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Published: Sunday, 6/15/2003

Pet peeves seem lighter when she has an audience

“Basically” has come to be one of the most overused words in the English language.

Hi, are you? Basically, I am fine.

How is the job going? Basically, I like it.

It looks like rain. Basically, it does.

So here it goes again.

Basically, everything in this corner of the world is fine, but there are a few things I would like to change if I could.

An empty water bowl is near a dog tied on a short rope. Should I sneak in after dark and free the animal?

Gas station attendants who seem to have no idea how to give directions or even know the city in which they are working: Should we scream and stomp our feet, or simply work our way back into traffic to the next station?

Sales clerks who prefer to discuss their break and lunch times rather than wait on a customer: Should our frustration be reported to the manager?

Smokers: Should we step right up and ask, why are you doing it?

Ice cream bars that have been frozen so long they are gummy and you paid $2.50 each: Do we have the nerve to ask for a refund?

Crossing a state line and seeing gas is 20 cents higher and the gauge is nearly on E: Turn around and go back to save $1?

Learning at your out-of-town trip destination that the slacks you packed just won't go around you. Not even with a safety pin: Can we forego dessert at dinner that night?

Rain-spotted windows the day after they were washed: Blame the weatherman?

Finding the pair of slacks you were looking for in the drier. Wrinkled. Is such forgetfulness serious?

Rock hard peaches. Put them in a paper bag and hope; then pitch them.

The old barn down the road takes another tumble in heavy winds. Take a photo before it is totally gone.

People who decorate their yards and window boxes with plastic and silk flowers to avoid fresh plant maintenance: Tacky, no other word, it's just plain tacky.

Grocery coupons with very limited deadlines: Do they really want us to try the frozen fish sticks, or whatever?

Orange construction barrels: Imagine a spring without them and nothing to complain about.

Restrooms with empty hand towel dispensers. Too late.

Garage sale signs that are left up weeks after the sale is over: Remove them and deliver them to the address?

The speed limit is 55 miles an hour, but the automobile speedometer reads up to 140. Tell the policeman with the hot ticket in his hand it's not your fault; your car is engineered to fly.

Hotel check-ins that are 3 p.m. with check-out time at 11 a.m. the next day. That's not even 24 hours for a day's lodging fee. What a bummer. Forget it. It will never change; nor will most pet peeves, but sometimes it's just good to talk about them. Thanks for listening.

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