I started keeping lists, lots of lists. Some things I list, others I don’t.
For example, I don’t keep a To-do list because I never have anything urgent to do. I don’t keep a grocery list because I always buy the same things and I don’t keep a laundry list because frankly... I don’t know what they are used for.
What I keep are sh*t lists. (Sorry if the term offends you. If you know of a more polite way of putting it, let me know.)
When something annoys me, I write it down. I have a list for my wife, a list for my co-workers, a list for the cats and so forth. Periodically, I reorganize these lists to ensure that the top annoyances receive the attention they deserve.
Once I have tidied up a list, I will sit-down with my wife my co-workers, the cats and so forth to address the things about them that annoy me.
It’s an excellent system.
“Honey,” I'll say, “I've a few things I'd like to discuss with you.”
“How many is a few?” she'll ask, scrawling something on a sheet of paper.
“Fifty or so,” I’ll say, “the list keeps growing....”
She will then hold up her list. “I have only one, so can I go first?”
“Sure,” I’ll say.
“Item #1: You keep sh*t lists on people. You shouldn't do that, it’s very rude.”
We rarely get beyond this point and though similar discussions with my co-workers and the cats follow the same trajectory, I still maintain my lists. That being said, I have had considerable success with lists that involve people in customer service.
Those folks are paid to listen.
With that in mind, the next time I get my new Nissan Altima serviced, here is a list of things (starting with minor vexations and working toward major annoyances) that I will cover with the dealership.
5) The “Low Outside Temperature” alert flashes at 38°F.
My car has been texting me all winter. It keeps tweeting to a screen on my instrument console that it is “cold” outside.
This happens when the temperature drops below 38°F.
Hello! Check your GPS. This is Minnesota. Our average annual temperature is a mere 45°F. This means that half the year, we pray for an outside temperature as palmy as 38°F.
More to the point, why single us out? Does Nissan flash “Steamy As A Clambake” warnings at it's customers in Florida?
4) Co-piloted by poultry
My car thinks it is a chicken.
If I open the door while the engine is running, it clucks. When I speed, it squawks. When I wander out of my lane, it crows.
If it must fantasize about being something it is not, why can’t it be like the chrome and fin wonders of the 50’s who dreamed of being a jet or a rocket; why poultry?
3) Separation anxiety
When I start my car, the doors lock. It's really kinda creepy. It is like it wants to keep me inside. When that happens in a slasher movie, nothing good comes of it.
I understand why doors should be locked. After all, who knows who might leap into your car or God forbid, leap out and with kids that is always a risk. Still after growing up with ten sibling, not one managed to leap out of my dad’s '57 Chevy – despite the many attempts, and we never locked our doors.
2) Designed by Nanny McPhee
Near the top of my list of new car annoyances is the information console. All new cars have them. It’s the computerized in-dash screen that offers control over the radio, navigation system and your cell-phone. But there is a dark side to all that computer power.
First, the information console tempts you with goodies.
Do you want route guidance? Sure you do.
Do you want a list of restaurants, hotels and gas stations along your route? Of course you do.
Do you want your phone contacts listed on the console? You bet.
Well, you can’t have them. Not while the car is in motion. Don't keep asking either. If you persist, the car will scold you, “Pay attention to your driving.”
1) Smart by half
If the car was so smart, why can’t it make better choices?
It knows when you are in the driver seat because it squawks at you if you don’t buckle up. It knows when your passenger sits down too because it screams until they buckle up also.
So if the car knows that a passenger is in the front seat. why can’t it politely request the passenger to warn you that it is cold outside, squawk at your driving habits, lock the doors and run the navigation system?
Cars should focus on what they do best and leave nagging, what passengers do best - to humans.
This week's challenge: write about annoyances.
This is your chance to rant.
- List your pet peeves.
- Go off about the things that annoy you at work.
- Complain about having to clean the cat-box. I can't be the only one who suffers this indignity.
Post your article to Gather Writing Essentials.
BE SURE TO TAG your submission with MWE. Note: I search for articles using the tag "MWE" If you don't tag it right, I will not find it.
Include "Monday Writing Essential" in your title.
- Try to post by next Monday but don't worry if you don't finish in time. I will be glad to include your post the next week.
Last week's MWE challenge was to write about failure. These responses are from those who succeeded in meeting the challenge :
Weekly reminder: don't forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida's article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!).. Also try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.