My late grandfather was the first curmudgeon I truly admired. There was an art to his grumpiness — a world-weary annoyance at all the random crap that used to punctuate his day. He was never mean or hysterical, just always a little pissed off.
I used to think you had to be old to qualify for curmudgeon status, but I'm not so sure anymore. I'm not even 40, and I'm sometimes surprised by how long the list of Things That Annoy Me has become. At this rate, I'll be screaming at kids (maybe my own) to "get the hell off my property" before I turn 45.
I thought of Grandpa Friday night when my husband and I went to see "Iron Man" (which was great). I don't have a problem with people chatting before the movie starts, but it became clear very early that we were sitting behind The Woman Who Laughs at Everything. Apparently, her husband is the wittiest man on the planet, though he appeared to be doing nothing other than eating nachos. Well into the previews, she leaned over and guffawed roughly every 10 seconds. I'd have moved, but the joint was packed. Thank God the action finally silenced her, or at least drowned her out.
In no particular order, here are other things that bring out my inner curmudgeon:
Talking at Concerts
OK, you've scored tickets to a fantastic show and have killer seats. You can't believe your luck. So why not celebrate ... by spending the entire 90 minutes yukking it up with friends? Seriously, why are you even here? Why didn't you just put "Roxanne" on repeat on your home stereo system and invite your equally clueless pals over? That way, you could have saved a lot of money and spared serious fans the aggravation. Next time, stay home.
We all have a little voice inside our heads that occasionally says things like, "You know that Manfred Mann song? Boy, it would be fun to whistle that from beginning to end!" Many of us ignore it when we're in close quarters with others. Not the Office Whistler. S/he has a song in his or her heart, and by God, s/he is going to share it. Repeatedly. Tunelessly. At an ear-stabbing volume. Indefinitely.
About a year ago, my husband and I went to dinner at Bonefish Grill, which is a pretty nice restaurant. It's not Le Cirque, but it's a notch above, say, Chili's. Most people were dressed like us — nice slacks and shirt, decent shoes, etc. But I distinctly remember several others in flip-flops, faded jeans and (my personal favorite) T-shirts bearing sports team logos. We all want to be comfortable, but is it that hard to throw on a polo shirt and a pair of clean pants? If you insist on looking like you don't give a shit at all times, I hear Wendy's makes a fine chicken sandwich.
This phenomenon is particularly familiar to those of us who went to historically black colleges. When I was an undergrad, it was common to see people (usually women) dressed to kill ... for biology class. I'm talking high heels, silk blouses, dangling earrings, designer purses. While I learned a lot about fashion by default, I've seen this taken way too far over the years. If you're only going to the mall or to Target, do you want to look like a "Sex and the City" refugee or a Kimora Lee Simmons impersonator?
I enjoy a good piece of chewing gum. However, I try not to telegraph that pleasure by chewing it with my mouth open or cracking the little air bubbles over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, until others want to jam a hand in my mouth and physically remove the Wrigley's.
What are your pet peeves? I mean, besides ranting bloggers.