Things That Bother Me
May 18, 2002

Okay, how many of you know that I have "hangups" in life? Well, if you didn't know that before, you do now. Here are a few things that bother me:

It bothers me when people don't acknowledge my presence. Call me strange (or maybe just normal), but when I enter a group (especially if I have something to add), I would like the chance to contribute, or sometimes I would be satisfied just to have my presence recognized in some small way. In some groups it is easy to add in my thoughts and feel included, and in some groups it is not. I'm not talking just about formal discussions; in fact, most of my thoughts on this relate to groups of just a few people, or even to one-on-one communications (yes it is possible to feel unrecognized and unheard in a one-on-one conversation). The simple act of non-acknowledgment is to me one of the crueler things we do to each other. By the way, this goes beyond just group dynamics, and also touches on issues of unanswered emails and phone calls and other similarly one-sided forms of communication.

It bothers me when I turn on the radio or TV, and about 75% of the time I first see an ad (ok, a little exaggeration). I realize the purpose for ads, and I guess I live with them, but they are just *so annoying*!! I don't care about most of the products being advertised, I don't appreciate the pushiness of advertising, and in general they only serve to distract me from anything meaningful the communication might otherwise have to say to me. I find that my time is valuable, and if I choose to waste it, well shame on me. But if someone else wastes my time, then.... well, it just annoys me.

It bothers me when I get junk email!! One of my email accounts (which I have been ready to drop now for at least 4 months), receives at least 5 junk emails a day. And of course there's no REAL way to purge myself from these stupid mailing lists, since the common advice now is NOT to respond to the messages, even though that is the supposed legal way to extract oneself from such junk mail. This is similar to advertising (which I also get annoyed with). When will "they" ever learn that I don't want Viagra, I don't want to see XXX garbage, I don't want a new car, I don't need a credit repair, and I don't want a dozen roses for $39.99, and if I DID need any of these things, I'd search them out myself with something like Google, the happy search engine. Duh...receiver-driven advertising, as opposed to shoving it down the throats of a million people so that maybe 100 will respond. Talk about annoying!

It bothers me when people disagree with me (oh there's a crazy-wild unexpected one). :-) Now, I know on some things there are a million and one perspectives, and I can't hope to really win anyone over to my side on such issues. But on some issues, I really cannot understand why people do not see things my way. The sorts of issues I'm thinking of are often the ones where there is no way to argue one side or the other...people just are the way they are. I have to realize that, but when for example I have to choose between eating with Group A or Group B because Group A doesn't like the food choices or the company of Group B, I have a tendency to think, "Life isn't about food...just eat it, or don't eat it, but enjoy the presence of the people...they are what's important." I guess it's a priorities issue in that respect (see below).

It bothers me when, in semi-biblical terms, people consider evil what I consider good. "Evil" is probably too strong, but "stupid" often is not. For example, well, I think a ferris wheel overlooking the river in Cedar Rapids would be a neat thing to add to the riverfront, with a view of downtown or the countryside and the river and all. However, most people I talk to say something to the effect of, "That's a stupid crazy idea." Well, thanks, um, for your honesty. This is only one example of where my creative sorts of ideas are summarily thrown out by others. This irks me. Not only does it irk me, it causes me to not present my ideas. If my ideas are stupid ideas, or if others see them that way, then why should I present them only to be shot down every time? I have this duality about me where I see myself in positive or creative or (once in a while) "enlightened" terms, but I often wonder if anyone else really sees me that way, or if they only see the generally boring guy who has a funny smile a lot and writes computer programs and sits in a cubicle all day thinking up crazy ideas.

It bothers me when people do not have the same priorities as me. I do my best to understand where they're coming from, and to take into account the obvious differences of priority based on such things as position in life, age, gender, work, etc. But after those adjustments are made, I still find myself frustrated at times by people who simply don't care about the things I care about.

It bothers me when I cannot adequately get my true thoughts expressed. I have a tendency to say some rather stupid things sometimes (often on purpose for effect), but I don't mean for those stupid statements to be interpreted on their own. If I say something that sounds stupid or cruel or mean, hopefully I'm exaggerating for effect, and in that case I desire an opportunity to further explain what I mean. I am saddened and feel misunderstood when I don't have that opportunity, either because the receiver turns on their Joe Filter or their "He called me stupid" filter or their "He is stupid" filter, or because I don't think the person would understand my response if I did explain it.