Tell me my friend, what are your pet hates? I have four. In no particular order, here they are:
I seethe with rage when the front person of a service provider or of a retail shop chats with a workmate instead of serving me. In these difficult times, parting with money is more painful than having a tooth extracted. It’s my fundamental right to have the full attention of whoever expects me to part with my money.
As soon I step into her shop, I expect the shop assistant to smile like the airhostess of a world class airline. Her cheerful face affirms that I’m part of the human race and reduces the pain I’m about to endure. On the other hand, listening to her talk with her workmate makes me feel like an intruder in the shop. The agony of being rejected increases when she turns round from her mate and demands that I repeat my request. Of course, how could she have heard me when she was busy yap-yapping!
Filling in a form is another one of my pet hates. My blood boils when forced to squeeze in personal details into those many boxes on the form. I feel boxed in like a prisoner. Further, even if I live to be a thousand, my date and place of birth will never change. How many times must I give this information to authorities? As a pupil, whenever I gave a correct answer, the teacher would nod and repeat the answer to all. Why then must I now keep repeating a correct answer? We are supposed to be living at a time when information technology has fundamentally changed the way we live. Once I pick up a form, I expect it to automatically fill in all information I would have previously submitted to authorities.
Have you noticed that some of the questions asked on one form have the same answer? My residential and postal addresses are identical. So when filling in my postal address, I once wrote: ‘see question 3 above.’ I handed over my completed form to the clerk. He almost exploded with fury. His thick finger landed on the answer with a thud and thundered; ‘nobody lives at ‘see question 3 above.’’
‘Sorry,’ I mumbled. I retrieved the form, cancelled that answer, wrote down my full address and handed it back.
He glared at the form and shook his head. ‘We don’t accept cancellations.’
‘Sir, my writing is clear and…’
‘Fill in another form. Next!’
Rude clerks could be said to be another one of my pet hates but I suppose these are in the same category with unsmiling shop assistants.
Another one of my pet hates is someone who keeps talking about himself only. Lest you accuse me of doing just that, I will take a break from listing my pet hates.
A friend of mine tells me his pet hate is listening to minutes being read at our residents meeting. ‘Remember,’ my friend often fumes, ‘this is a social, not business meeting. Why then the formality? Those who attended the previous meeting know what was discussed and agreed. So why force them to hear it a second time?’
‘Those who were not at the last meeting want to know what transpired,’ I once pointed out.
‘They would have forgotten details of what was discussed at the last meeting,’ he said ‘and so can not confirm the minutes as a correct record. Just skip the whole charade and get on with the day’s business.’
No amount of explanation can convince my friend the value of reading minutes.
My final pet hate…well imagine this scene. Appetizing food has been dished out, aroma fills the air, stomachs are grumbling and we are all salivating. ‘Let us pray,’ some killjoy says.
We close our eyes and the killjoy proceeds to deliver a long, long prayer. I mastered my pre-meals prayer at boarding school. With our eyes open, grace was: ‘for the food before us, we thank Thee. Amen.’
I admit, when the headmaster was in the dining hall, the prayer was a bit longer. We would throw in a request that we did well in school. We even closed our eyes, for there was no danger of anyone stealing your piece of meat. That headmaster could see us all, even with his eyes closed.
I used to hate people who when greeting me at a public gathering declared, ‘I’m pleased to see,’ yet glanced over my shoulder in search for more important guests. I caught myself doing just that at a meeting last Saturday. I now tolerate this offence.
What about you dear reader, what are your pet hates?