Every day we encounter petty annoyances. Often they're nitpicking trifles, of insufficient consequence for victims to feel inspired to form a support group or even write a letter to the editor to voice their concerns. Nonetheless repetitive displays of the same thoughtless behaviour can wear a person down. So in the interests of raising awareness of these issues and, hopefully, modifying the behaviour of repeat offenders, here is a list of people who really do need to try harder.
Drivers who won't drive through the gap
Picture this: a car ahead indicates a right turn and must wait for the stream of oncoming traffic before proceeding. Sometimes the car immediately behind this vehicle will stop and wait as well although there is enough space to the left of the front car to drive a bus through. Meanwhile a queue of cars needlessly banks up behind the second car and a traffic jam is created purely thanks to idiocy. The sheer stupidity is only underscored when finally, much later, the driver decides he/she can fit and drives victoriously through, freeing dozens of people from an imaginary barrier. What goes on inside that driver's head? Does he/she suddenly realise that driving through is an option or does he/she subscribe to the theory that cars shrink while waiting?
If your group of pedestrians is taking up more than its fair share of the footpath's width - perhaps because there are three or four of you, or perhaps there are two of you with, say, a dog on an extra-long lead - it's your responsibility to make way for an oncoming pedestrian, either by going single file or by moving your dog in closer or by one of you falling back behind a friend to allow this other person to pass. I've lost count of the times I've been confronted by an unyielding wall of people who show no sign of allowing me through. What, I always wonder, do they think I'm going to do? Conveniently disappear in a puff of smoke? Shuffle through sideways to minimise my width? I have no choice but to stand my ground and eventually one member of the oncoming party grudgingly (and at the last minute) steps back to allow me a sliver of space to squeeze through. Rude.
Inconsiderate backpack wearers
Many backpack wearers are either unconcerned with the comfort of those around them or have a very poor sense of spatial awareness. In close quarters, such as in a queue or on a cramped aircraft, people who do not make allowances for the bulky load attached to their back are downright antisocial. Many times, while in the aisle seat of a domestic aircraft, I've had to dodge a heavy backpack while its owner has turned and sent it where my head was seconds earlier. Backpackers should look before they twirl rather than force fellow passengers to duck and dive dramatically to avoid assault.
People who issue false virus warnings
Before forwarding me and all your other contacts an email headed "VERY, VERY URGENT - PLEASE CIRCULATE" about an email message with an attachment called "BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE" which is said to contain a virus that "burns the whole hard disk C of your computer" please establish the veracity of this claim. According to myth-busting website Snopes this is a hoax that has been doing the rounds for four years now. If I could discover this from ten seconds on the internet why couldn't the sender?
People who needlessly press the pedestrian button at traffic lights
I have two things to say to these people. Firstly, if the little red man is already illuminated then there's no need to push the button to cross. The fact that the little man is red means somebody has already pressed the button. Secondly, there is no need to push this button a dozen times. There's no correlation between the number of times pressed and the speed with which the signal to cross will show. In summary: once is sufficient, although not always necessary. Got it?
And, finally, people who click ballpoint pens on and off incessantly
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