Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pet Peeves #3: Do not block the intersection

Here is a sign that is probably
never in a very good mood
because nobody takes it seriously.
On the way to the supermarket campus of Life School recently, while I was thinking about what kind of  post I'd write for the week, I approached a congested intersection. A giant sign overhead, and one to the side, said  "DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION."  
The light changed, and everyone blocked the intersection. 
Drivers exchanged dirty looks. The sign just shook its head. 

And that's how Pet Peeves posts are born.  
But then, when I was actually at the supermarket I saw an act of kindness that made me think of other acts of kindness and I began to think about that kind of post. 
But then, I received a $90 fine from the state of Massachusetts for an E-Z pass toll violation that never happened, and I had to reschedule acts of kindness while I researched Extremely Important people to write to about this travesty. 
Herewith, a compromise: observations that are only on the Pet Peeves spectrum, because they are highly dependent on the mood of the observer. I have added a "truth" score to correct for this variability.
1. The Massachusetts D.O.T., because ask anyone what happens if they fine you for failure on their part to recognize a transponder that has been affixed to the same plate since God was an infant, which is attached to to a car that has just completed a fourteen hour drive and made it through every other plaza without a hitch. They've been in the news for this. 
Truth: a 10 on the Peeves scale no matter what kind of mood you're in. 
2.  Customer service people who say "Give me a minute," or who interrupt you because they've heard your complaint enough to finish it for you, or who put you on hold for several years so that they can "find more information," when what they really want to do is go to the bathroom and have a cigarette in the parking lot. 
Truth: 8 on the Peeves scale, it's a mood buster. 
3.  People like bank tellers or receptionists or who don't go out of their way to help the elderly when they're confused or uninformed about a process or transaction, but just shut them down, as if it will cost them to spend extra time, when it is actually free and part of being a decent human being. 
Truth: 9 on the Peeves scale because it makes me dizzy with unhappiness to see this. 
4.  Facebook posts that start with: "This will break your heart." Or, "If you don't cry when you see this, you don't have a soul." I know people click on those things, but I wonder if it's really a good way to start the day, reading something that will make you "reach for the Kleenex." You can get in your car and go to any large public setting and see something that will make you weep if you need to. Or just watch clips of the last debate and think about a President Trump in tense talks with serious world leaders saying, "I know you are but what am I?" 
Truth: A 5, right in the middle. It shows compassion to be moved by something caught on video, but my own compassion doesn't like proving itself.
5.  People who call me Sue, even after I've told them many times that I prefer Susan and always have, and always will, forever and ever, because "Sue" makes me feel like a cheerleader, or camp counselor, or field hockey coach, while Susan makes me feel like the person I've spent several years becoming.  
Truth: 5 on the Peeves scale.   
6. Servers who call me "Miss." This happened all at once, in city restaurants everywhere, a few years ago. Why did this start? What is it supposed to accomplish? Who thought this was a good idea for any reason? And worse, who is so sensitive about what they're called by strangers (unless it's "Sue")  that a whole trend is required to make us feel better? 
Truth: 2 on the Peeves scale, unless the server is also rude, and then it's higher. If the server is particularly pleasant however, it becomes a 0 on the Peeve scale and I leave a tip that will make a difference in their day. 
7. People who refuse to talk down to their kids, which is good, but then go the other way to talk way up  which is bad. You see this sort of thing when there is an excellent chance they'll be observed by others. 
Child holding an orange Nalgene bottle: "Can I get this?"
Dad in a teacher voice:  "Remember what we said about this earlier today? Many Nalgene water bottles and other hard plastic sport water bottles are made of polycarbonate which may leach Bisphenol A, an estrogen-like chemical."  
Child: "Then, can I get a snack at the check out?" 
Truth:  This is more of an observation than a peeve. I would be disappointed if I didn't see these exchanges as often as I do. In fact, this actually has potential to become an act of kindness in time for next week's post if I see it happen and compliment the validation-seeking parent on how well they communicate with children. 
That's it. As soon as I finish writing to the Attorney General, the Office of Consumer Affairs, the Better Business Bureau, and Governor Baker over there in Taxachusetts, I'll start on acts of kindness for next week.


  1. You are on a ROLL! I LOVED this post...and I love Life School.

  2. I can only say "Good luck with that...let us know how it turns out." :)


  3. Nalgene does NOT contain BPA anymore. Yes, I know you were just giving an example, etc. Otherwise, loved the Pet Peeves, thanks.