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Eight really irritating things that annoyed us in 2013

annoyance-Featured-ImageBy Simon Davies

Most of us expend a big chunk of our energy getting annoyed at the idiocy that surrounds us. Sometimes we wake up irritated and stay that way for much of the day. Our daily irritation is peppered by countless annoyances to the point where we become infuriated. Then people call us irrational, which is annoying.

If you’re like most other people you will have already devised a customised Dante’s Inferno for the people who annoy you. For example, the builder next door who insists on shouting instructions all day at the top of his voice to his mate on the roof is destined to be frozen for eternity on a lake of ice while rabid piranha’s with red-hot razor teeth gnaw endlessly on his genitals.

no-smoking-symbol-vector1You might imagine that intelligent people – such as the readers of this blog – become annoyed at the big political and social issues of the moment, but no. My straw poll of friends and colleagues indicates that annoyance is mainly about unruly milk cartons or some idiot neighbour with a tuneless singing voice who just won’t shut up. These might be relatively small matters, but – unchecked – they can eventually cause open warfare or 1st degree murder.

Is it any wonder that in the Mikado, the Lord High Executioner had a “little list” of those irritating people who were destined for extinction, including, but not limited to, just about everyone on earth:

“There’s the banjo serenader, and the others of his race,
And the piano-organist — I’ve got him on the list!”

After chatting with several dozen trusted people about this issue I was surprised at how many popular annoyances are to do with intrusion into private space. So here, for your end-of-year delight, is the top-ten.

Count how many of these behaviours annoy you and then look at the personality scorecard at the end of this blog to see how close you are to becoming a homicidal maniac.

Mobile phone irritation. This annoyance topped the list by a wide margin. People with annoying ring tones (in particular that infuriating whistling blight that recently became popular) and those who converse loudly in public will be first against the wall when the revolution comes. Special condemnation goes to people who text incessantly and refuse to put their notifications on silent mode. no_cry_babies_thai_airport_sign_party_plate-rd7137a6382ab4ec889b6d4854c13d6b0_ambb0_8byvr_324

Parents of screaming babies. This surprised me. People aren’t so much annoyed at babies who yell the roof down in a public place, but at parents who respond stupidly. I mean, what’s the point of saying “shhhhhush” very loudly twenty times a minute to a three month-old baby who’s going through her own indescribable hell? I’d prefer to throw the parents out of the plane and stick with the baby noise.

Purse and wallet procrastinators. This is an ancient bane. Why do some people in shops or ticket office windows wait until the very last minute to start hunting for their money? They’ve been in that cursed queue for entire minutes, long enough to make the mental leap that at some point they’ll need to locate cash. But no, they insist on wasting our time casually hunting through endless forests of junk while the rest of us have to sit by listening to the shhhushing of parents and annoying mobile phone noises.

Official announcements. There’s a sub-species of the human race which Satan designated as harbingers of doom and decay, and most are employed by railway companies and airports. They form a thick queue in front of microphones to solemnly inform us how various transgressions will result in endless forms of official reprimand, security intervention, police action and deprivation of liberty. In places like the London Underground these announcements compete with each other until you end up half deranged with uncertainty about whether you need to prioritise ignoring beggars or notifying staff of “unusual behaviour”.

polls_NoCookies_main_Full_5957_408306_answer_3_xlargeNo-smoking notices. Telling people they can’t smoke has become a vast and lucrative industry, which is a good thing because otherwise some people might actually smoke. And it’s not necessary just to inform people through a single medium. No, they must be endlessly informed by way of graphic signs, sombre announcements and subliminal messages. However for consistency we do need additional notices such as “This is a homicide free flight” or “Passengers are advised that sticking knitting needles into the thighs of staff who constantly announce that this is a non-smoking flight, is not permitted”.

Product packaging. Have you ever noticed that no matter which end of the Asprin box you open, you always choose the end where the information leaflet is folded over the tablets thus wasting several seconds of your valuable day? And how many times have you struggled with those fully moulded wrappings in hard plastic that require a chain saw to open? And don’t get me started on milk cartons. Modern packaging is clearly a global conspiracy to give the human race a collective stroke.

Cookie notices. Have no doubt, this is another of the great conspiracies of the modern era. In the face of mass surveillance, electronic terrorism and the breakdown of cyber-law the European Commission decided to distract the population by introducing a law that required all website owners to deface the screens of visitors with notices informing them that they had to consent to the use of a technology that the average person either does not understand or does not care about. In doing so, millions of people have become irritated at the cookie notices rather than at the Commission’s inability to actually deal with the things that really matter for online privacy and security. A stroke of strategic brilliance.

Electronic junk. People are increasingly annoyed by the rich variety of junk messages being pitched to them through targeted advertising, junk texts and automated call machines. Fortunately the European Commission has dealt with this growing menace by introducing a cookie law (see above).

Your personality scorecard

1-2 annoyances. You are passive. You let the world trample over your head and you really don’t care, do you. Sad.

3-6 annoyances. You are normal. That must really annoy you, being so ordinary.

7-8 annoyances. Watch yourself. You could snap at any moment. You are the sort of person who already mouths obscenities at grannies with zimmerframes.