People I Hate

To those of you with soft dispositions and a warm glowing feeling toward your fellow humans no matter how annoying or despicable they may be; you will probably hate this post and me by proxy. Well, that is just fine by me and I welcome you enthusiastically into my dark little world of unencumbered distaste for certain groups of people I am forced to share this big ball of dirt with. Those of you who happen to be part of any majority, be it race, faith, gender, ethnicity, or orientation are already feeling uncomfortable with where this is going unless you identify with some ultra conservative group. Shellax, I don’t hate you for any of those reasons; only for who you chose to be.

Those of you who like to guess ahead what I am about to write are probably thinking, “Oh, mimes. I bet it’s mimes. Everyone hates mimes.” No, it’s not mimes or even clowns. Yes, everyone hates them and even Obama has been heard to say on more than one occasion, “I motherfucking hate mimes!”, but it’s not them. Frankly, I have to admire someone who goes into a profession that so clearly pisses everyone off by just existing. By the way I do understand that by mentioning Obama by name I run the risk of him stumbling across this blog while googling himself, which may make things awkward at the next State dinner I am invited to, but we can only hope he has a sense of humor about these things. By the by, I’m not going to make a list here but instead force you to slog through this entry in abject terror that your little sub group will be named.

I was driving home from a dinner theater production of The Hilarious Hillbilly Reunion or some similar nonsense at Magruders and turned to my wife and declared, “God, I really hate local actors.” I was surprised at the crisp honesty of my statement, but upon closer investigation found that it was true enough. I held a firm distaste for individuals in my local community who chose to spend their free time excitedly practicing to offend my presence with their jubilant overdramatic little productions delivered loudly and with far more pep than the material calls for while I’m trying to eat my goddam chicken. Maybe I better start at the beginning.

The idea of it all sounded appealing. A night out with the promise of a good meal while being entertained by people pretending to hillbillies. Everyone has a deep appreciation for hillbillies as we can watch their barefoot Appalachian antics and revel in the glorious presumption that we are their betters. Well, everyone but hillbillies who might be inclined to resent the portrayal had the ‘no shoes’ policy been overlooked and were allowed in. The premise was that we, mid-heeled townies, were invited to come on down to some sort of Clampett family reunion where presumably something would happen to keep us interested for a spell. I understood the less inspired of these productions relied on a Clue style murder mystery and was not disappointed.

We arrived late for logistical reasons rather than uppity ones and discovered to our dismay that we were being seated at a large table with other people we didn’t know. I understand this sort of thing is common in Europe, but this was America; hillbilly America, the most American America you get, and we hate that sort of thing. I don’t want to be forced into conversation with people I didn’t purposely come with! My wife will attest that I barely like to converse with even her at dinner functions and now I was stuck rubbing elbows with this asshole who was clearly going to bogart all the cheese. Yes, they actually had cheese and crackers out as appetizers, classy hillbillies that they were. I was already annoyed.

Scowling, I looked about the room and took note of the fact that there sure were a lot of folks milling about in overalls, oversized straw hats, big-ass boots, and even a large fellow in a dress and braids. They were interacting with the other patrons, most of whom looked uncomfortable aside from the scattered few either drunk enough to get in on the “fun” or were cut from the same cloth. So, not only was I going to be stuck talking to this douche in a suit and his elderly companions, but these idiots in costume who felt the need to bring their well practiced drama right up your ass.

“Well I do declare! It’s Cousin Cletus ya’ll right he’ah!” The big fellow in the dress managed to corner me and apparently I was Cousin Cletus. Not only had I paid to be subjected to this indignity, but it seemed I was expected to join in on the act unrehearsed. Only local actors had such balls to pick your pocket then ask for a shoe shine. I tried to mumble and look as uncomfortable as possible, but biggins there just wouldn’t let it go until I said something hillbillyish. I grumbled about getting “my grub on” and he finally flounced off to irritate someone else.

“Do you think that was really a woman?”

My wife was fooled a little easier than I. While I would have sat there happily with an expression that warned someone pissed on my shoes, but my wife and the suit insisted on exchanging introductions. We came to find out we were so lucky as to have been seated at the same table with the husband and parents of one of the cast members, assuring extra attention to be paid to our corner of the restaurant, right there in the middle of the floor. I wanted to leave, but we could think of no exit strategy that did not make us the spotlighted center of attention as we found our coats and the door. It seemed they were the sort not to hesitate to pull out a comedic version of tar and feathers.

Early in the performance they began dragging people out of their chairs and up front for varying pointless reasons in an exercise to increase the relative anxiety of those not yet chosen, but potentially already on a Lost style list. Neither of us liked where this was going, and even the suit expressed worry of public humiliation as he pounded his third pint. He made threatening hand gestures at his wife we hoped might ward them off. His success was the only good part of the evening, as it wore on with an endless supply of tired incest jokes.

Dinner finally arrived and was bullshit. The advertisement indicated authentic hillbilly fare, so we were expecting fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, corn, okra and similar southern fried crap. What arrived were airline style containers with airline grade meals of lukewarm baked chicken legs, green beans, and a very boring chef salad for the center of the table with those little self serve dressing containers that invariable spill on you when ripping off the tiny lid. I was wiping my pants off when three members of the cast sat down in the three empty chairs at our table. We got the wife, the moke the wife was boning in the production, and the big fellow in the dress. They refused to break character and insisted on speaking through dinner.

Eating poor quality food while being inundated with over exaggerated hillbilly chat should be no one’s idea of a good time. Biggins yakked up a storm and then took to eating directly from the bowl of salad with his hands to demonstrate his character’s bad manners. This was disappointing as I had wanted more, but felt certain he also felt washing his hands after the restroom was also breaking character. Now add in the dynamic that suit clearly had a little jealousy thing going on with the actor fake shagging his wife. The wife also now appeared to be one of those women who hates all others of her kind, and shot eye daggers at my wife for no discernable reason other than she happened to be at the table. It was at this point and forever forward that I was determined to hate local actors for as long as I continued to draw breath. I am fairly certain one of them will eventually find this post and leave an angry comment the nature of dinner theater, how people find it “fun”, local acting and whatnot. Please do, that we may make fun and further brighten my day.

Moving on, as there are so many groups and so little time, I also want to reiterate that I hate contractors. I went on about this some in my October Surprise post, which Aaron insists on calling “October Crush” even though I have never heard anyone else ever call it that, but whatever. My specific hatred is centered on the lying, complete lack of accountability, but mainly for their squirrely little tricks. The one that makes my blood boil the most is, “In all my years I’ve never seen that before!”

Why do they insist on doing that? It always means a price increase of course and leaves you worried that your house was the byproduct of a 3 Stooges movie and left behind as a prop built by knuckleheads. Roofers are terrific for this. There are like 2 types of roof in the Western New York area, all of them comprised of some combination of 3 things – plywood, tarpaper, and shingles. Somehow the devious bastard who came before managed to apply these three basic elements in such an obscure insane configuration while still achieving the same result of keeping weather out, that my roofer was simply stunned. “Holy crap, I ain’t never seen anything like that before! Gonna take me a whole nother day. Sorry pal.”

At that point, what the hell are you going to do? If you refuse, he packs up and leaves you roofless. They never find these jaw dropping issues at the point where you aren’t completely screwed if work is stopped for even 5 minutes. “Gee pal, whatcha wanna do? That there nor’easter gonna be blowin’ in by 5. Just enough time to get cha squared away.” Motherfuckers. My wallet is considerably lighter in moments. In the future I will be sure to have a clause in the firm fixed price contract that the price is the price no matter what crazy jacked up shit they find. I have every confidence though that they will find another way to screw me, and that is why I hate contractors.

I was at the airport a few weeks ago and came to another conclusion; a brand new group of people that made me want to buy a gun. Other air travelers. I understand I was also traveling by air, but comfortable with the opinion that my non-annoying traveling skills were far superior to everyone else. Looking around me, I could not help but feel disgust and seething bitter rage at those human cattle insisting on being transported in the same venue as myself. How dare they? And if they dared, why could they not be more like me. The variety of them is endless, but I’ll expound on some of the worst.

While waiting to get on the plane I have found that people traveling together, other than unhappy couples miserable to be confined to each other’s presence and enduring silently are of the worst type. My experience has been that this breed loves to have fantastically loud conversations about some worthless topic or another that you are forced to listen to. There is no escape and the realization always dawns that they are speaking at that volume because they want you to hear. It is true, they want everyone around them to be educated on the fact that they leave management notes in the break room, or that there are no issues with the shelves coming off the assembly line, or the advice they gave some junior co-worker. Watching them, I can see them performing a peripheral peer around to see who is taking in their golden drops of wisdom and admiring them for it. When they see my red, half slit eyes glaring; they look away quickly, but don’t stop. Oh, how I hate them!

Just as bad is ‘he who must be entertained’. I am one of those travelers with no interest in single serving friendship and relish the time to enjoy a book uninterrupted except to be provided refreshment. Far too often I take my seat, open my book, and have the aforementioned idiot plop down beside me. I make it a point to never look up or over, although I am very aware that this person brought no book, iPod, or laptop and immediately begins the anxious ‘how am I going to kill these 5 hours’ look around. I don’t care for that look at all because it always means that he feels helping him pass that time is my job. After quickly pawing through the Sky Mall catalog and finding a genuine Hammacher Schlemmer home suit martinizer is too rich for his blood, the first question comes and I bristle. When younger and less jaded, I allowed myself to be pulled into these tedious conversations, but older and cagier, I have learned to avoid. I now wear earphones even if not listening to anything for the sake of making a great show of removing them, asking to have the question repeated, give a one word answer and immediately don them again. Even the most bored prick gives up after 4 or 5 iterations.

Then there are people with their damn carry-on bags. Every flight has at least one fucker who manages to sneak their giant bag on to the plane bypassing the ‘green tag’ planeside directions, then blocks the aisle at seat row 8 trying to wrestle it into the far too small overhead compartment. My only delight is seeing their face when the stewardess finally notices and confiscates it. If I’m really lucky they forgot to take out their on board entertainment and are not sitting next to me. Then there those with reasonable size bags but lacking the energy to drag them all the way to the back where they are sitting, effectively screwing the person occupying that row, who is often me. These same inconsiderate slobs then spend the first half hour of each flight poking through all the overhead bins trying to remember where they stashed it to get their M&Ms. I curse them as my feet cramp, jammed up against the laptop bag under the seat in front of me. Finally, people who are perfectly fit, not disabled or decrepit with age, who take a damn year to get their shit and get off the plane already. You know who you are and I pray next time you go to the lav you get trapped for a half hour behind the slow moving drink cart.

The last group I’m going to drone on about is troublesome because I fit very clearly within it. Yes, like all those waitress/ actresses I’d love to call myself a corporate douche/ writer, but who are we kidding. I am a corporate douche, one of a group of people I firmly hate. My actual title is not in fact, ‘corporate douche’ though I’m sure that exact wording appears somewhere in my resume. It is Program Manager, and as such I must model that perceived image with every breath.

What really pisses me off about corporate douches like me is the necessity of peppering every sentence with meaningless jargon we all recognize and no one can clearly define. “Well Roger, that sounds like an actionable plan, but is the additional step really value added? We need to grab the low hanging fruit here, think outside the box and do a risk mitigation analysis. Once we get this vetted through John, I’d say we need to do a baseline kickoff and get some six sigma analyses done. Why don’t you set up a meeting, but before Wednesday when I’ll be out of pocket.”

These are all sentences similar to or exactly like those I utter every hour of every day as do those around me at my “level”. I have no idea if ‘actionable’ is even a word, if I would know ‘value added’ if it crawled out of my ass, what makes something ‘low hanging fruit’, why we can’t use what is already inside the box and everyone understands already, if ‘mitigation’ is anything like ‘migration’, how to ‘vette’ something other than hit it with a Corvette, what six sigma is other than six sorority girls, and why I must use cutesy terms to say I’m too busy to deal with you that day. God, we are such pompous assholes!

What is even worse is when you forget and talk like that in front of your staff. It’s like swearing in front of small children; they immediately pick up on it and mimic it back to you, trying to relate to you on your level. You get it, but it’s so unappealing. You don’t have to sound like that! Go, be young, stick to the engineering technical stuff while you still can! I swear to all that is holy, if I hear ‘ODC run rate’ come out of your mouth one more time, you are getting locked in the lab for a week! Trust me, you don’t want to be like me. I asked my former boss what ‘direct cost allocations’ were and next thing I knew I was stuck in endless meetings looking at ‘return on sales’ metrics.

The only advantage of being part of a group you so actively hate is that you can finally get a little physical revenge in. Sometimes after meeting at which I subject my peers to slide after slide of charts and graphs that apparently indicate how we are doing with respect to what, I roughly push myself into my office and shut the door. All right douche, this is for explaining ‘run rate variance’ for 12 minutes! Whump! My stomach convulses with the blow and I’m down. And here is the ‘return to green’ plan you made up on the fly and is going to cause everyone extra effort and not even work! Gah! My calf muscle spasms with the kick from my right foot. In a few moments I reduce myself to a quivering pile, but the rage has calmed back down to an even simmer; enough to crawl back to my computer and generate a status report or two. Corporate douches man, you have to hate them.

Oh, and there are others, trust me, and perhaps one day I will write about them as well. So, all you truck drivers, Amish, carpet salesmen, celebrity bloggers, people who stand in your office when you are trying to eat soup for lunch, comic shop customers, Wal-mart cashiers, female assembly workers in their 50’s, breakfast eaters who make that loud smacking sound with their mouths, skinny jeans wearers, lighthouse keepers other than Lampy from ‘Pete’s Dragon’, and gamer geeks… your time is a coming too.

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