Childhood Family

Annoyed for the sake of being annoyed

There are lots of things people get annoyed at. If you took a poll in my household, you’d find that 75 percent of respondents said, “Uh, yeah, like, everything.”

So, sure. I get annoyed at things. Some of them are plenty justified, even if some of those in the previously mentioned poll don’t get why I hate seeing people chew gum

But some things that the general masses tend to get annoyed at? Well, maybe we as a whole should stop getting peeved by them. And if you think I am going to mention not returning shopping carts to the proper corral, I am not. Because that is still a crime against humanity and always will be.

Some of the things we get annoyed at other people doing, though, really don’t impact us at all. (Gum chewing is not one of those. It’s gross.) So, a few things we as a society can stop getting our collective knickers in a twist about:

  • Selfies – Long before digital cameras, my wife and I used to take selfies all the time. And it didn’t bother anybody. The fun of getting our film back to see if the pictures came out with our entire faces in the picture AND the waterfall in back? Good times. Just because cell phones have made the experience instantaneous isn’t a reason to get all huffy. It’s other people having a good time. It doesn’t really affect you.
  • Taking pictures of your food – Again, long before the digital age, we loved sharing tales of our great meals we had. I have a friend who I routinely trade meal pics with, as she is a food lover, and loves to talk about good eats. Had we known each other 20 years ago, we would have had great discussions about an awesome meal in person. Now, thanks to technology, that conversation can be immediate, regardless of distance.
  • Everyone at the table being on their phone during dinner at a restaurant – Granted, this is a slippery slope. If every family meal is just a group of people on their cell phones talking to other people, that’s a problem. But sometimes, said family is on hour 8 of the last leg of a family road trip, and they’ve stopped at a Cracker Barrel just to get some grub and, quite frankly, they’ve had all the family time they can stomach. Everyone to their cyber corners.
  • Parents not disciplining their unruly kids behavior in public – As a parent, one of the worst times in your life is when your child is acting like a deranged alien in public. My kids are teens now, so the worst I’m going to get in public these days is brooding. But with younger kids, especially, when a temper tantrum starts going full force in public, the parent has my complete sympathy. Sure, they may be a horrible parent. But chances are, they are a fine parent, just trying to get out of the grocery with the paper towels and the dog food. While some folks would like to see the full force of parental vengeance come down on the kid for everyone to see, the truth of the matter is, most parents are far more mortified than you are annoyed. Public beatings aren’t really going to cure any ills.
  • Taking pictures at historical monuments – I live in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. And plenty of local folks take great joy in mocking people for taking pictures of historic houses or at historic sites. Also, I’ve seen numerous internet posts of people rolling their internet eyes at folks at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, taking the old “propping up the Tower” picture. But those tourists? It’s the only time they’re there. That’s their memory. Lighten up.

Now, there are some things you can still get annoyed at. Vague Facebook posts, not thanking someone for letting you in while driving, chewing gum in my house. But so many things you have to ask yourself, are you being annoyed for the sake being annoyed? Maybe you should just let other people live their lives, and care less about what they’re doing and more about what you can be doing in life. Such as putting up your shopping cart.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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