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What's Bugging Us?

May 13, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

We have good values for sure. Our parents brought us up well. We know what's important; it’s the health, safety, and happiness of our family members, dearest friends, and work colleagues. We are socially conscious, know that world peace is a critical issue, and that there's too much bloodshed and hatred going around.

However, now that we’re 50 plus, things we ignored when we were younger, are starting to bug us in the course of a normal day, especially on those days when we’re a bit too self-focused. So, indulge us a bit if we sink to a new low and share these annoyances. Recognizing and admitting what sets us off at times adds some much needed levity when we think about these things. Yes, many are trivial and we know that. We also know that we can laugh at ourselves as we tick off what most bugs us today or bugged us yesterday or last week or a month or two ago. 

Note: We'd like to share that the idea for this list was inspired in part by the late Nora Ephron whose mother taught her--and she taught us--that yes, "everything is copy!" RIP Nora, your son's documentary shown recently on HBO made us miss you even more!

  • Waiters who swoop in to take away an empty plate because "it must be bothering you." Not at all, it troubles them if we're not hurrying enough to finish our meal for the next seating. "Please, leave it until we're all done. Thank you," we say, knowing that the owner failed to teach that key Danny Meyer hospitality lesson.
  • Bartenders who don't fill a glass at least halfway full with wine. We know you need to make a profit and have strict instructions, but it looks so chintzy. Maybe, consider using smaller glasses.
  • Conglomerates that are so eager to gobble up competition and be a much bigger behemoth that they don't think how they're affecting the lives of those in a community, who are loyal to certain stores. Example: a grocery store chain that is possibly closing a favorite supermarket or changing it to a new format. Yes, it's a big deal to us foodies.
  • People who are voting for a certain candidate, even if the politico doesn't represent their values, because they hate another so much more. First, how can you hate a candidate...disagree, dislike, for sure, but HATE? Tell us why and not that you don't like the other candidate's track record or something significant, not because of gender, hair style, way of speaking and laughing, clothes, or weight gain.
  • Friends who get all bent out of shape when we fail to do one thing they decide is a "hanging offense" and end years or decades of a friendship because from their point of view...YOU'RE SO TERRIBLY WRONG. HOW COULD YOU, YOU IMBECIL! How shortsighted and even Narcissistic when they won't stop, come up for air, and listen to your reasons, particularly when you've offered to talk face-to-face and have apologized in your own way. Give the person time to explain, then string up the noose.
  • Brutal honesty that some say that they totally believe in because if they don't share all it will distance the relationship, and we mean every single thing...from how they feel at that moment about you, maybe, that you've gained a few pounds or lost too many, or whatever. Namely, they haven't taken the time to walk in your shoes and also consider the effects of what they're doing to hurt your feelings. Where’s their empathy gene?
  • Remembering that the phone works both ways. Haven't heard from a friend or loved one for ages? Have you thought, gee whiz, why? Maybe, it's because you never pick up the phone and check, ask, or inquire. Are you lazy? Too busy? Come on. And we're talking about a real conversation, not an email or text, which does so much more to nurture a relationships When you talk--if we prod you to do so, remember to ask about the other person--how they are, what they're doing, how they're feeling. It's not all about you all the time!
  • Folks with an income who never think to pick up a check, yet brag about how much money they're making or the great trips they're taking, or what they're buying for their mega million house. We're not talking expensive fancy meals but a nice lunch or dinner out. Hey, be a sport. And kids with paychecks, sometimes it's nice to treat the folks or grandparents (our kids are excluded on this since they do offer at times, and we usually say "no.") We do appreciate they asked. Thanks.
  • Friends and relatives who can't remember your birthday or certain milestones. Facebook even reminds you these days if you're a member so that's not an excuse. There are also cute little birthday books that you can write in their special date. Check into the book or online periodically, and your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated.
  • Storekeepers who don't acknowledge your presence. Even for a second by saying, "Hello, I'll be right with you," if they're on the phone or chatting or helping another customer. They pretend they're letting you look around, and they may be, but too many simply don't think you're worth their time! Better to head out and go where you--and your dollars--might be appreciated.
  • People who are unaware they’re in your space and talk loudly on a cell phone, so loud, in fact, that you feel as if you’re part of the conversation. These are the same folks who bump into you on the street and don’t apologize, don’t open doors and let them slam in your face.
  • On the flip side, when we hold the door for someone and that person doesn’t even bother to say “thank you,” gently let them know with a "thanks, I loved holding the door open." It’s an easy and completely free way to express your gratitude. A little graciousness goes a long way.
  • People who walk right by the Salvation Army red kettle or anyone collecting for a charity in front of your favorite grocery store and refuse to put in any money, even loose change. Often they’ll say: “I’ll get you on the way out.” And they don’t. It’s helping others who have less than you, for heaven's sake.
  • Rudeness whether speaking to a waiter/waitress, shop person, or even a tech guru halfway around the globe whom you can't understand when you're very upset and feeling entitled. Stop yelling or being rule in stating your case. These are difficult jobs for which the pay is paltry. Didn’t you mother teach you that you get more bees with honey?
  • Drivers who won’t let someone in traffic in front of them or won’t allow a car to merge in their lane on the highway. Why are you in such a hurry?
  • People who think they are always right--100 percent, totally, always, and forever. And when they clearly aren’t correct about something such as a fact that can be verified especially in the age of Google it, they still don’t back down or apologize.
  • Pollsters and telemarketers who call relentlessly and our not knowing whether to answer and tell them to stop calling for fear if we do answer, they’ll never let us off the hook. We know you have to do your job but.....
  • Young people who take up all the seats in a public space and don’t get up to offer a place to an elderly person who might be standing with a cane or a walker.
  • Very loud music on a loop with a constant 4/4 rock beat that blasts in many retail clothing stores. Instead of energizing the 50-plus shopper, it tends to run us out of the store. Many of us have tender ears at this age. Please tone it down; if you want to become deaf that's your privilege.
  • Restaurants that have bad acoustics. The noise level is so loud that the conversation usually goes this way: “What? What? What did you say? What?” Of course, this makes us crazy and leads us all to think maybe we do need hearing aids as we race home to fish through the garbage to find the latest hearing aid ad.

Wow! We feel so much better now that’s off our chests.

What bugs you? Feel free to share your comments, even if it is a blog like this!




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