Here are just a few of the things that drive me nuts on a regular basis.
Rachael Ray. Is she not the most friggin’ annoying woman in America? So perky. I hate perky. Enjoyment of food and cooking shouldn’t be about perky. And why is she, rather than The Barefoot Contessa or Nigella Lawson, on the cooking channel 18 out of every 24 hours? And why can’t I get away from her even when I’m not tuned into the cooking channel? She’s now there smiling on boxes of my favorite crackers, causing me to be unable to bring myself to buy them. She’s on the radio making me pat myself on the back for the fact that the only doughnuts I ever buy are Krispy Kreme. She seems to take up the entire cooking section at Borders. Can we please, please get rid of her?
Christmas music in November. I had to drive down to Baltimore the other day, and I very stupidly forgot to bring any CDs. NPR has the same problem in Pennsylvania and Maryland that it had in Connecticut, and when driving a car, I can’t position the radio and make sure I’m standing in the right spot, at the right angle, in order to keep it coming in loud and clear. Thus, I was stuck with the browse feature on my radio. You know what came in loud and clear? About 500 Christmas radio stations that pop up this time of year, the way dandelions pop up all over my old lawn in Connecticut every spring, choking out anything else that might be trying to grow. I wouldn’t mind so much if a. it had been December, which it wasn’t yet or b. they were playing something like choral arrangements from St. Paul’s Cathedral or The Vienna Boys’ Choir singing carols or some cool dulcimer and fiddle versions from the Smokey Mountains, but no. I’m wondering just how many sappy, sappy, way-too-many-strings versions of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” are out there. Likewise, perky “Winter Wonderlands.” And please tell me, does anybody still think/did anybody ever think “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is actually funny or want “Feliz Navidad” to be salsa-ing around in their brains from now until January 2nd?
Indestructible plastic wrapping. Please take me back to the good old days when one could open, say, a bag of Fritos with her bare hands instead of having to order some special cutting tool for the purpose. Oh, and I have such fond memories of those days of yore when aluminum wrapping was used to line cereal boxes, wrapping that could be easily opened, and then, wonder-of-wonders folded back down to re-seal, so the cereal would last more than two days before going stale. It’s so easy to forget what it was like to get an opening in the inner-lining of a cereal box that was predictable, one meant for pouring a bowlful of cereal, one that was neither so small a single corn flake can’t fit through it, nor so big a gallon-sized bucket is needed to catch all the cereal when one tilts the box to pour it. Now, I know, I know. We can’t be too vigilant about making sure things are wrapped and sealed as tightly as possible after that poisoning-the-unsealed-Tylenol scare back in the 1980’s. Better to sell something that can’t be opened and eaten than to risk that again. And, while we’re at it, let’s make extra indestructible plastic wrapping for such things as cell phones and digital camera memory chips, because, well, you never know. Someone might break open the packaging on those things and shake a little Anthrax into them or something.
People who have neither read the book nor seen the movie declaring that it’s dangerous and is going to turn everyone into an atheist. Remember when it was The Last Temptation of Christ (a novel that deepened my faith more than any other I’ve ever read)? Then Harry Potter had his day (despite the clear-cut messages of good triumphing over evil). This season’s example: The Golden Compass. I read the book. I have to admit, it was quite, quite difficult after reading that book not to wonder what I was doing married to a minister. I began to doubt my belief in God in a way all the trappings of living in a greedy, capitalistic society have never made me do. It plagued me. I didn’t once just consider it to be nothing but a frolicking good fantasy. I mean, it was so evident from beginning to end that my false belief in God could do nothing but lead to evil. Oh yes, I had to save myself by turning to the Bible, which has never once made me question God’s existence or my faith or others’ faith. I still maintain that if A Pilgrim’s Progress had not been published until today, people would be bellowing about what an atheistic and dangerous work it is. Reminds me of the poor soul who informed me when I was in high school that the only music her church allowed her to listen to were hymns and gospel, because everything else was sinful. I think Handel might have turned over a couple of times in his grave when her preacher made that pronouncement.
Trucks. I despise them. They’re too big. They’re too noisy, and drivers tend to drive them way too fast, especially around here, where they seem to pay absolutely no attention to the fact that there are Amish walking, riding scooters, and driving horses and buggies everywhere on state highways. It seems I can’t travel a major interstate anymore without encountering some sort of accident involving a tractor trailer that ties up traffic for hours. I say, let’s take them off the interstates, hook them all together, attach a huge engine to them, and put them on two rails called tracks, where they can whiz along, unimpeded to arrive safely at their destinations.
Books with tons of typos/grammatical errors. I know, I’m being a hypocrite again, because my blog is not exactly typo/grammatical error free. But, as far as I know, I’m not being copyedited and proofread by at least three people who are being paid to do so before I go to print. I have no problems with authors making their own errors (we’re all human), but when others are paid to catch all their errors and don’t, and then my inner-editor has to face them while I’m trying to enjoy a relaxing evening of reading, well, I think I ought to get some sort of refund for each error I find in any book I buy. Check out a book published sixty years ago. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single typo in it, and if you do find them, any given book rarely has more than three. Now, check out the last book you bought. Did you not find at least ten?
People who’ve already got all their Christmas shopping done and love to announce the fact. Need I say more about that? I also hate those who keep asking, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” Don’t ask me. Basically, I have not been “ready for Christmas” since I was about twelve. I’m not, nor will I ever be. Maybe if Christmas came once every ten years, but even then, I probably wouldn’t be.
Unpacking boxes. We've been living here for nearly two months, and I'm still unpacking boxes. Naturally, none of them ever contains the few things I've actually remembered I have, want to use, and can't find. Will I ever get through them all and find those few things?