I can’t stand it

I can’t stand it when you go to the drug store, and you need to buy razor blades or deodorant, and for whatever reason, that particular item that you came to the drug store to buy, it’s locked behind some stupid plastic partition. “Please see an associate,” the display tells you. Great, I need to find an employee to come and help me pick out my toiletries. I don’t want to have to share such an intimate moment with a complete stranger. Sure, I always buy some variation of Old Spice Red Zone, but maybe I want to stand there for a second, read the packaging, explore potential alternatives. Not while some guy is standing right there waiting for me to hurry up. Is deodorant and razor blade theft that much of a problem?

I can’t stand it when I’m cooking something on the stove and, for whatever reason, the skillet starts smoking. And I lower the heat, but it’s not an immediate fix, the whole kitchen is filling up with smoke. Thirty seconds later, I’ve got all the windows open, the ceiling fan doing its thing, but the smoke alarm in the living room starts going off. “Beep! Beep! Beep!” I get it, OK, so I go over with a towel and I’m waving the smoke away, but it only stops for like thirty seconds at a time. I’m trying to juggle my food still cooking, this alarm blaring, and seriously, why is it so smoky in here? Where is all of this smoke coming from, and why isn’t it going away? What’s the point of that overhead vent thing, the big fan on top of the stove? It’s making a lot of noise, it’s definitely the loudest appliance in the house, but it’s not doing anything. I can see the smoke lingering in the air, clearly not getting sucked anywhere near that fan.

I can’t stand it when you get a call on your cell phone from an unknown number. And I just know that it’s going to be some stupid recording. It always is. So I tell myself, just let it go, just don’t answer the phone. I don’t know how these companies make any money. Is anybody actually following through? Do these robo-cold-calls actually succeed in getting people to fork over their money? And what about those no-call lists, how are these numbers getting around it? And why am I answering the phone? I can’t help it. It’s probably a recording, but maybe it’s a legitimate call. I mean, nobody ever calls anymore, but this could be an exception. Maybe it’s an opportunity. Maybe someone’s about to offer me a really cool job. So I answer the phone. I always answer it. And of course it’s a recording.

I can’t stand it when they mess your order up at the drive-thru. I had access to a car a while back, and I decided to use it late one night to get some McDonald’s. I had the type of late night hunger that only a Big Mac meal with the help from a Quarter Pounder sandwich was going to satisfy, and I thought about how I’d attack my meal as I waited behind that line of cars alongside the drive-thru. It wound up being all wrong. By the time I got home, looking at my single Big Mac sandwich, the large sweet tea that I hadn’t ordered, it was too late. I stared at someone else’s receipt and thought, I’m not driving back there. It’s too late. I’m tired. I don’t feel like explaining myself to anybody. I should have known, though, the clues were there. I was munching on fries during my drive home, and I could tell something was wrong. It wasn’t until I noticed that receipt, it said, “no salt.” Why would you want fries with no salt? They’re gross, piping hot sticks of pure vegetable oil. And the cup that they gave me my drink in, I realized it afterward, but it said “sweet tea” on the side. Sweet tea is nasty, it’s glorified sugar water. Come on. I even thought I checked the bag after she gave it to me, but I really must have just gone through the motions of checking it out, moving my head down as if I would have looked in it, moving things around without actually taking a second to think, OK, is this what I ordered? Should I drive home now? I messed up, man, I totally blew it.