Have you ever noticed that when you finally have a blow-up with someone, it's usually triggered by what appears to be a small, insignificant event? Maybe your spouse didn't wash the pot the way you like or a colleague was chewing her gum too loudly? Of course, these seemingly small annoyances are usually just the final straw on top of an underlying resentment that's been festering for weeks or months and has finally come to a head. Next thing you know, you've gone from a mild-mannered, respectable citizen to a vein-popping, profanity-spewing, rage-filled haridan. Or maybe that's just me...
While today's society offers up no shortage of major etiquette breaches I've found that it's the small, daily violations that drive us crazy and bring out our inner rageaholic. They might be minor when compared to, say, taking investors' money and spending it on yachts, but they rankle just the same in their flagrant disregard of the golden rule.
Here then, are the little indecencies that set my blood boiling every day:
The four-way stop - It's a simple concept really. There is a bright red stop sign at each corner of the intersection. Each driver is required to stop and check that the way is clear before proceeding. The rule is, first in, first out and, in the event that two vehicles arrive at the same time, the one on the right goes first. Yet every day, I see motorists violate this and go when they want to, not when it's their turn. And they know they're doing it, they look right at you and dare you to challenge them as they fly by, leaving you in the middle of the intersection wondering what happened.
The deli counter - Deli counter lineups operate on one of two principles - you take a number and when your number is called, it's your turn or, if there's no number spitter, use the honour system to determine whose turn it is. That means when you arrive, you need to look around and see who was there first and, if the deli counter employee makes a mistake and calls on you before it's your turn, speak up and let the rightful person have their turn!
The stolen parking spot - You know how it is. It's the holidays and you've been circling the mall parking lot for 20 minutes, looking for a spot. In desperation, you end up stalking a shopper on the way back to her car in the hopes of claiming it for yourself. You stealthily follow her down the asphalt, assume the position, turn on your indicator and wait for her to finally back out of the spot. Just as she drives away, some cretin swoops in and steals the spot right out from under your nose. You can try politely explaining that you were waiting for the spot but good luck with that. You're liable to get told to go do something anatomically impossible.
The express checkout - This one is my favourite because people don't commit this particular etiquette sin by accident - it's a blatant disresepct for other people's time. If it says eight items or less, it means eight items or less. It doesn't mean nine, ten or 15. Bananas and apples can't be grouped together as "fruit" and passed off as one item. C'mon people you know who you are. You are not exempt from the rules.
I'm not sure why these little things seem to grate so much but I think as humans we all have a basic need to be acknowledged. When people steal our parking spots or sneak in front of us at the deli counter, it's as if they're saying: "I see you but I choose not to acknowledge you."
What are some little etiquette sins that drive you crazy?