Driving Me Crazy—A Short Trip

March 6, 2010

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out, it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.
• Robert Service

It was Queen Victoria, I believe, who said something about being particularly annoyed by trifles. She was not speaking of the custard, jam, and ladyfinger confections sometimes served for dessert at state dinners. No. She meant those petty little bothersome everyday aggravations that can drive a person crazy. I understand. I’m in the mood for a rant about a couple of these irritations myself. Such grousing can be downright satisfying.

I’m facing a pile o’ grading next week and I find that it’s wise to get myself in a particularly good mood before I begin to read student papers. If I don’t, I can quickly devolve into evil teacher, becoming snarky and mean and sarcastic. Getting into a good mood is good advice for students too. Anything that you must do for school proceeds more smoothly if you are not clenched up with grouchiness. Of course, if what’s making you grumpy is your schoolwork, my advice is to consider whether it’s worth devoting negative energy to something that you would be better off to accept as part of the price you pay for the path you’re on. Or go ahead and gripe, but then get busy.

But enough about you. I want to discuss what makes me nuts. Lots of things. But lately, two have been particularly bothersome. That E*trade baby needs to grow up and shut up. Please. If investing were really so easy a baby could do it, well, you know what that would have meant for financial events of the last several years. But there he is, telling us, “I was on E*trade, diversifying my portfolio, taking control, like a wolf. What’s that? That’s volatility in the market. Taken care of—wolf style.” Yeah, right. I don’t believe you, baby.

The other annoyance is even more irritating. At least the baby has a smidgen of cuteness to temper his obnoxiousness. There is nothing redeemable about the radio ads for Quietus, a herbal supplement that promises to silence the ringing in your ears. If I were suffering from such ringing, I would not appreciate their ad which simulates the uberannoying sounds, filling the car with auditory garbage.

Since I do not have tinnitus, I cannot imagine why someone thinks it’s a good idea to simulate it for me. It’s the aural equivalent of pinching me so I can know what it feels like to suffer a sharp pain for which a product will offer me long-lasting relief. As soon as this ad comes on, I immediately turn the sound down so that I can’t hear it. I’m definitely getting their message, I guess, so perhaps their marketing ploy is working. I feel better already.

What annoyances are more painful than those of which we cannot complain?
• Marquis de Custine

What trifles annoy you?

A grouch escapes so many little annoyances that it almost pays to be one.
• Kin Hubbard



  1. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your info. And this is **Tinnitus** site/blog. It pretty much covers Tinnitus related stuff.

  2. One thing that really annoys me is the cliché “The Customer is Always Right”. How ridiculous is this inflated and egocentric bologna? Any person with the ability to synthesize information and deduce logic knows that not everybody can be right all of the time. It’s simply not possible unless we are living in a completely self-absorbed society with no regard to anyone or anything else around us – which of course would have self-destructed by now anyway. Why not be honest and tell it like it is – “These are the rules and guidelines, but if you’d like to discuss your perspective I’d be happy to consider it.” Or even, “This is my product, buy it or don’t!” That would at least sound honest and forthright! I choose to believe that people appreciate not being treated like kindergarteners.

  3. The trifles that truly annoy me are going to drive through Dutch Brothers coffee shacks. They always want to engage in conversation and entertain their patrons. Can’t they just make the cup of coffee and be quiet. If a patron looks towards the employee then have a conversation, otherwise leave the patron alone and quit being so damn cheerful. This particular social nuisance bothers me so much that I have switched to The Human Bean and quit frequenting Dutch Brothers.

  4. The commercials for the new mops irritate me – for that matter any commercials that insult my intelligence irritate me. Inform me about the new mop – what it does, how to use it – but don’t go off and lead me to think that my old mop cares, that it will go off and fall in love with some other abstract item. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it when a commercial entertains me. (We know that few TV programs do that anymore.) But entertain and inform me in way that shows me you’ve put some thought into who your audience is and who most likely have a had a long day and would truthfully rather not even be thinking about mopping their floor much less about what their old mop would do should it be replaced.

  5. The GEICO commercials with the laid back gecko drive me crazy! It is so appealing I even checked into changing my insurance until this. My daughter was stopped at a stop sign and another car ran into her–fairly lightly-no injuries. The driver had Geico insurance. From the agent I talked with I experienced lying along with sexual harrassment to me. It helped a lot when in tears, I put on my 6’5 deep voiced husband. He couldn’t see him but the agent acted better. In the end, I barely got enough money to fix the car (with no rental car) and the company totaled the car. So now my car has no resale value even though it’s fixed just like new. Whenever my family sees the commercials we all give it the finger. It’s a fitting ritual because the company is just as ridiculous as the finger sign! Be wary of false advertising!

  6. This is a simple one for me. I’m amazed how easy it is today for people to gain success and exposure without having any talent. Television and the media have created a monster by highlighting individuals, who haven’t really accomplished anything and gain their popularity through creating drama. I just don’t understand why Americans like the “reality” approach and how we can recognize people that haven’t made a significant contribution to our soceity. Amazingly, the “regular” people that live their lives daily without constantly shouting for others to pay attention to them, are brushed aside. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, we have give people the ability to play their part by posting their daily happenings up to the second. Phew!

  7. “Getting into a good mood is good advice” Actually, the first part of this article is what caught my attention. How many things have I done without a joyful heart? Cheerful spirit? Not that we have to go around with a joker smile plastered to our face and be happy all the time. But, it’s amazing what being in a good mood can do to our attitude and our behavior.

    When I’m in a good mood my lessons run smooth and my students are better behaved (yes, I believe this to be true). When I’m in a good mood the way I treat my husband, children and friends is apparent. When I’m in a good mood I feel healthier and have much more energy then when I am grumpy.

    There is a shine that comes with a genuine smile and a cheerful heart.

    What trifles annoy me?? Probably more that I can really think of. 

  8. Zinn,
    I’m just going to post my rants on this page, hope that’s ok.
    The Laziness of my Children:
    Put away your clothes
    Put away your shoes
    Put the dishes in the dishwasher
    Wipe the bathroom sink, especially the toothpaste
    Put away your toys
    Where does your jacket go?
    The kitchen table is not for your baseball bat, baseball glove, uniform and jock
    Flush the toilet
    I didn’t hear you wash your hands
    Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks everywhere
    Look! The dog has your shoe, shirt, ponytail holder, dollar bill……………
    Wet towels are hung up not pilled on your floor
    Put away the chips, the crackers, the cookies
    Put the juice back in the frig
    Do your homework, you know you have to do it everyday
    Practice the piano
    Brush your teeth
    Dirty clothes do not belong on the floor
    Is this clean or dirty?

  9. No more excuses
    It’s Thursday morning…………every Thursday morning in 3rd grade in Mrs. Delgado’s room, homework is due. Students are given one week to complete their homework packet. It’s pretty easy packet, I’ve made sure. Being a mom of three kiddos who have a very busy schedule I know first hand how crazy home life can be. Homework to me is just a responsibility builder, are you punished??, No, it’s up to you!
    But please, no more excuses..
    I lost it
    You didn’t give me one (why are you telling me this Thursday morning and not days ago?)
    My mom threw it out with the garbage
    I left it on the bus
    I went to visit my grandma this weekend
    It fell and got wet
    My little brother drew all over it
    I still don’t understand the math
    I can’t find it, I’ll look today when I get home

    Just tell me you didn’t get it done!

  10. There are a few things that annoy me, but I will share just one. I really don’t get road rage. But….. I can’t understand why when you are following a car down the highway at 48 MPH and they get to a passing lane, they invariably increase their speed (faster than truck will accelerate) to 65 MPH. I am going to pass them no matter what, because I know that they will always slow back to 48 MPH at the end of passing lane. So, when I do finally get up 70, so that I can overtake them before the end of the passing lane, there is a cop sitting there smiling at me. When I explain my situation, he (or she) will always tell me that that annoys them too as he/she hands me my ticket and reminds to drive carefuuly and have a nice day.

    That annoys me.

  11. My biggest annoyance as a teacher is the fact that my students cannot see and recognize that I am dealing with another student’s issue. Whatever their need is they cannot WAIT to address it. Thousands of times in one day I am constantly holding up my hand for the student to stop interrupting another student, asking them to wait until I am done talking with another student, or simply turning to look at the student that is presently speaking to me. I use visual clues, verbal responses, and body movement to get my point across to my student that is not using patience. This is even more annoying as the school year progresses. Why do I have to do it thousands of times everyday? Why do they not notice how I handle students that interrupt and change their behavior next time? Why is the concept of waiting and using patience not a learned activity? I guess it is because as adults we have a hard time waiting as well. I know I do not enjoy waiting for the lady with a walker cross the street in front of my car. I do not jump up happily when the person in front of me at the checkout counter has to write a check or cannot run the credit card machine correctly. So waiting is not easy for people in general. I just hope I have taught at least one of my students to understand the concept of being patient and not interrupting others if they are first in line!

  12. My big annoyance in life, Windshield Wipers! I often find myself in the passenger seat of a car on a rainy day. Living on the coast this happens a lot. Why does it have to be so difficult to turn off windshield wipers? When they are no longer needed turn them off or at least adjust them to intermittent so they are on less frequently. My mom is the worst! She will leave her wipers on until they are screeching against a dry windshield, grating on my every last nerve. TURN THEM OFF! 🙂

  13. What I want to know is why my children are so happy and well-tempered and self-sufficient until THE PHONE RINGS. I don’t spend a lot of time gabbing away on the phone, but on the occasion that I get a call in the evenings when I’m home with the family, the world seems to fall apart. A fight breaks out, somebody gets injured, the toilet overflows, or some other devastating occurrence happens! Amazing!

    I’m ready to train them like I do my classroom: “Kids, when the phone rings, it may be an emergency, so everybody needs to get silent so I can hear what’s SO important that they are interrupting class.” My students often yell “EMERGENCY!” when the phone first rings and then they put their heads down voluntarily for the 30 seconds it usually takes me to take the call.

    Works for 26 kids… would it work for two? I’m ready to try!

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