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Chapter 7

Pet Peeves

Me Again: Seems like I am not the only one out there with pet peeves. Marilyn up in Illinois hit on one of mine. Dirty silverware or the lack of it. Certainly no excuse for that. My wife makes a big show of shining hers with her napkin. I have tried to explain if it is not sterile when it arrives at the table, no amount of rubbing will get rid of those little microbes. Speaking of microbes. If you ever plan to eat another bite of meat, then don't read the current issue of National Geographic. Scare you to death. If what they say is true then everyone who has ever taken a bite of KFC or other fast food is dead or in ICU in some hospital. KFC brags about eleven secret herbs and spices. I know two of them - hair and feathers.

Road rage makes the news almost every day. No wonder. There are some real doozies out there licensed to drive automobiles and talk on cell phones. One thing that really tears me up. Say I am in the middle lane and I know my exit is coming up in about a mile. Without fail there will be some donkey in the blind spot on my pickup. As soon as I turn on my signals, he moves up alongside forcing me to slow down to make the lane change. I didn't know we were racing to the exit. Sometimes I wish I drove a semi instead of a half ton pickup.

Public Restrooms. Texas has to have the worst system in the country. Other states have rest stops with facilities about every sixty miles. Not Texas. If you can't hold it for at least two hours you better rely on Depends. Texas rest areas are clean, just too far apart. Other states also have security people twenty-four hours a day. I did have a peeve from a friend in Austin who was upset about rest rooms in Europe but that is a different culture. What do they say? When in Rome.....learn to speak Italian. Or something like that.

While I was stationed in Germany someone told me the story about a GI from Kentucky. While waiting for his train in the Bahnhof, he suddenly had the urge to go. He was looking around and caught the attention of a porter. He asked, "Can you tell me where the men's room is?" The man pointed at a sign over a door that read, HERREN. The GI said, "I saw that sign, I want to know where is HIS'N.

Don't you love elevators? When you finally find out where it is hidden, there may be someone ahead of you who has already pushed the button. You know this because the little light is lit. Just to make sure you give it a good solid push. Maybe the first guy didn't press it hard enough. Now comes another soul who stands there a minute and then he presses the button. At this rate I am surprised they don't have to replace those buttons every day! Once on the lift, everyone heads for their "space." Some humans have to have "space" and are frantic when someone invades it. You have seen them. Practically glued to the back wall ready to defend it at all cost. I give these folks room, it can get nasty otherwise. Then there is the clown. He is only going to the second floor but he pushes every button on a fifty floor elevator which means you have to stop at every floor on the way up! Lucky if you are only going to the fourth or fifth floor. I miss the elevators with operators. Some of them were cute. I don't recall ever meeting one who wasn't friendly and could help you find the office you were looking for.

I am either getting old or suffering from a form of male PMS since it only occurs once a month at bill paying time. I am not upset that I have to pay the bill. I get upset about the amount since that is my fault and I don't get upset with myself or my wife. Especially my wife, she fights dirty.

There is no order of importance, my peeves all rate the same. The one that prompted this letter is the little note on the return envelope furnished by the creditor. In the upper right hand corner they have conveniently placed a small rectangle about the size of a first class stamp. Inside the rectangle is a note that either says, "Place stamp here," "Postage Required," or the one that really gets my goat, "Place stamp here, Post Office will not deliver without proper postage." The companies that place the latter usually have a note on the back asking if you signed your check, included your account number, do not send cash, do not staple and did you include the return portion of your statement?

Now I ask you? Do they think they are dealing with a bunch of first graders? One of these days I am going to either do or exclude every one of these rules and see what happens. I picked up one solution to unsolicited junk mail, those that come with postage paid envelopes. I gather up a bunch of other junk including their own and return it. I would love to see the look on the person's face who opens it expecting a check or credit card information. I am not going to touch on Internet servers in this letter. That would take a week just for the highlights.

My next peeve deals with waiters/waitresses. My mother owned a cafe when I was younger and having spent some time in the business, I feel qualified to write. This incident really shocked me. Nonie, my long suffering wife, and I decided to dine at Steak and Ale, a very nice upscale restaurant here in Fort Worth. Our decision was based on a "twofer coupon." Purchase one entree, get one free. There is a one hour window. You have to use the coupon between five and six PM. We were seated after being asked if we had reservations. I really didn't think they were necessary since we were the only customers in the place. We must have looked like the coupon type because we were seated at the worst table in the dining room. Too small. Barely large enough for coffee let alone the full course meal we anticipated. The waiter arrived, introduced himself and then stood tapping his pencil on his tray while we scanned the menu. We had dined there many times, knew the menu by heart and knew what we wanted. Nonie placed her order and then he turned to me and asked, "And how about you, Bub." Nonie knew what was about to happen and kicked me under the table which meant, "don't create a scene." I didn't. I waited for the manager to come by and called him over by saying, "Excuse me BUB?" He came right over, pointed to his name tag and informed his name was not BUB. I told him I thought that was a common name since that was what the waiter had called me. Our waiter was replaced by a bubbly young lady who knew Sir and Ma'am. I didn't set out to cost the waiter his job. I don't think he was cut out to work in public anyway. Besides, he is young enough to train for another profession.

Fast food restaurants as in McDonalds. They hate to see me coming. When I order a hamburger and the cashier reaches for one that has been sitting under a heat lamp for who knows how long, I tell them I want a fresh one. That starts an argument usually settled by a manager. The hamburgers have their "special sauce" which is not to my liking. One manager told me the reason they made the sandwiches ahead was to save time. I told him I had plenty of time to wait for a fresh one prepared the way I wanted it. This really upsets their routine. Let me get this in while I am at it. A gum chewing cashier who rings up the sale and then gives you your change without counting it out. If you have bills and coins, they put the bills, the receipt and then the coins on top which usually slide off on the floor or the counter. That is why you see me standing there with both hands outstretched, palms up and saying "coins here, bills here." Depending on the expression on their face, I sometimes make a show of counting my change a couple of times while comparing it to the receipt and then asking if they are sure the amount is correct. If you say it real nice, count it a couple of times, smile, and then ask, "Are you sure?" they start to doubt it thinking they have given you too much.

I won't dwell on telemarketers. One called me one afternoon and I said, "I am really glad you called." He perked up right away thinking he was about to make the sale of a lifetime. I asked if he had my name on his screen along with other potential customers. When he told me he did, I told him I had been working on a computer program to erase a telemarketers data base and since his was the first call would he mind helping me test it. I told him all he had to do was stay on the line for about thirty seconds and when I pushed ENTER on my keyboard, it would erase every number on his screen. The phone went dead.

Any other pet peeves out there? I would be glad to hear about them.

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