Little did you know, but the day you were born into this world, you made an implicit promise with the rest of the world that you were going to accept some things just as they are and keep moving along. Parts of this compact include motorists who drive 35 mph in the fast lane on the freeway, your seventh-grade English teacher’s bad breath, and the inexplicable fame and success of hair bands in the 80s – you just file them away as givens and try not to let them ruin your day (or your decade for that matter).
Back when I used to have to travel a lot, I would stay in a mid-level hotel chain, and I was generally pleased with the accommodations. The two things I did do on a regular basis that still give my wife the heebie-jeebies was walk around my room barefoot and leave the bedspread on the bed when I went to sleep each night. Sure, I’ve heard all about the funky foot fungi that are ever present on hotel floors and what a hotel bedspread looks like under a black light, but I’ve chosen to exercise my birthright and just not think about it. I stayed in hotels regularly for over four years – I wasn’t about to let myself go neurotic.
Another aspect of my life in which I refuse to think beyond the moment is when I go to a convenience store and get a fountain drink. The lids to the cups are always arranged in such a way that it’s good odds that another ungloved human hand has touched the inside of the very lid you’re about to place atop your cup and allow who-knows-what to mingle with your thirst-quenching drink. But I can’t think about that! I have a Coke to swig.
Recently, I noticed our pool sweep wasn’t working properly, so I reeled it in and brought the head up out of the water only to notice that a small rat had become lodged in the intake valve – if the look frozen on its face conveyed its last thoughts before succumbing to the depths of our pool, I’m pretty sure he was ticked! While I dismantled the sweep’s head and pushed the rat’s body out of the opening with a screwdriver (that went immediately in the trash can afterwards), I made sure I didn’t touch the vermin with either of my hands. Nevertheless, the rest of that evening, I kept having to wash my hands with HOT water and plenty of soap. Before I went to bed, I forced myself to stop thinking about the whole incident so I could get some rest. Fortunately, I didn’t have any nightmares that night of Chuck E. Cheese chasing me with a pool sweep.
Although I feel to pat myself on the back for my ability to let things slide the way I do, I have three pet peeves that I just can’t shake:
1. Using Chopsticks to Eat Asian Food (IF YOU’RE NOT ASIAN AND/OR LIVING IN ASIA WHILE DOING THE EATING!): you’re not impressing anyone with your manual dexterity. The only person who MIGHT think you’re cool is the dishwasher at the restaurant because your chopsticks are made of cheap wood, and they’re going to throw them away after you leave rather than washing them.
2. People Who Say, “I Never Watch TV. There’s never anything good to watch.”: Liar, liar, pants on FIRE!!!!!!! So you pay $100/month for high-definition cable so your dogs have something to do while you’re gone instead of chewing up the sofa leg and/or playing “Guess Which Shoe I Peed in Today”?
3. People Who Make a Big Deal that They NEVER Sleep More Than Four Hours Each Night: Come on!! I have yet to eavesdrop on a conversation among a group of women who say, “That Steve is a hunk! Don’t you just love what sleep deprivation does to his eyes?” Even if you’re some freak of nature who revels in such a behavior, keep your weirdness to yourself and let me get some shuteye – Chuck E. Cheese isn’t going to be patient forever, so I might as well face him sooner than later.