I briefly waffled on which of the prescribed topics I wanted to write about for this leg of the competition. But after inexplicably sitting in traffic for an hour and a half last night (on what is typically a 25-minute commute), the decision became oh so very clear. And while I believe the instruction is technically to write about something (singular) that drives me nuts, because that soul-crushing traffic mess is still very fresh in my mind, I find it hard to narrow it down to just one. So let’s try an even 16, shall we?
Anyways, here are some of the things in life that drive me the nuttiest:
- That my twin 14-month-olds won’t eat fresh croissants topped with organic peanut butter, but will eat paper towels.
- That it seems like 95% of the movies being released these days are remakes, ill-advised sequels/prequels, lame interpretations of previously published materials (namely teen novels, comic books and video games) or some combination of the three. Originality has been steadily weeded out by Hollywood over the last few decades, and I think it’s finally on the verge of extinction.
- People who don’t get far enough out into the intersection when they’re turning left at a green light. For Christ’s sake, other people behind you are trying to turn, too.
- The hordes of “experts” out there who scoff at every against-the-modern-preachings parenting decision you make. You sleep your baby on his stomach? You monster! You’re having a glass of wine while you’re pregnant? A pox on thee! You haven’t gotten your kid vaccinated for leprosy, scrumpox and prairie itch? Get DCFS on the phone!
- That law enforcement agencies seem to prefer to punish crime rather than prevent it. There are many layers to this, but one common example is the use of “speed traps” in which police officers strategically obscure their cars from the view of passing motorists. By making themselves less visible, officers are essentially goading motorists into driving at dangerous speeds so that they can hand out tickets, whereas if they put themselves in plain sight they’d be encouraging motorists to drive safer in the first place.
- Desitin. Gets. Everywhere.
- People who walk really slowly down the hallway or sidewalk, and then give you a dirty look when you speed up to pass them.
- Bathroom stalls with doors that open inwards. Nothing I love more than being pinned between a plastic door and a public toilet.
- Poorly translated assembly instructions. “Place inert side railing headed for crib ending side.” Sounds good.
- That airline safety officials find it acceptable for passengers to read bulky, obtrusive hardcopy newspapers during takeoff and landing, but unacceptable to read the news on a 2” x 4.5” iPhone.
- People who act surprised and outraged when the item they bought on Craigslist turns out to be a piece of crap.
- Gangnam Style.
- Child car seats that weigh more than the car.
- That “fun size” candy bars are gradually shrinking. Not so fun anymore.
- Plastic packaging that’s impossible to open. Yes, I know there are all sorts of tools you can use to make it easier, but you know what would be even better? If I didn’t need a can opener, Bowie knife and blowtorch to gain access to my new Gillette Fusion.
And, of course…
- Seven miles of coned-off lanes, orange signs and bumper-to-bumper traffic, and nary a road worker in sight.
P.S. I’m honored to have made it this far in the contest – plenty of talented writers were and still are in the competition. Happy to be among you!