Posts Tagged ‘pet peeves’

The recent decent weather we’ve been having (at least in DC) has reminded me of one of the reasons that I moved into the city from Northern Virginia in the first place: the fact that I can walk to work.

I’ve been lazy of late, taking the bus and often waiting for so long that I could be halfway to work by the time it came. But by walking, you get one perk that the bus doesn’t always offer: people watching.

Sure, when you’re on the bus, you’re generally packed in with about 30 other people – all avoiding eye contact while trying to maintain their own personal space, of course. But that doesn’t always give you the opportunity be observant. Personally, I’m usually just trying to keep my balance and not give an accidental lap dance to whoever’s seated in front of me.

But I digress.

By walking to work, I noticed that I’ve seen the same distinct types of commuters nearly every day.

1) The Eternal Multi-tasker

The Eternal Multi-tasker is at the very  least on his or her cell phone while walking, but often manages to accomplish much more. I’ve seen TEM chatting via bluetooth, reading the newspaper, and occasionally double checking something on her PDA. All at a very fast clip. To be honest, I can’t help but be a little impressed. For as much of a multi-tasker as I consider myself, I can generally only walk and talk on the phone at the same time. Forget this reading nonsense.

2) The Shifter

Sometimes I swear that The Shifter is there for the sole purpose of being an obstacle that drives you crazy. Kind of like the green turtle shells in Mario Kart. He usually doesn’t walk that fast, so when you try to get around him, his sixth sense kicks in, and he manages to move right in front of you. This can continue for several blocks, so the best way, I’ve found, to get rid of a Shifter is to ditch him at the light. Make a mad dash across the intersection and hope he continues his slow shift…but behind you.

3) Speed Racer

However fast you’re going, it’s not fast enough for Speed Racer. She’s the one you see weaving in and out of crowds on the sidewalk, whose stride looks like a sprint. And if she gets caught at a red light? Well, don’t get in her way when it turns green, because she’ll be off like a shot. You might just get run over.

4) The Awkward Runner

There are two things that make The Awkward Runner awkward. One, is the length of the run. Most often you’ll see TAR running for a bus. They’ll start speed walking (but without the skill of a Speed Racer) when they see a bus in the distance, heading their way. Then, they’ll reach a point where they think, “shit, I’m never going to make it – I should run!” And so they do…for about half a block, before they switch back to speed walking and praying that they’ll make it.

And nine times out of ten TAR has a backpack or messenger bag on (awkard thing number two). Have you ever tried to run while wearing a backpack of some sort? There’s really no easy way to do it. It flops all around and you feel like a fool. And then when you finally reach the bus doors all the kids laugh at you because they saw you running up the street and you wish that you’d just gone back home and gotten your mom to drive you to school and….

I mean…you get the idea.

The point is, you’re almost never going to see an Awkward Runner if you take the bus.

Unless you get a window seat. And I’m running late one day.

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Well, I did it. I went to see Harry Potter this past weekend.


I went to a 5:30  showing on Friday, totally underestimating the number of people who also had summer hours. But, despite the packed theater, there weren’t very many children – no one under 13 that I could see. Except for the little boy, two seats to my right. “Little” as in 5 or 6 years old. As in, he couldn’t sit through the previews without listening to his mom’s iPod. As soon as I saw that, I had misgivings about spending the next two and a half hours next to them, but by then it was too late. My only other option was to sit all the way up front and risk straining my neck.

In hindsight, that may have been the better choice.

First of all, there was the mom. Apparently she had some very important business to attend to, because her phone was buzzing like crazy. I would hear the buzz, see the screen light up as she checked the text, then hear tap tap tap as she replied.

Once? Okay. Annoying, but I can deal. Consistently tap tap tapping for the entire movie? Get the hell out of the theater. I saw the screen light up with an incoming call at one point, and I swear she contemplated answering it.

If only...

When she took her son out of the theater, about half way through the film, I breathed a sigh of relief. But then, they returned; he was crying, she was frustrated. Call me crazy, but usually you take a crying child out of the theater. You don’t bring him back, still in tears. But what do I know? I’m no parent.

I had initially been skeptical about this kid watching the movie considering that, even though it was rated PG, it had some intense and possibly nightmare-inducing scenes (especially if you’re still at the age where you use a night-light). Apparently, that wasn’t an issue, because he got bored with Harry Potter and demanded (in an outside voice) the iPod back, in order to watch a different movie on there.

It’s times like those that I wish I were a confrontational person. I wish that I’d had the guts to actually say something, instead of shooting death stares to my right, every time another electronic lit up and clicked. I rationalized that 1) to say something would have made even more noise,  and 2) if the mom got feisty (which looked like a possibility), there was nowhere for me to move.

But honestly, if I can pull myself away from my Blackberry for two and a half hours, lady, I’m pretty sure you can do the same.

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The other week, Foggy Dew wrote a post having to do with the love/hate (mostly hate) relationship between drivers and pedestrians in D.C. – a problem that increases exponentially during tourist season (i.e. cherry blossoms until it gets too cold for visitors). He even offered up a nifty little diagram to possibly alleviate the problem. We’ll see how it all pans out.

However, it’s not just pedestrians and drivers that can’t see eye to eye. During my commute over the past few weeks, I have witnessed more angry, impatient, and horn-happy drivers than I care to within a 25-minute walk.

Now, just as a frame of reference, I, personally, am somewhat of an aggressive driver. I might switch lanes with less room than is advisable, and if there’s a yellow light, you better be damn sure that I’m going through it. I won’t tailgate you (unless you’re going so slow that you’re forcing me to), but I may have thrown up my hands in disgust a time or two or ten at some idiot behind the wheel. PiC once told me, “This is what I learned from you, as far as driving goes: why get there in ten minutes, when you can get there in five?” That’s about right.



But, all that being said, the display I saw last week really just took the road rage cake – particularly for a non-highway incident. The issue was between a cab driver and a “gentleman” in flashy, speedy silver car. Within the course of a block, I saw the silver car behind the cab, in the right lane; cut to the left lane and pass a truck; then cut directly in front of the truck so as to be in front of the cab, when all the vehicles were stopped at a red light. I assumed that the cabbie had merely been going too slow for Flashy’s taste.

Apparently NOT the case.

Flashy got out of his car at the intersection and proceeded to yell at the cabbie, who, smartly, stayed in the taxi. I was intrigued, particularly because a) I couldn’t see that the cabbie had done anything wrong, and b) I only have enough energy to scowl at someone that early in the morning – not full out yell. And all that, in and of itself, wouldn’t be so out of the ordinary.

But THEN, Flashy was actually so steamed that he hocked a loogie at the cabbie! I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone that publicly agitated.


It also would have been way more effective if the loogie hadn’t dribbled down Flashy’s chin. I ended up booking it across the street because I didn’t want him to see me laughing – just in case he had any more stored up.

What a way to start the morning.

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Like most people, I have a number of pet peeves – all totally reasonable, of course. (For example, “stand right, walk left” is not a difficult concept. Though, the “stand left-ers” are probably the same ones who drive at 45 mph in the left lane, and *that* shouldn’t be hard to grasp either.) Whew, sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes – more likely than not, any witness of one (or more) of these pet peeves will probably result in a wee bit of judgment.

Unlike a lot of people, if I’m judging, you’ll probably know it. My poker face is non-existent.

One of these pet peeves, a fairly common one, is taking the elevator one floor (sometimes even two – depends on my mood). If you’re capable of walking and you’re not carrying five different bags/boxes, and the stairs are right there and easily accessible, then why do you insist on getting in at ground level and slowing down my trek up to the seventh floor?


It’s even worse when I’m coming down from seven and the doors stop at the second floor. Really? You couldn’t walk one flight down? Exercise is a good thing, people. Embrace it.


Last night, I got in the elevator and the other girl pressed the button for the second floor. I could feel myself looking at the button, and then my face shifting, involuntarily, into judge-y mode. Which is probably why she felt the need to explain: “I’m coming from down a floor.

That’s nice.

Next time, take the stairs.

End rant.

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About three months ago, I opened a Macy’s account. I shouldn’t have done it. I knew that no good could come of yet another credit card. But I did it anyway. Because the bag I wanted (and would get a discount on if I opened the account)? Well, it’s fantastic.

The customer service at Macy’s (over the phone), however? Not so much.


I called to activate my card, jumped through hoops in the automated system, and finally spoke with a real live person. They proceeded to ask me a series of security questions – not that I had given in setting up my account, but that they had pulled from public record. And I failed. Because I didn’t recognize the address of the house that I was born in.

Let me be clear – it’s a little known fact, that while I’m a Philly girl through and through, I was actually born across the bridge. That’s right. I was born, and lived for six short months, in New Jersey. I know the name of the town (Glendora), but that’s about it. So I failed to recognize the actual street address that was home for my first 180 days. Shame on me.

I complained to a manager, went on vacation, and mostly forgot about it. Until last night when I called again, after receiving a letter in the mail about activation.

Liebchen: I was told to call here because I had issues activating my card last time. I was asked security questions that I just wouldn’t have known. [explanation of the whole, moving-before-I-even-turned-a-year-old thing]

Macy’s Idiot: All right. Let’s see what we can do. I’m going to ask you a series of security questions. In which county is [this] address: Baltimore, [somewhere in Georgia], Lancaster, Loudon or I’ve never been associated with this address.

Liebchen: Baltimore.

MI: Okay. In which county were you born: Camden, NJ, [two counties in Georgia that I’ve seriously never heard of] or Hudson, NJ.

Liebchen: Listen, I explained to you before the problem that I had with the last security questions. I can tell you the town I was born in, but I DO NOT KNOW the county. This is absurd. It’s obviously either Camden or Hudson, but I don’t know where Hudson is.

MI: Do you just want to pick one?

Liebchen: Fine. Camden.

MI: Okay, let’s go with that. Now, which county is 535 Rowand Avenue located in? Is it Camden, [b], [c], or [d].

Side note: I stopped listening to the responses because I was so pissed at this point. I explained to him that the *only* reason I recognized the address is because it had come up in the last set of security questions, a month ago, and I’d talked to my mom about it. And *she* knew that the address was the house in which I lived my first six months. But that there was really no way that I would have known it on my own. This is an explanation that I’ve now repeated at least five times.


Liebchen: Listen, if the previous answer was Camden, then this answer is Camden. If it’s not, then I don’t know what to tell you because I would never use these as my security questions in the first place, because I DON’T KNOW. This whole thing is ridiculous.

MI: So you wanna go with Camden? [beat] Congratulations! You passed!

Un.be.liev.able. And what’s my prize now? Getting to use my Macy’s card. But, to be honest, I don’t want to.

Because if something goes wrong, and I have to deal with customer service again, I might just go crazy. And there’s nothing at Macy’s that’s worth my sanity.

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I’m now back in Philly for the holidays with my family, and getting ready to do the one thing I truly dread about Christmas: Last Minute Gift Shopping. Sure, blame me ’cause I didn’t get my presents earlier, but I’m a busy girl. I had parties procrastinating watching bad TV work to do.

So now I have to venture out into the hoards of people whose intelligence drops several levels when they find themselves confronted with sales, coupons, and the holidays. These people come to a dead stop in the middle of the mall, they block displays, they don’t understand that there’s an ENTIRE line behind them when they get to the register and start asking a million questions! I’m sorry, where was I?

Oh, yes. An utter lack of intelligence in the malls – at this time of the year, more so than usual. I’m silently cursing my poor planning, mapping out my route, and hoping no one gets in my way. For their own safety, of course.exitstrategy

Wish me luck. I might need it to keep my sanity.

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I realized recently that I care more about my fantasy football team than I had planned on. I was out at a bar Thursday night, looked up and saw the countdown to the Patriots vs. Jets game, and my gut reaction was: Shit, I forgot to update my roster! (Fortunately, kind of, I’m already in last place in my league. I can’t do any worse!)


So, to keep tabs on my players, I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon watching football – specifically, the Eagles vs. the Bengals, but checking in elsewhere. I’m never overly optimistic about my sports teams (fantasy or otherwise), but I thought this game would be all right. While a 5-4 record doesn’t exactly indicate a team to be reckoned with, I thought the Eagles could hold their own against the 1-8 Bengals.

But they couldn’t.

I sat on the edge of my bed, leaning toward the TV, screaming every time McNabb threw an interception. It hurt a little bit. But, you know what? As frustrating as the game was, the running commentary was even more so.

With the game tied up at the end of 4th quarter, one commentator started pulling out statistics regarding the last time an NFL game had ended in a tie. I don’t think I could have cared less at that point. (As a side note: I’ve always wondered who finds all those stats and feeds them to the commentators – and just how many people are working on it at once. I may not have cared about this particular one, but some of them are so obscure, it’s fascinating.) In any case, I would have rather had more obscure statistics than the comment that followed:

What does a tie do for the Eagles? Well, it’s better than a loss, but it’s not as good as a win.

No shit, Sherlock. I’m not even sure where to start with that statement. I almost feel like my intelligence is being insulted. If you want to comment on the effect a tie could have, tell me how it will affect the Eagles’ chances in the NFC East. Give me some sense of what they’ll have to do in the rest of the season, to ensure that this tie doesn’t hurt them too terribly. Or, if it’s something that will ultimately hurt them in the end – tell me that! Don’t sugarcoat it. I’m a big girl; I can take it. I would even prefer something ridiculous like: “The last time an NFC East team ended an afternoon game in a tie on the 3rd Sunday in November, when Mercury was in the 3rd house and the weather was below 50 degrees, they went on to win their division.” (Okay, maybe the stats aren’t quite that ridiculous, but I’m not so far off. Astrology is about the only thing they don’t incorporate – yet.)

Don’t worry. Painfully obvious commentary isn’t enough to make me stop watching football, by any means, but I might just start watching on mute from time to time.

You know, the same way guys watch Britney Spears videos.

*See? I could be an NFL commentator, too!

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