21 Things I Irrationally Hate

{Note: This was written in the Spring of 2014 and never published for the reasons articulated here. I’ve added a link to a not-yet-written-at-the-time-but-exists-now post but am otherwise leaving it as written then.}


As I’ve indicated before, I was a lone blogger for a long time. I had hundreds of blog posts out there before I had very many people outside my real-life friends paying any attention.

I didn’t engage in Writing Challenges or Daily Prompts. I didn’t troll the tags or Freshly Pressed or any of the other avenues for “meeting people” in the blogging universe.

I was just telling my stories. Period.

Folks in the blogging universe eventually started to notice me and drag me slowly into the larger picture of a blogging community rather than just a rather public way to record the stories I want to hold onto. And as I gradually woke up, I started paying attention to those people that crossed my path. And I often liked what I saw.

I’m still not very good at checking out the blogs of people who like one of my posts or subscribe to follow mine. I’m just often busy when the notification comes in and then I don’t think about it later. But sometimes, when I’m lying in bed not wanting to get up (for example), I’ll follow the links in the email just to kill some more time.

I did that recently and discovered a delightful blog post from a kindred spirit entitled 21 Things I Irrationally Hate. At the end, she asked if we, her readers, had published a similar list. No, I thought, I haven’t.

With a sigh, I forced myself to leave blog land and start my day. As I trudged into the bathroom, I thought, What are my irrational hates? And they began to line up front and center in my brain. I looked around the bathroom. There was nothing within reach for me to write with. The desire to write it down warred with my reluctance to move. The former won out and I was soon standing at a counter writing them all down.

I ended up with more than 21. Which is fine. Just because her list has 21 doesn’t mean mine has to. But in the interest of keeping a handle on things, I applied a critical eye and ultimately decided that some of my “hates” were not in the least bit irrational and I crossed them off.

So now that I’ve written nearly an entire post without getting to the subject at hand, I now present to you my 21 Things I Irrationally Hate.

1) Snoring I can’t tolerate snoring noises. From the dog. From the spouse. From the kids. Simply can’t do it. It doesn’t matter how quiet or soft or rhythmic, whether I’m trying to sleep or not; once I hear it, I fixate on it and can’t let it go.

2) The New Donut Shop in Town First off, we really didn’t need a new donut shop. There’s almost as many donut shops as churches now. That’s not what raises my ire, however. The traffic congestion I now face on my morning drive to work, though, especially in light of the fact that we already had plenty of donut shops pushes me over the edge. Did they have to build it on that intersection?!

3) Pickled Beets As a kid, I occasionally confused beets and cranberry sauce. That was always an unhappy surprise. As an adult, I still can’t stand pickled beets and really don’t like beet lovers trying to peddle them to me.

4) Grammar Mistakes I abhor bad grammar. Far more than is reasonable for any sane person. If I receive word that there is a mistake in one of my blog posts and I can’t get to it to correct it, I get antsy. When I find one in any sort of “official” publication, I go ballistic. My eye is still twitching from the pop-up window on an application that said “Their are still windows open. Do you wish to continue?”

5) People Wearing Jeans or Perfume in the Backcountry Please. We are here to hike. And sleep under the stars. And experience nature. Quit screwing that up!

6) Losing Our Internet Connection Living in the country means this happens a lot. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of other things that could be done that don’t require internet service. Still, once it’s gone, I simply can’t wait to publish that blog post or watch that show on Netflix.

7) Facebook’s Sorting Criteria I have no idea how Facebook determines what is important for me to see. I really wish it would just leave it all in time order. That way, I can scroll until I see something I’ve already seen and know I’ve missed nothing. The Android Facebook app is even more baffling than the basic website.

8) Sweet Pickles Actually, not just any sweet pickles. Sweet pickles masquerading as dill. There is simply nothing worse in the culinary world than crunching into what you think is a dill pickle only to taste that icky sweet pickle taste.

9) Unsorted Laundry in my Kids’ Drawers No matter how many times I tell them to sort their pile of folded laundry, no matter how many times I clean out their drawers and dictate which articles go where, they always mess it up. It absolutely infuriates me when they say they can’t find something and I open the drawer to see that everything from shirts to pants to underwear and pajamas have been tossed higgledy-piggledy into the drawer.

10) Driving on Road Trips This is my husband’s job. I’m sorry, but it is. I do not like that he makes me share this burden. I mean, really. It’s my duty to sit in the passenger seat and read or sleep. Not his. What’s he thinking?

11) Slow Accelerators on On-Ramps Speaking of driving. I get quite irate when I get behind someone that does not understand that the objective of the on-ramp is to get your car up to, or at least close to, highway speeds before you reach the highway. I’ve been known (if no one is behind me) to come to a complete stop when I realize I’m behind a hopeless snail, thus allowing me time to properly accelerate once they get out of the way.

12) Premature Deccelerators Approaching Off-Ramps Similarly, I despise people who begin to slow down on the highway prior to actually getting on the off-ramp. People! 99% of the off-ramps are specifically designed to allow you enough time to go from highway speed to access road speed on them. Please don’t jump the gun!

13) My Right Pinky Toe I’m not kidding. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, just that it gives me problems. The nail isn’t like the ones on all my other toes. I think the bone is turned slightly too. It’s like it’s twisted slightly to the outside – imagine someone with bowlegs. That’s what my toe reminds me of. It’s not that noticeable to look at but it makes wearing certain shoes uncomfortable. And it always waits until I’ve purchased said shoes before it indicates there’s a problem.

14) Poop There’s several things about poop that I hate. First, I’m really, really tired of wiping my five year old’s bottom. Really. I’m also tired of the two older children suddenly realizing they need to poop a couple of minutes into a task I’ve given them. Oh, and then, the teenager with the ipod in particular will spend half an hour or more on the toilet. And if I poke my head in to tell her she’s taking too long, she’ll exclaim, “Mo-om! I’m trying to poop!” It’s like throne time is non-questionable. I simply must accept their prolonged attempts to relieve themselves. Of waste product, and of responsibility.

15) Exercising Without Entertainment Bo-oring! Give me a book and I’ll walk the treadmill or ride the stationary bike. Give me a movie and I’ll run on that treadmill. Deprive me of both and I’ll hate every minute of it. Hate it.

16) Janitors Who Fail to Properly Stock Toilet Paper This will be its own post some day soon. I can’t stand it when janitors take out the almost finished roll from a double dispenser and stack it on top for me to use instead of waiting for it to empty (there is another one in the dispenser, after all). {edit: Ironically, the toilet paper post became reality long before this list did.}

17) People Who Use Toilet Paper Wrongly I’m still talking about double TP dispensers in public restrooms. In order for the janitors to even be able to stock properly, people need to always take paper from whichever roll is smaller. Otherwise, we end up with two very small rolls instead of one empty and one full, and then the janitors are forced to make me angry by stacking the rolls.

18) Forgetting to Put the Laundry in the Dryer Something’s wrong with our dryer. It takes a very long time to dry. So if I forget to move the laundry over to it, it delays the whole process when I prepare to start a new round. Even worse is when I put it in the dryer and fail to start it. Then, I’m ready to move the next load over, but – surprise! The previous load is still wet! Then my whole plan is thrown off.

19) Inaccuracy I’m not talking about lying. I’m just talking about people being inaccurate. About anything. I can’t help myself. If we agree that we are going to do X, then Y, then Z, and you then relate to another friend that we will do X, Z, Y, even if the order doesn’t matter, I’ll correct you. If you tell someone we saw a green car and I know it was blue, I’ll likely interrupt your tale to correct the color. Even if it’s not integral to the story. This extends on into areas of truth that are legitimate areas to insist on accuracy, but the drive for everything to be right is completely irrational.

20) Public Lore That Is False Oh, my gosh, this drives me crazy! “Al Gore invented the internet”… “Woman sued McDonald’s because she didn’t know coffee was hot”. The fact that Al Gore never claimed to invent the internet and the poor old woman was severely burned by excessively hot coffee and only sued when McDonald’s refused to cover her medical expenses is lost on most people. This stems from #19. I feel the need to correct stuff like this All. The. Time. Does it really matter if Joe Blow thinks the McDonald’s lawsuit was frivolous? Yes! To me, it does. Even though… really… it probably shouldn’t…

21) Internet Comments I have friends who love reading the comments on news articles. They are greatly amused by the wealth of idiocy on display. I can’t stand them. There are three types of comments I can’t stand – for different reasons. There’s the angry/hateful/judgmental ones; those are the people who can’t imagine anyone else having a different opinion and feel the need to beat down everyone else. I think hatred of them might just be rational. Then there’s the clueless people; those whose comments illustrate that they simply haven’t read the article. Or have poor reading comprehension. I should ignore these people but I can’t (see #19 and #20). Then there’s the people who comment on tragedies with some variation of “Praying!” or “Prayers coming from Dallas!” Hating these comments is completely irrational because they are probably nice people who mean well. But those comments have always struck me as a bit pompous. Announcing prayer is not necessary for its success. I don’t think the people being prayed for are likely to see the comments in order to take comfort from all that praying being tossed around. So it strikes me as people who want to advertise to everyone else that they are good Holy people. And that annoys me. I often wonder how many of them actually stop to pray before rushing to the next story to react strongly to.

And there’s my list. What about you? What do you irrationally hate? Overly long and rambling blog posts about nothing? 😉

Grand Canyon 2014: The People

Backpacking can be a relatively solitary activity. Depending on where you are hiking, you might not interact with any other humans outside of your crew for several days. However, you have absolutely nothing else to do except interact with those people, so the time is always special.

When hiking in more populous areas, like the corridor area of Grand Canyon National Park, you are going to encounter many, many people. Again, these interactions tend to be very special, even if brief.

Now, there are annoyances, mind you. You aren’t going to like everyone you come across. I could have done without the girl giggling during sex while I tried to sleep. On the other hand, seeing them earlier in the evening, sitting on a bench, staring soulfully into each other’s eyes… while making me want to roll my eyes, also made me smile. They were in love and chose to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon together. So there was a bit of a smile behind the eye rolling.

I definitely could have done without the two women I dubbed “The Valley Girls.” They cut short my attempt at a nap the last full day in the canyon because one of them had chosen that afternoon to show the other one some pictures she had taken. The other one loudly proclaimed, “O. M. G. These are so {shrieking}WONDERFUL!! I can’t believe you brought these. These are just. So. Awesome. I simply can’t believe it.” Every conversation was loud enough for me to hear and I simply wanted to strangle them.

The folks we kept leap-frogging with on the second day were ok. They kept giving us encouragement like “you guys are doing great!” Of course, they lost some kudos when they told me that I sure have some tough girls there. I think they were embarrassed when I said it was actually one girl and two long-haired boys.

Then there’s the perfumed women in designer jeans. Come on, people. I know you are just day hikers, but some of us are actually trying to rough it here and we really don’t need a nose full of your flowery scent to remind us of our own reek.

And there’s the men who asked me if we had flashlights when the boys and I were heading out on a trail at dusk. On the one hand, I appreciated their concern for our well being. On the other hand, I wondered if they would have asked the question if it had been my husband chaperoning the children. I would hope they would but I couldn’t help feeling there was a bit of condescension in the questions.

But for all the annoying people, there’s always really cool people to balance it all out.

One family was hiking with a trail guide. We encountered them on the trail several times, but more importantly, they took the campsite we had initially thought to claim the first night. We had deposited the children in that site and then walked on, found a different one, and had them move to it. That meant when we discovered our children were missing items, it was this family that we checked in with and they had indeed found the all-important walking sticks and sunglasses.

When the kids and I went to the sink by the bathrooms to rinse out our dishes without soap (it was the only night we’d be using those dishes so we didn’t bother to pack soap), a nice man about my age offered us use of his soap and scrub brush. He and I then visited about hiking with kids. His level of friendliness is something I’ve come to expect in the back country.

Another family at that initial campsite was doing a whirlwind Spring Break. I first saw the 10 year old girl limping up the trail to the bathroom and smiled. I knew she was sore.

Sure enough, as we entered the bathroom, her mom was exiting and the girl remarked on how sore she was. I struck up a conversation and learned that they had hiked down that day and were hiking back up the next. And then going skiing.

“I think we might be crazy,” the mom said. Barely able to walk myself, I agreed.

Then there’s the rangers. It takes a special person to be a good ranger and we had incredibly good fortune on this trip. The boys did the Junior Ranger program at Phantom Ranch the first night and the woman who gave them their Ranger vows was great. She made them swear not to whine on the trail and that ranger rule came in handy on subsequent days.

They also did the ranger program at Indian Garden after a ranger stopped me – I initially thought to chastise me for letting my kids be too far away from me. Turns out she wanted to give them the Junior Ranger books.

A different ranger gave them their vows that night and was then hiking out the same morning as us. We enjoyed visiting with him when he caught up to us. I teased him about having planned to leave out earlier that morning. He confessed to being reluctant to leave his coffee.

He then questioned some boys heading down with knives and scarves as if they were going into warfare. They tried to act all macho and insisted they knew what they were doing. “We like to be prepared,” one guy declared as they all hurried to get away from the ranger.

“Are you expecting to fight a mountain lion?” asked the ranger with a twinkle in his eye. We smiled at each other as the boys headed on down the trail.

There is a special comradery on the trail. You find interesting people from all walks of life, with one common trait: a great love of the outdoors and being in the thick middle of it.


Another family car ride conversation…

“I really like that silver boat,” said Hal. “Bubba said there could be two people in it but there can’t. There can only be one person in it.”

Daryl responded, “A thousand people could fit in it.”

“No they couldn’t.”

“Yes they could.”

“NO. They couldn’t!”

“Yes they could.  A thousand ants could fit in it.”

“Oh. I thought you said people.”

“He did say people,” I said.

“Hey. Ants are people too!” added my husband at the same time Daryl said, “Ants think of themselves as people.”

“You don’t know how ants think of themselves,” I objected.

“Yes I do. I can talk to ants.”

“Hey,” my husband said in his usual attempt to stir things up, “As long as their siblings have children, they are ants.”

“Only if they are female,” said I in my usual role as straight man, “Otherwise they are uncles.”

“Hey. This is the 21st century. We don’t discriminate like that!”