Five Things Strangers Can Do to Drive Me Crazy

Let me start by saying: I’m not the only one who thinks I’m a nice person. Okay? I mean, I could open this piece with, “Look, I’m a nice person…” — but then who’s to say what my definition of “nice” is? So I’ll just start by telling you right off the bat, people say to me all the time, “You’re so nice,” “You’re too nice,” “You’re so sweet” — the whole “nice” compliment lineup, I know it backwards and forwards. I’m a nice gal.

But no one is perfect.

There are some things people do that put me over the edge. Not even people I know — strangers! Little things, things that shouldn’t even matter; but they make me mean inside.

I’ve never had the courage to come forth and say, “Hey, is it just me or is this really, really annoying?” — but today, it’s all coming out. Here are five things that people — strangers! — do that drive me nuts. Tell me if I’m crazy (or just plain mean).

1.     Refuse to say “thank you.” When I see a mother and her two small kids waiting by the curb to cross the street and I brake for them, the part of me that was raised to say, “Pass the peas, please” and to know what the tiny fork was for expects just a small wave of gratitude. I could have hurtled this thousand pounds of metal I’m steering right past you, lady. Heck, I could have steered it over you! Set an example for those little ones and at least acknowledge my courtesy.

2.     Fail to complete the circle. I work in retail, and a situation that comes up a lot when I’m working the register is that a customer pulls out her wallet to pay and—oh my goodness!—it’s the most gorgeous wallet I’ve ever seen. So I say so. “I love your wallet,” I tell the client, beaming. Now, in my mind, the appropriate response is, “Oh, thanks! I got it at this boutique in the city, Très Chic. Twelve bucks!” That’s what I say when someone likes my wallet. But most of the time I get, “Oh. Ha. Thanks.” That’s it? Don’t make me fish. Tell me where you got the dang wallet!

3.     Give me my change in the wrong order. Anyone who has worked any job where there’s cash exchange — no, any person who has ever paid for anything in cash, ever — should know that the appropriate way to give change back is coins first. Coins first! If you give me the bills and then try to balance the coins on top, we’re going to have a major coin-spill situation on our hands. Coins first. It’s not rocket science.

4.     Honk to say “Hi.” The horn is for emergency use, and that occasional gentle reminder when someone is too absorbed in, say, texting to see that the light is green. If I’m cruising along and I hear a horn, I think I’m about to hit someone, or that the guy behind me put the car seat on his roof again and left it there. I don’t want to be all alert and looking for blue flashing lights because you saw your high school English teacher walking his dog. If your honk isn’t going to save a life, then save the honk!

5.     Get super impatient for no reason. It doesn’t even have to be with me. In fact, if someone is impatient with me for no reason, I can handle that. It’s when someone is impatient with someone else who doesn’t deserve it that it bothers me. I hate to be behind the guy at Dunkin’ Donuts who throws his bagel back across the counter at the cashier and yells, “I asked for cream cheese ON THE SIDE!” Dude, first of all, the employee who has to touch money is never the employee who makes your food. So don’t yell at her. Second, how hard is it, if you were already going to have to spread cream cheese onto your bagel, to scrape some off? Take a chill pill. Gosh.

Now, does that seem unfair? Mean? Am I losing my credibility as a “nice” person saying such things? I hope not. I don’t think they’ll ever stop driving me crazy. But if thinking these things makes me mean, the plus side is that all the world has to do to get back to me is give me my change in the wrong order or honk to say hello!
By Alexis Paquette

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