Friday, September 10, 2010

Random Things I Don't Like

1. Cauliflower. Unexplainably, even seeing somebody eat it at another table in a restaurant makes me gag. This is weird because I love broccoli and kohlrabi, which aren't that different from cauliflower. Now that I wrote this word twice, I already feel like throwing up.

2. Hot, sunny weather. Unlike most people on this planet, I hate it when it's hot and sunny. Late Fall is my favorite season. I love Fall clothes, shoes, umbrellas. I wish it were always raining, like today.

3. Split infinitives. Make fun of it all you want, but my hatred of expressions like "I want to honestly believe" or "we have to very seriously consider" is profound. The worst thing is that these offenses against the English language have become so ubiquitous that you hear them in newscasts, White House press releases, and official letters from the university administrators (well, actually no surprise there). I have even caught them seeping into my own conversations a couple of times.

4. Aggressive anti-Kindlers. I understand perfectly well that not everyone needs and wants a Kindle. It's OK not to like the way it looks, the way it works, the amount it costs, or simply not to have any use for it. What annoys me, though, is those people who find it necessary to subject me to passionate anti-Kindle rants whenever they see me with one. I mean, what's the point of trying to convince me Kindles are evil? I obviously already paid quite a lot for one (or three, actually), so it's not like I'll see the light and throw it out if you explain to me why it's such a horrible thing.

5. Dogs. I know many of my readers will hate me for this, but I can't help it, people! I'm terrified of dogs for some reason, even the small, supposedly cute ones. They bark and they make these nasty panting noises. They also salivate all over people and destroy their pantyhose with their paws. It's especially annoying when dog owners think that I'm just being coy when I ask them to take their dog off me. "Oh, she's just playing around!" they say, looking proud of their pet. It doesn't seem to matter to them much how much discomfort a person experiences when played with against her will.

6. Insects. I'm terrified of insects. Even butterflies are scary. You'd say they are beautiful but have you ever seen a butterfly's face (or whatchamacallit) up close? Look at it through a microscope and you'll see what I'm talking about. Those things are nasty and mean-looking like nothing else I've seen. I don't mind worms, though. They are kind of phallic-looking, so they give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

7. Students who give me long explanations on why they missed class. I have never asked anybody why they were absent. I tell students all the time that I understand perfectly well that every once in a while one can't make it to class. And it's fine. I really don't mind. I couldn't care less, to be honest. Still, there are people who subject me to long, convoluted stories about how the entire universe conspired to prevent them from coming to class. I always tell them: "I don't want to be a police woman or a truancy officer. Please don't try to turn me into one." But it's no use, they still do it.

8. Drivers who think pedestrians are outdated and need to be punished for their temerity of actually daring to walk by speeding into them and splashing them with mud.

9. Unsolicited advice. Last week, a colleague subjected me to a 15-minute rant on how I could improve a course I'm teaching. Did he ever teach a similar course? Not even close. Has he observed my class and seen any problems in it? No, he's never been near my classroom. Does he have more teaching experience than I do? Ha ha ha. Does he, in fact, have any experience teaching this type of courses? Not even remotely. Still, he thinks it highly necessary to inform me of his views on how the course needs to be taught even though there is no possibility that I will change my syllabus 3 weeks into the semester.

10. Unconsiderate conference speakers. Few things are as annoying as knowing that you will be the last speaker on your panel and listening to a colleague mumble and stumble through 40 minutes of a talk instead of the 20 they were assigned. Don't such people realize that they force colleagues who have to speak after them rush through their presentation as a result of their total lack of consideration?

11. Birds singing. I understand that birds have to sing for whatever biological reasons. But, gosh, do they have to start doing it so early?? I love to sleep with my window open in all seasons, but these birds start persecuting me with their chirping even before 5 am. I now know the voices of all the most vocally active creatures that live around my house. There is a particularly nasty one who starts screeching as early as 4 am. How evil is that?

I have more but I've got to run to work now. Feel free to share your dislikes in the comments.


eric said...

Here are some of mine:

1. Guys with high-and-tight haircuts who drive big trucks with that stupid "No Fear" sticker on the back cab window, and who try to run everybody off the road. C'mon, dude, we all know you're compensating.

2. Menudo. I know I'm supposed to be proud of my heritage by chowing this slop over the Holidays, but one wiff makes me want to go vegan.

3. Hot weather. Like you, why people want to be out in the sun sweating is inexplicable. Even more inexplicable, is what Paul Fussell dubbed the "lemming flight" to the Sun Belt. Everybody I know and work with complains when the daily high dips below 80, or if there is any hint of cloud in the sky. This is Colorado, mind you, so that's a lot of complaining.

4. Reality TV.

5. People who ask me why I don't have kids.

6. People who ask me why I don't have Jesus.

7. People who ask my why I don't have an iPod. I'm a vinyl snob, so sue me.

8. Milk, unless it's in cereal.

Clarissa said...

We have a lot in common. :-)

Except the reality TV. I love Top Chef and Project Runway. It's a joy to see such talented people.

By the way, why don't you have Jesus? ;-) ;-)

Clarissa said...

A talk with student about Jesus:

Student: Oh, you are from Canada! That's God's country. My minister knows this Canadian minister and we went on several missionary retreats there and . . .

Me (interrupting): Actually, the best thing in Canada is that you can buy alcohol at 18.

Student: That too!! I told you it's truly a God's country.

Go figure how to talk to these religious folks.

Pagan Topologist said...

Fascinating. I love the c. vegetable raw and its cousin broccoli cooked, but absolutely not vice versa. I love split infinitives; they seem to me to be a superpower of the English language that many other tongues cannot manage. I like most any kind of weather that is not life-threatening. I also do not like dogs, although not with quite the intensity you describe. I have in fact met a very few dogs in my life that I liked. I generally like birds' singing.

Clarissa said...

Every time I go to visit my mother, she says: "Great! I'll make you some cauliflower bacause I know how much I love it!" And I say: "Mom. why do you always forget that I actually hate it?" "Well, I knew there was something about you and cauliflower," she always says. :-)

I don't know why these stories are gushing out of me today.

Anonymous said...

The prohibition against split infinitives is an unnatural one that came about due to scholars during the 19th century attempting to make English grammar behave more like Latin grammar.

But the thing is, in Latin you can't have a split infinitive -- it's all one word (unless you use tmesis).

In English, split infinitives are perfectly natural.

(Sorry, huge language nerd here.)

But here's some things I don't like:

1) When I tell someone that I don't want to have kids, ever -- they still say, "Just wait, you'll change your mind." Nope, no chance.

2) Someone on a hike who is not in your group or with you that seems to want to walk right alongside you. It's a big woods/mountain! Go somewhere else!

3) Coffee. Yuck!

4) Too many sales people coming to the door lately. I'm not the kind of person that you just randomly show up at my door. I have too many enemies. Those people are one false move from getting a knife through the face.


BenYitzhak said...

I entirely agree with you on number one.

Number three, I don't hate it, but it sounds weird. I expect the first to be "I honestly want to believe" (even thought that changes the meaning of the phrase) and "We have to consider very seriously" (which I don't think changes the meaning at all).