Monday, January 31, 2011

The Bill Splitter

You've just enjoyed a pleasant dinner with a group of friends or family.  Perhaps you had appetizers, certainly entrees, cocktails, dessert...  And now the bill arrives.  And with the bill arrives that guy.  He's been sitting at your table all along, but suddenly he's active, moving quickly to get his hands on that itemized receipt, "splitting" the bill.  Just divide it evenly?  Oh, heavens no - he wouldn't hear of it.  After all, you might have ordered the $16.95 linguine while he had the $16.25 hoagie.  Logic would never let him believe that, if you go out often together, that 70 cents would probably come back around.  
The bill splitter is often also the bill collector.  He figures out what he owes.  (which never includes tax and could be shy on a couple of other incidentals ordered)  He is also happy to figure out what you owe.  (rounding up, of course)  By becoming the bill collector, he is able to sort and massage everyone else's money.  Funny enough, in the end, he may just end up having to put in less than he originally tallied, because everyone else just paid too darn much.  Sorry, waitress, if you get snubbed out of that mediocre tip you were expected.
Once I was at a Mexican restaurant and the bill splitter sauntered in a little later than everyone else, just as a large bowl of delicious cheese dip and accompanying chips arrived.  He managed to inhale 3/4 of the offerings.  When the bill came, however, he relied on hard facts when figuring his totals - someone else ordered the appetizer, he wasn't even there yet.  Hence, it would obviously not in any way go towards his total.  I don't like this guy.

*I would like to make an exception to this pet peeve - you did not indulge in alcohol.  You're out with a bunch of riotous booze hounds.  Don't split the bill evenly.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Movies as an Intellectual Stimulant

There have been times in my life that I have been laughed at.  Ridiculed.  I have stood tall at these moments, because I believe that it is okay to want to go see romantic comedies, blockbusters, and other entertainment-driven movies with predictable endings.  They call it the entertainment industry for a reason.  It is not called the philosophy industry. 
It has happened more than once that people have said to me, "You're seriously going to see that movie?  Oh, God..."  These are the same people that like to call movies "films" and detest any "film" that doesn't give rise to deep thoughts and disturbing flashbacks in the weeks to come.  They want their intellect not only tickled at the movies, but massaged to the point of confusion.  Secretly, they may also be the people that actually are confused by the movies they see, but they heard that some cerebral critic said that it was an "important film", so they have to act like it's the best movie they've ever seen.
Of course I do stray into the range of a "thought provoker" when I am in the mood, but my point is that there is nothing wrong with being entertained at the movies.  I have my own life that has sad parts, mundane parts, and problems - why do I have to pay to go watch someone else's?  These are actors, most of the stories are made up - so let it be make-believe.  Believe it or not, I want to see two good looking people fall in love in an unrealistically quirky environment where they get to wear Prada and not go to work.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Big Lady, Little Voice

This peeve is about being an adult and embracing the responsibilities of adulthood, such as suiting up with and using the voice of an adult.  Specifically, I am talking about the lady who insists on using the vocal style of a pre-adolescent doll.  You will find that the woman who speaks in this manner is 9 out of 10 times carrying around a considerable number of extra lbs and is also likely to raise an elegant little pinkie into the air while she nibbles her food.  The little-voiced woman is almost always a nibbler, at least in the public eye (behind closed doors this is likely not the case.)  Behind those same closed doors, the voice is also likely to be quite different, if the lady can admit it to herself.  Because it is literally physiologically impossible to retain the voice of Shirley Temple when you have passed the age of twenty three and have also passed the 175 lb marker on the scale.
I believe that the reason behind the voice is to imply to those around the person that what your eye sees is truly an illusion and, in fact, what your ear hears is the reality.  You see a fully developed woman, but if you were to close your eyes you might believe yourself to be in the presence of a gerbil or an elf.  Such daintiness collides violently with reality.  Please, let all women disembark from the Good Ship Lollipop, step out of the hamster cage, and embrace the voice of the lady that you truly are!  

Friday, January 28, 2011

The "Denovation"

What I like to refer to as the Denovation is a type of "almost there" renovation that people perform in order to add that extra space onto their home.  Most commonly, the denovation occurs on the rancher, or ranch style home, but no home-type is immune to the denovation. 
The most conventional form of denovation is the garage transformation.  This consists of walling up the garage door, throwing up some drywall, a little wall to wall on the floor, and wa-la: the new den!  Here in lies the problem: the actual driveway leading up to the former garage, now denovated, is very rarely, if ever, removed.  So, on the exterior of the home you have a perfectly functioning paved roadway leading all the way up to and abutting the new portion of your abode. 
No.  Bad idea.  At no point does this say - "Oh, what inviting and curb-appealing new square footage you have added to your home!"  Instead it says - "Huh, weird.  Oh, I get it, that was their garage.  And now it's like a wall with some sort of strange, high windows.  Huh."
Yeah, it just doesn't work.  Often times there is an awkwardly placed bench or shrub at the end of the now-defunct driveway, but this never really works to distract from the true nature of the denovation.  And within the interior of the home, you are left with a cold, somewhat clammy, and awkward space.  This is the room that anyone touring a home for sale always asks the realtor, "What would you use this room for?"  To which the realtor responds, "Um, I don't know.  It looks like their using it as a den right now." 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Locker Room Nudists

One of my biggest pet peeves is walking into a locker room and finding myself faced with a hefty helping of someone else's privates. 
This may seem ridiculous - It's a locker room, after all; it's very function is for changing clothes, showering, aka nudity.  But can we not have this nudity with some decorum?  The thing that gets me peevish is the person who insists on sitting their every-such-thing rude and raw on the bench that I may later set my i-pod on (which touches my face) or my water bottle (which touches my mouth), or my hand (you get the idea).  Or the person that is just lazing around in the full nude glancing over to catch a few minutes of Oprah while they lather on lotion in the jack knife position showing me things that probably only their doctor should see. 
Taking this to the extreme is the person that actually makes themselves comfortable on the floor - yes, I have seen it.  If that carpet could talk, well let me just tell you that it shouldn't be having that conversation with your reproductive organs.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lack of Movie Snack Etiquette

I am writing about this particular pet peeve in honor of my mother, who recently had a very disastrous movie going experience.  Bad movie, you wonder?  Tragic story?  No chemistry between the lead characters?  No, my friends, bad snackers.
Nearly every movie theatre is guaranteed to have a row's worth of the chompers, the crunchers, the rustlers, and/or the slurpers. 
I should establish, first off, that I am not at all opposed to snacks at the movies.  They are horribly over priced, which makes you feel that they taste even better than they actually do (a similar effect can be seen in certain high end restaurants); the lights are out, so no one will know that you just consumed a bucket of 1300 calories; and they add a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole theatre going experience.  That being said, let's get back to the pet peeve.
The fact that there is no table at the movies does not mean that you can disregard any and all semblance of table manners.  Many of the same rules apply: don't chew with your mouth open, leave your breathing at a respectable level, and do not shake or pulverise any food items.  If you buy a bag of twizzlers and you are incapable of removing them stealthy, without creating a piercing contortion of the plastic bag, remove a few before the movie begins and enjoy those unwrapped, quiet little nuggets during the show.  I have been forced to blacklist an associate from movie going simply because of the candy bag crunch.  When you have to rent the movie you saw immediately when it comes out on DVD to see what you missed, you know that you have to eliminate the perpetrator from your movie Rolodex. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Children on Leashes

A child on a leash seems to me the ultimate sign of parental defeat.  To be reduced to keeping a small human at the end of a rope attached to your wrist says one of two things: 1. you have absolutely no semblance of control left, or 2. your child is truly an animal.  Neither reason is appealing. 
Do we really live in a world where we have to harness our toddlers and clip them to ourselves?  I find that this practice is not only embarrassing, but also potentially dangerous.  Heaven forbid that you wander into one of those Cabbage-Patch-Doll-style sales and the leash gets caught in the cross fire.  You and the unsuspecting child could be literally dragged through the aisles.  Or, perhaps my favorite of all leashed children locations, what are the dangers of attaching yourself to your child on a ski slope?  You see this with alarming regularity.  I suppose the idea is based on some notion of safety, but quite the contraire is the actual result.  What are the chances of that very leash clotheslining a fellow skier?  Quite high, I would say.  And once again, you find yourself and the animal-child dragged off to your doom as a result.

The child leash is so wrong, I don't see how anyone could have ever thought it was right.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

"No Worries" and "It's All Good"

Why not throw these two expressions around?  You may suddenly find yourself becoming the smoothest guy or gal in the commune or the yoga studio.  The only problem is that I'm not sure how anyone can say either of these things while keeping a straight face.  Is anyone really this cool or this relaxed?  I can verify for a fact that the large number of people that I run into casually dropping "No worries", which is nearly interchangeable with "It's all good," are definitely not that cool and probably not all that relaxed either.
Some people can pull it off slightly better than others.  The other day I heard a yoga instructor hand out "No worries" in the middle of a vinyasa, which I was almost able to let slide by me without the hairs on my pet-peeve-o-meter standing up, but stand up they did.  Once I was in a grocery store in Breckenridge when a tourist toppled a small display of crackers.  A middle aged woman actually responded to the situation by informing the shopper that "this is Breckenridge, No worries."  So perhaps it is the place, and not the person, that sets the level of coolness and relaxation equal to the awesomeness of the expression.  Although this is up for debate, as the mall and/or your local Applebees seem to be perfectly acceptable terrain in which to utter "It's all good, bro." 
However, there could be some truth to this idea of place.  It turns out that "No Worries" is actually a valid saying that originated in Australia and has apparently been used there for many years before invading the mouths of yogis, pseudo-hippies, middle aged Breckenridge-ites, and millions of other Americans.  "It's all good, mate" rolling off the tongue of the Man from Snowy River just might work. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Necklaces with Turtlenecks

I am going to began this plethora of peeves with a very simple and straight forward idea:  necklaces should not be worn with turtlenecks.  I am referring to The Dangler - The charm of a necklace hanging out and over a turtleneck, while the chain of said necklace remains hidden beneath.  It is always an intentional look, never accidental, as a necklace would never naturally have the capability to creep out and over the turtleneck encircling ones neck. 
These two items are in constant battle for the territory which they both attempt to claim.  One snuggly hugging the neck, the other awkwardly dangling over in hopes of adding a bit of flair.  It never comes off as a graceful partnership.
You might think that a person would realize that these two items should never be worn in tandem, as the name of each seems to indicate that it is an item to be worn about the neck.  One piece of decor is probably enough for that relatively small section of the anatomy. 
If there is anyone questioning if this rule applies to the mock-turtleneck as well, the answer is unequivocally yes.  In fact, I believe that the mock-turtleneck could be a post in and of itself.