Rather than just give you another generic rant about the people who annoy me on a daily basis, I thought I'd give you a rundown of the ten people I am most looking forward to meeting in hell.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of attempted humor. I do not actually think that restaurant hostesses or maternity nurses should suffer eternal damnation (the mailman, though...that's another story). By reading and/or sharing this post you agree not to get your panties all twisted up in a knot, not to call Child Protective Services (this actually happened to a blogger who called her kid an "asshat" in one of her entries because he failed a math test - I'm not kidding, read it here), and not to otherwise harass me, online or in person. Let's keep it light, folks.
So here we go. The ten people I am most looking forward to meeting in hell.
1. The Mailman Who Maced My Dog. My dog was a puppy when, one afternoon, her snooze on the front porch was interrupted by a man in a uniform who "doesn't like" dogs. Startled, she barked; he responded by spraying her with a noxious substance that caused her great pain and confusion. She is now seven years old, and that formative experience has seasoned her interactions with all people ever since. She hates any man she doesn't know, particularly if he is in uniform. I need to lock her up when the meter reader (a very kind and friendly dog-lover who is puzzled by her reaction to him) shows up on his monthly visit. She has occasionally suffered from fear aggression, and the people on the receiving end, not knowing the history, blame me. The United States Postal Service maintains that mail carriers are entitled to carry mace and to use it whenever they see fit. I understand that the wilds of suburban New Jersey can be a dangerous place to be going door-to-door, delivering coupons and water bills. But I humbly suggest that if you hate domestic animals, "suburban mail carrier" is probably not your ideal job title. Maybe this jerk will be in another profession soon anyway, as his employer appears poised to go bankrupt. You will see no tears from me.
2. The Restaurant Hostess Who Refuses To Seat Us Until The Entire Party Arrives. She's nineteen years old and wearing a miniskirt. She's majoring in art history at the local community college. And when my husband drops me at the restaurant door while he drives around looking for a parking space, she makes me stand, or sit alone in the bar, until she sees the whites of his eyes. Now, it's possible that I'm lying about actually needing a table for two and that I am going to be stood up, stealing that second seat away from another more deserving couple. But it's also possible that I am going to sit down, order a brand-name single-malt Scotch, and then, upon the arrival of my husband of twenty years (also a Scotch drinker, by the way), I'm going to overeat wildly. Consider too that if you treat me kindly, I might come back again and again. I know that when you're nineteen and you have no real stake in your employer's business, this might be a hard concept to grasp, but please internalize it now: letting a tired working mom and her friends have a seat, as soon as possible, is a good business decision.
3. The Customer Service Rep Who Puts Me On Hold While She Determines Whether I'm Making It All Up. Yesterday, I noticed my checking account was overdrawn, and upon investigation, I determined that the gym I joined two years ago, at a location which closed a year later, was still automatically billing me for membership fees. It's a national chain, so I called their customer service hotline to see if I could get the charges reversed and put my little bank account back into the black. I explained to the agent on the phone that she was billing me for membership to a gym location that did not exist. "Fifty-second and Broadway?" she said. "That location is still open, according to my records." Um. "No, it's not; it's been boarded up since November 2010," I responded. She then put me on hold for ten minutes to verify that I wasn't lying about the closure of the branch. When she determined that I was telling the truth, she kindly cancelled my membership, effective immediately, but she refused to refund my money because I had failed to give her thirty days' notice of cancellation. I'm scared to name the chain, but you'll recognize them when you get to hell. They'll be the most physically fit ones there, burning in the corner with the other thieves.
4. The Maternity Nurse Who Yells At The New Mom. I know, I know, you think I'm exaggerating. How could a maternity nurse actually yell at someone who has just given birth? Someone who is exhausted and wearing nothing but a backless cotton gown and a sanitary pad? Does such cruelty even exist in this world? But this really did happen to me. My third child was, to my great surprise, of the male gender. I hauled my sore butt out of the hospital bed at three in the morning to feed him, and I decided to change his diaper first. Baby boys, unlike baby girls, pee up. As soon as I took off the old diaper, and before I could put a new one on him, my hospital gown got wet. I do not tell this story to humiliate my son, but rather to point out that if you are a maternity nurse, and you get buzzed at your station in the wee hours by a crying, soaked mom who wants nothing more than a dry nightgown, do not yell at her for being careless. Otherwise, you will get a mention in her blog twelve years later, and your meanness will be laughed at by all 54 people who purportedly read such blog.
5. The Guy Who Cuts Me Off By Making His Left-Hand Turn The Moment The Light Turns Green. I have a lot of pet peeves, but this one really drives me nuts. I'm stopped at a red light, and the guy across from me is clearly planning to turn left. And he does so, immediately, as soon as the light turns green. He fails to yield to oncoming traffic, which has the indisputable right of way. I know you probably think this is a petty thing to write about, but I know for a fact that this guy bothers other people too - in fact, he got a mention in my pastor's sermon a few weeks ago under the general topic of selfish people, and that confirms my sense of moral superiority over him. If you are turning left at a light, please yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.
6. Anyone Who Criticizes My Siblings Or Makes Their Lives Difficult In Any Way. Except Me. I'm allowed to harass my siblings. You are not. If you are an only child, you might have learned this lesson the hard way, joining in the ribbing of your friend's sibling and then suddenly realizing that your friend and his sibling are actually on the same team. This is a hard-and-fast rule. It's best to follow it even if you are tempted otherwise.
7. The Tiny Lady In The Enormous SUV Who Honks At Bicyclists. Actually, anyone in any car who honks at bike riders fits into this category. Also, I say bike riders, but this rule applies to joggers as well. (I'm a bike rider but not a jogger, you see.) Anyway. Except under the most dire of circumstances, honking at a bicyclist is a really, really stupid and mean thing to do. Bicyclists are not surrounded by glass that insulates them from sudden, loud noises. If you honk at them, you are likely to scare the crap out of them. Scaring the crap out of someone who, in a vain attempt to get skinny like you, is mildly infringing on your ownership of the road, is not just mean. It's dangerous. It can send them into a ditch, over a curb, into a tree - and if you get sued or prosecuted for injuring a bicyclist, you might lose that expensive car or your right to drive it. We can't have that happen, can we?
8. The Teacher Who Sends Home Flyers And Notices Riddled With Errors. It happens all the time. The teacher lectures my child about grammar, or takes ten points off a test for misspelling something tricky, like "receive" or "algorithm." Then I get a notice that the class will be having a bake sale and that my contribulations are welcome. This category also includes the mean World History teacher who has no patience for small errors but, on Back-to-School Night, fails to capitalize "United States" in her written presentation to the parents. If you think I'm just being picky, you are probably right.
9. The Sexist Car Salesman. Once I bought a car, and the salesman took a moment to show me how to work the controls. The car had an automatic transmission, and the gentleman pointed out to me that "R" meant "reverse" and "D" meant drive. He also advised me not to worry about "D2" and "D1," the lower gears, because "they're just for people who know how to drive a stick." Sadly, this man is no longer living. Happily, his death was not the result of my having run him over with my standard-shift Volkswagen.
10. The Little Old Lady Who Tells Me How To Dress My Child. You know her - she lurks in the supermarket aisles, waiting for some young woman to walk in with a baby who is not wearing a hat, for heaven's sake. She then leaps upon this poor young mother and scolds her, or at best lectures her at length about dressing children appropriately for the weather. Back in the day, I actually let this little old lady and her opinions get to me. Now, I simply write about her in my blog. That'll teach her.