’t care about your ailments, or whatever over-sharing you are doing at the moment.

4. Emergency Vehicle Privelege Abusers

In New York the law is that you need to move aside for emergency vehicles, including when the police have someone pulled over to the right. This past week I saw two egregious and possibly dangerous misuses of these laws.

On Rte 88 in central NY, a driver was pulled over by the police with lights blazing, and all of the approaching traffic was in the left lane as mandated by law. Except for one Ford Explorer, who was in the right lane, and while not driving dangerously fast, was going fast enough to pass several care including ours on the right side – he came from behind and ended up several cars in front of us. The police officer stood by the passenger side of the car he pulled over and just gaped … I hope he got the license plate number!

And then there was another instance when an ambulance was coming along, and we were on a smaller two-lane highway, and everyone was pulled to the right to let the ambulance of by … except for one car who was using it as a personal gateway to get ahead of everyone else. At first I thought it might be associated with the ambulance, but no – the ambulance turned and he went straight. Imagine that – using the grave misfortune of others as a way to jockey ahead a few places in traffic. Sad.

5. Parents Teaching Kids Crappy Habits

One would think that the general rule should be that parents would know the rules of safety for critical things they teach kids – but looking at guns we already know THAT isn’t true! So I guess that bicycle safety shouldn’t be different. I already have a pet peeve about adults with small children not wearing helmets but having their kids wear helmets. Guess what – these are the kids who stop wearing helmets before they are 10, or when out of range of home. Sure they aren’t a cure all, but helmets save lives, period. The message these kids get is ‘helmets are for little kids … not wearing a helmet is a grown-up thing to do’. Absolutely false.

Also recently – so far 100% coupled with non-helmet wearing parents – I have seen parents with very young kids biking AGAINST traffic. Ugh. I have seen it running as well as driving, and it can set up some unsafe situations. I even took a moment to call over to one parent to remind them to ride WITH traffic … and (again, with small children in front) they told me to go F myself in no uncertain terms. Nice.

As for runners … you know my pet peeve about running with music, and how it ABSOLUTELY diminishes your awareness (again, this is fact, not debate)? Well … add parent and child (about 10) running side-by-side with headphones on the wrong side of the road (WITH traffic) on a relatively narrow road with no sidewalk and only about 1 foot on the outside of the white line? Yeah, totally annoying – and forced all traffic on the 45MPH road to come to a halt to accommodate them. I beeped at them – because they were totally in the wrong. The parent waved as if I was saying ‘hi’. Um, no.

6. Ugly Early Morning Driving Habits

I have complained before about driving habits I see regularly in the early morning. It is as though people are so used to no traffic that they consider the normal rules optional … here are a couple that got to me this week:

– Stop sign jumpers: where there is extended visibility, these are the people who are second or third in line at the stop sign but have already scoped out traffic and go immediately following the car in front of them. I almost got nailed as I let one car go and started to run then had the next car just run the stop sign, and since they were turning right they were swerving right into me. They didn’t stop, and all I got out was ‘hey – stop sign!’

– Tailgating no-patience swervers: I have written before about how bizarre it is to see an empty road at 4 or 5AM with an extra-bright set of lights coming down the road only to realize that it is two cars, the second one so close that you can’t make them out from a distance. One of the roads I almost always run (6 of my 10 standard routes) was slightly widened recently, and what I have seen twice in the past week is people who were already tailgating see that the person in front is going to turn left at the intersection (no stop sign) so they pull out to the right to race past.

The problem? The road isn’t wide enough so they have to go a little bit onto the lawn of the house just before the intersection. The first time it happened I was running the opposite way and thought ‘that is dangerous’. Monday morning? Danger confirmed! The guy was just starting to pull to the right and I was in his headlights (I was already on the lawn because I feared it coming) – and threw up my hands and said ‘WTF’ (and not for ‘way too fast’ this time, Cori).

Bonus. Running Pet Peeves

Last month in the Globe, Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray wrote about his pet peeves as both race director and as a runner.

Here are a couple:

Participants taking a shopping cart load of food from the food tent, leaving nothing for the back-of-the-pack runners.

■ Doing the best we can to be environmentally responsible by putting out the appropriate recycling containers, but finding that no one is really paying much attention to any of it.

So what are YOUR pet peeves?