Things that annoy me

Posted Oct 12, 2004 in Personal.

I moved to the USA in 2001, and the country has made me feel very welcome; however, there are a handful of things about this place that drive me crazy. Some of these things aren't unique to America, but many are:

Reality television
Excuse me? There is no possible way that any of these ridiculous shows could have anything to do with reality. They are stupid, and yet they occupy every corner of prime time television, and they attract massive audiences. Why? Are all of you people out there stupid?
Oh, I forgot. Many of you are stupid, because you are trying to re-elect President Bush - the man responsible for letting Bin Laden get away, the man responsible for the deaths of countless soldiers, and the man responsible for running up a truly enormous budget deficit.
“Everybody is talking about __________
No. Nobody is talking about it. That is just bullshit. On television yesterday, I saw a trailer for that Siegfried and Roy interview that was on NBC in April. It said I could have one more chance to see the “interview that everybody is talking about.” Actually, I haven't heard anyone talking about it, and I couldn't give a crap about it. In fact, I'd never even heard of these people until the mauling of Roy Horn appeared on the news.
Encore presentation
Say what? Isn't that just marketing bullshit for a fucking repeat? It basically means that you don't have enough original programmming to fill your schedule, so you are going to show me the same thing over and over again and tell me I'm lucky for another opportunity.
Utility companies
They send you an official-looking red letter that says you are a bad person because you haven't paid your phone bill, and that they are going to cut you off. Except that is bullshit, because you have paid your bill. So you phone them up and tell them, and they tell you to prove it by faxing them copies of your check. After a couple of weeks of phone calls, shouting, faxing, and photocopying you finally get it sorted out. And then a week later, the next bill comes in and it says you haven't paid. So you have to go through the whole process again.
4-way stop signs
In this country, the driving test is ludicrously easy. All I had to do was drive around a single block, and then I was given a license. That means that America has a great many really bad drivers. Thanks to a gross misinterpretation of the Constitution, many of these drivers carry guns. So which dumb-ass pencil neck came up with the 4-way stop sign? Whoever stops first, goes first. If everyone stops together, give way to the car on your right. Yeah, right.

There are countless others, but I am too pissed-off to keep going. Add some of yours to the comments, and I'll probably come back and add a few there myself.


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    You're constantly making me feel better and better about living in the Netherlands :D

    Ask Dunstan, he has to deal with lemurs...

    Posted by Rob Mientjes on Oct 12, 2004.

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    Yeah, I heard about his issues with Lemurs. The Netherlands is one of those places I always wanted to visit, but never had a chance. Norway too. Now I can't afford to do anything except pay my utility bills.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Oct 12, 2004.

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    Oh, but Simon, at least you drive around. When I was living in Mordor, I was a darned *pedestrian*, a long-ago extinct species (in addition untrained for extreme temperatures and 100% humidity). In Durthang - Chicago that is - sidewalks are about as frequent as earthquakes in London.

    "I can't believe it's not butter".

    Posted by Moose on Oct 12, 2004.

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    You lived in Mordor? Was this during the time it was founded by the men of Gondor, or was it a bit later, when Sauron occupied the Dark Tower? I can't recall seeing ANY automobiles in Middle Earth, frankly.

    On a serious note, being a pedestrian totally sucks. America is built around the car, which probably is a legacy of not having all the much in the way of history. Roads are simply not navigable by the person on foot.

    Another thing that annoys me is that cyclists like to cycle on the road against the flow of traffic, crossing intersections without looking. I'm amazed that I haven't mown down a few. They also go through traffic lights irrespective of their color. Both activities are against the law, but they are apparently a law unto themselves.

    A disturbing thought occurs to me: perhaps cyclists are people who actually FAILED the fucking-easy driving examination.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Oct 13, 2004.

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    Simon: As simple as the driving test was, I managed to fail twice before I was granted a license. In retrospect I believe this is why I'm a better driver than 90% of the American population.

    Speaking of the 4-way stop, I always forget about the guy on my right "rule", which to me is ludicrous, like many American laws actually. Don't forget that in some states you can't ride a bike in the pool. :)

    As for your assessment of reality TV, I couldn't agree with you more. The only reality television show that I enjoy is Cops, circa late 1980s.

    Posted by kartooner on Oct 13, 2004.

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    Tomato, tomatoe, potato, potatoe... ;-)

    Posted by David Collantes on Oct 13, 2004.

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    no place on this earth is going to be perfect. you picked some ridiculous things to complain about, too. dont like reality television? nobody's requiring you to watch it. "stupid people" are not limited to only being republican, let me assure you. im not even gonna touch the stop sign thing... are you REALLY complaining about stop signs? reeeally? *shocked*

    Posted by little miss on Oct 13, 2004.

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    How can I AVOID reality TV? I end up watching the Science Channel, or something, because there is so much of this crap on all the major stations.

    You are right about stupid people not being limited to Republicans - that is probably an unfair statement of mine. Perhaps I should have put it this way: Voting for Republicans is a STUPID thing to do. There - that's better isn't it?

    Yes, I am REALLY complaining about stop signs, but only the 4-way stop sign. It creates way too many problems. People do one (or more) of the following:

    * Ignore the stop completely
    * Race to be first to stop
    * Leap forward in moments of indecision
    * Waive people on, breaking the rules for who should go first

    What is worse is that some of these 4-way stop signs come at hideously offset intersections, where it is often impossible to see if anyone is coming or not.

    To Erik: I passed a rigorous British driving test, lasting 40 minutes, some years before taking the US test, so it is easy for me to make comparisons.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Oct 14, 2004.

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    1. Aie, do they ever suck... Ever day I'm thankful that Canadian television has far more variety. To be honest, though, I have watched Survivor for the past two runs, but I watch it for the competition, not the scheming and plotting, etc.

    2. I hope I never understand American politics. If I ever do, it probably means I'll have gone insane.

    3&4. It boggles my mind the lengths to which American television will go to advertise itself. News programs can be especially strange---mind you, it may just seem that way because I never stick around to watch the news itself.

    As for the latter, I've not experienced American utility companies and do not drive, so I'll count myself lucky. :)

    Posted by J. King on Oct 14, 2004.

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    It took you quite a few years to realise Americans are stupid? :)

    Posted by J.D on Oct 14, 2004.

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    Most americans ARE stupid, and the ones who deny the fact are the stupid ones.

    Posted by Parker on Oct 27, 2004.

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    I wouldn't say that MOST Americans are stupid, but if Bush manages to win the popular vote, then I would have to argue that a majority of Americans are stupid LOL.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Oct 28, 2004.

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    Watching some snippets of the US elections on our British Television news coverage, makes me wonder if it doesn't make most of you sick with all the overacting by Bush. No wonder he gets on so well with that other clown Blair. We could all benefit from ridding ourselves of the deceiving liars. The alternatives, Kerry and Howard do appear to have some dignity and their policies are more to my liking. However, unless we collectively vote for them, we will have to endure more of the nauseating acting and deceit. The bottom line is that’s it’s up to us to VOTE THEM OUT.

    On a personal note, I’m sorry to read you’ve been unwell Simon and hope you’re feeling better now?

    Brenda Jessey (Surrey England)

    Posted by Brenda Jessey on Oct 30, 2004.

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    Having been in Wisconsin for a similar period to your time here, I can appreciate your annoyance with stop signs. They drive me nuts too and I crave a proper 'Give Way' sign or even a roundabout!
    As for the 'stupid' remark, I would lay the blame firmly on the media for deliberately and constantly missinforming people here. Like people all over the World, Americans have a tendancy to trust what they learn from the media. Unlike the rest of the World, the American media are heavily biased in what ever direction their owner fancies and they are driven by finances. What advertiser would want their promotionalk material put along side bad news? In this way most are kept ignorant of the important stuff and end up worrying about Janet Jackson's nipple or some magician being eaten by his pet cat!

    Posted by Adrian Rinehart-Balfe on Nov 01, 2004.