Soooooo many grievances.
Let's start with the most regular source of annoyance, the subway. In New York, people complain a lot about the reliability of subway service. That's actually a secondary concern for me. What really drives me crazy is the people on the subway. Here's a list of infuriating behaviors:
- Trying to get onto the train before letting everyone get off.
- People on the train who block the entrance when it arrives at a station.
- Playing music or other sounds off some device. Get some fucking headphones.
- Pushing or shoving or invading personal space because it's crowded.
- Playing music with an instrument or any other performance on the train. There's plenty of room in stations for that.
- Not moving to the center of the car in order to make room for others.
Next up, smartphones and tablets. I can't think of a worse invention over the past 20 years. They add little and hurt so much. I've already mentioned the regrettable tendency to play music in public (Headphones are cheap!!!), but far worse is the enormous harm caused to human sociality. Socializing is the bedrock of the human experience. Without it, people gradually grow insane. But I can't hang out with my brother without him spending half the time staring at his phone.
My brother, for thinking that his phone is an excuse for flagrantly ignoring basic politeness.
Consumerism in general. Consumerism is, of course, a permanent condition, but every December makes a disgusting spectacle. There is something so sad and so vapid about the ceaseless desire to buy and buy and buy some more. THINGS WILL NEVER MAKE YOU HAPPY, PEOPLE! THE ONLY THING THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY IS OTHER PEOPLE, BUT GUESS WHAT? YOU'RE IGNORING THEM TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PHONE.
Christmas music. It's been a long month, and I am fucking sick to death of this stupid, stupid, stupid music that is completely unavoidable for 8.5% of the year.
My overbearing mother, a perennial concern.
On the other side of the spectrum, parents of small children who do not feel they are responsible for their children's conduct in public. Being a child is a good excuse for acting in ways that are annoying and offensive to others. There is no excuse for being a parent who allows one's child to act in ways that are annoying and offensive.
All of my friends, who about five or six years ago decided that they wanted to spend their entire lives either working or streaming content at home and never socializing again.
My oldest friend, who despite doing more than almost anyone in this country to fight neo-nazis and white supremacists in his professional life, also espouses a sort of low-key anti-semitism. He also hates Chinese people. Last week, we met for drinks, and I finally got fed up and started yelling at him and then walked out.
My oral anatomy, which required a root canal last month and will require gum grafts on four teeth in the coming year.
Orthodontics, which straightened some teeth for me in childhood but probably caused the resorption that required a root canal years later. It also may have worsened the gum recession that will require grafts.
Dental insurance in the United States, which does not operate like regular health insurance. Apparently, employee-offered dental insurance always has a cap of $1500. Of course, I'm lucky because most people in the United States do not even have access to employee-offered dental insurance.
A quick grab bag of others:
- The New York real estate market
- All the advertisements before seeing a movie in a theater
- The coming climate bloodbath and society's inability to do anything about it
- Late capitalism and cultural hegemony
And most of all, myself, for being so pessimistic and fatalistic and easily annoyed and unable to create anything positive.