Among the many things that make you want to scream are:
• You phone someone, but instead get their answering machine. You start leaving a message, but before you can finish, their machine cuts off and beeps at you, as if to say: “Too long-winded, too long-winded!”
Tell that “bleeping” machine that some messages don’t fit into only 30 seconds of tape time.
Answering machine greeting messages that are too long, say things like: “Hi. We’re not home, but here are the kids singing three songs they learned in school,” or, “Hi. We’re not home, but did you hear the one about the guy who ...?”
You start to think you’ll never get a chance to leave a message because theirs is going on forever. Though these messages are often cute, by the time they’re finished, you’ve forgotten why you called. Plus if you call back later, you’ll have to listen to this long message all over again. This does not make for a happy (telephone) camper.
• Paper coin wrappers. You get the coins all counted out, then try to gather them together into a pile, then try to pick up the pile and place it in the paper wrapper while keeping the pile from falling over and trying to fold the paper over the ends and — oops — the coins split apart and fly all over the table.
There must be a clever system to this infuriating task. Most people probably buy those pre-formed tubes that make it easy. Others buy that TV-advertised coin sorter. But we, who are thrifty, just keep using the bank-supplied coin papers and continue to wrestle with this dilemma, even though it drives us crazy.
• People who stand too close to you when you’re chatting with them and invade your “space.” These people are not aware of the appropriate psychological distance factor that most of us seem to sense naturally. They’re too close for comfort and, what’s worse, they won’t allow you to increase your space. If you move a little farther away, they move closer.
It gets to be a game, but you’re the only one playing, because they don't realize what's going on “spatially.” They can’t help themselves. They’re congenital “space invaders,” or as Seinfeld dubbed them, “close-talkers.” If you move farther away, they fill in that space. Move an inch and they creep an inch closer. They’d be right at home in the Tokyo subway, wouldn’t they?
• Is there anything more irritating than trying to rake leaves in the wind? Yes, there is: It’s trying to get the leaves into a garbage bag in the wind.
• You buy something and then after a couple of days you decide to take it back for a refund. You can’t find the bill. You figure the store will take it back anyway. Wrong.
• Family camping trips. You want to demonstrate your outdoor abilities so you start a campfire. Correction, you try to start a campfire, over and over again, with no luck. Finally, the fire blazes up, but now it’s bedtime, so you put it out. Correction, you try to put it out. You can’t extinguish those flames no matter how hard you try. In fact, the fire is still smoldering the next morning.
• Why can’t they breed a house cat that doesn’t shed hair? I know, I know; you’re saying, “Well, they do.” Okay then, why can’t I find one of these non-shedders? Where are they hiding them? Under a pile of cat hair?
• Why is it that windshield washer fluid is never on sale when you’re completely out of it? But if you have four jugs at home, it’s on sale everywhere?
• So-called “instant glues” can drive you crazy. It would be nice, if they glued the things they’re designed for as effectively as they glue your fingers together.
• Because of the way your golf bag is constructed, you can’t get the clubs back into it unless you shove them in full force. And when you try to get them out, it’s like they’re welded to the bottom of the bag. Isn't golf frustrating enough? Do we really deserve more aggravation?