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Washington Voices

The grumpy train is full and leaving the station

Thu., July 16, 2009

Since venting here two weeks ago about things that irritate me, many of you shared that you, too, are stowaways on that express train to Andy Rooney-land.

It does my grumpy heart good to hear from you and to know I am not alone when I don my conductor’s hat, stoke up the locomotive and drive the curmudgeon train down the track. As a thank you to my fellow rail riders, I now share some of your contributions and a few more of my own (from my unending supply) as I take the train out of the station for one more little trip.

End of railroading metaphor.

Ed in Spokane wonders why so many people buy cars with impaired electrical systems. These cars turn left and right abruptly without notifying following or oncoming cars of their intention. “You’d think with all the money they spend for some pretty fancy vehicles, they’d manage to get models that come with turn signals,” he said.

As for me, I want to know why drivers entering the freeway don’t understand they are supposed to yield to the through traffic. It’s nice if those of us on the freeway move over to give them room to merge (which I normally do), but when I’m in the right hand lane and there’s a big old semi immediately to my left, there’s no place to move over to. So, all of you on the onramp, you are not entitled to occupy my space. Get over yourselves.

Several of you had a lot to say about TV news folks. A sampling: Lin in Riverside wants to know what happened to good enunciation. She’s not happy hearing words like uhmediate and uhmergency on TV. Oh yeah, and what about TV-speak using words like hambugger and Ore-rhee-gone (our neighbor state to the south)? Sad fact: This is lingo for sloppy speakers everywhere, not just on TV.

One man questioned why a lot of the reporting about weather makes it seem like some event of Biblical proportions is looming, daily. Jim and Judy in Spokane object to all of the “breaking news” announcements “when we’ve already heard about the item the night before or earlier in the day … We do like the mute button.”

They’re also not happy about people who park their grocery carts in the middle of an aisle and then stand next to them looking for items or talking with friends, “mucking up the traffic flow.”

Jeff in Spokane Valley seems to have bad luck with grocery lines. “I have decided that one of the laws of the universe is that regardless of the configuration of the lines and/or the number of people in them, I’ll pick the wrong one,” he wrote. “I’ll still be standing there waiting to be checked out long after everybody else is long gone and on the trip home.”

I still can’t let go of cell phone manners. I hate it when having lunch with someone and that person answers her cell phone and chats for a bit too long about the results of the caller’s A1C test for diabetes, after which whatever we were discussing is permanently pre-empted and I get to hear all about the medical journey of the caller. May I suggest – (1) I pretty much don’t care and (2) that’s what voice mail is for.

A “thank you” goes to Jean in Cheney for pointing out that just about everywhere when someone says thank you to another person, the second person responds back with another thank you, emphasis on the “you.” So I guess the new proper response is to thank the thanker when being thanked. Jean asks what ever happened to a plain “you’re welcome?”

And then there’s that whole list of small stuff from which only three items are included here. I hate that there’s at least one tissue left in one pocket when the laundry gets dumped into the washing machine no matter how thoroughly you’ve checked. And how come pencil erasers don’t erase but just smudge words? And why is it that when you reach into the freezer at the supermarket for a half gallon of ice cream, you wind up with a 1.75-quart container?

There is still so much to be grumpy about, but, alas, there is just so much space available, and I really shouldn’t push my editor’s tolerance for this stuff too far.

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