Saturday, December 01, 2007

Some Really, Really Annoying Things (or It Must Be The Wild Greed and Materialism Christmas Season, Because I'm Really, Really Grumpy)

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?


Rebecca said...

Emily: Make some tea, find a quiet place (without any boxes) and read an old favourite book that doesn't have typos. Ignore Christmas and unpacking entirely, and absolutely do not put the radio on. And then, have a long bath using some ridiculously expensive bubbly stuff.

I agree with you on all points. And it is the materialism season, which is so annoying in itself that it compounds all other irritants.

Stefanie said...

Wow, you are grumpy :) I'm with you on Rachel Ray. I don't get why she is so popular. My sister loooovvvvves her so I am not allowed to say anything bad unless I don't want my sister to ever talk to me again. However tempting that might be sometimes, I have refined the art of feigning interest.

Oh, and I actually think Grandma got Run Over By a Reindeer is funny. I'm not certain what I find so funny, but it brings a smile to my face every time. Please don't think less of me for this!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree on all points. Too bad Rachel Ray doesn't cook anything that requires opening cereal boxes.

Rebecca H. said...

Well, I sympathize completely! About all of it (although I don't see Rachel Ray, as I don't watch TV) -- the Christmas music, the trucks, the packaging, the typos. And no, I don't have my Christmas shopping done and won't until Christmas Eve probably!

IM said...

I love Ida Garten, she is the the most laid-back chef I've ever seen. Rachel Ray is kind of the anti-Ida.

Trucks bother me too. Have you ever gotten stuck in one of those 70mph cannons on the highway, where there are trucks on all sides of you and you know one wrong move will end in catasrophe?

Pickup trucks on the other hand...

I can't comment on typos, I'd be struck down by a lightening bolt.

Rant on!

Froshty said...

Oh, geez, Rachel Ray. The woman can't cook her way through a paper bag (that would be a brown one that is easily opened and not today's hermetically sealed plastic versions of Fort Knox). All she does is put something like onion dip and yellow peppers on a Triscuit and yet the public seems to think that's a mark of culinary genius. I'm torn on the truck issue. I hate to see so many on the road pouring masses of CO2 into the atmosphere, but on the other hand, I worked for four years with the truck drivers in the Gulf States and they were a fine bunch of people. When Mary drove to Mississippi, I called some of them up and told them to look out for her Honda--too bad none of them were on I-95 South on September 22.

Unknown said...

On almost all points I agree (no big shocker there) but to keep things interesting I must confess I love the Reindeer song, seeing as to how it's sort of part of my northern Michigan heritage. I caught an episode of Rachel Ray on television last week and felt physically nauseous and I am never ready for Christmas. Winter, yes. Christmas, not so much.

You didn't vent about gift cards, but I hate those. My sister in laws think nothing is better than exchanging the exact same amount of $$ in gift cards. I mean, why? Why? Why?

Oh, and ON that episode of Rachel Ray that I did see, she made gouda gravy to pour over brocolli.Again, why? Why ruin the cheese? and the broccoli? I REALLY can't stand her...

Anonymous said...

I thought this was just plain hilarious! And I'm right with you on the trucks and the typos and well, pretty much everything else.

But who is Rachel Ray? I know her as the lead character in a Trollope novel, so am confused.


Emily Barton said...

Becky, I took your advice and also made ravioli from scratch. I felt much better by the end of the day.

Stef, no problem that you like Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. Just remind me not to leave you in charge of the music next time I have you over for a Christmas party.

Linser, oh wouldn't a show in which she's presented with nothing but ingredients wrapped in indestructable plastic be great? (Sounds like something SNL might have done in the good old days.)

Dorr, oh how nice to know someone else who won't have all her Christmas shopping done till Christmas Eve!

IM, well I should be struck down by lightning for commenting on typos, too, but that never seems to stop me from doing things, and so far, it hasn't happened.

Froshty, no need to worry. If we got all the trucks off the road, all your friends could work for the railways, who would be hiring like crazy.

Court, oh yes, why ruin the gouda and the broccoli like that? And, you and Stef can hang out at my Christmas party together, far away from the music.

Litlove, count your blessings that you don't know who Rachael Ray is! She hosts a cooking show over here all about preparing meals in 30 minutes or less, and she is extremely, extremely annoying.