I have passions. I don’t just like things, I LOVE THEM. And why waste calories disliking something, when you can HATE it? Some people say I am a drama queen. I disagree. I simply KNOW MY OWN MIND. Here are some of the many things I simply despise:

Bad grammar. As a career English teacher, I spent twenty years in the trenches, battling improper pronoun reference, subject verb disagreements, dangling participles, mixed metaphors, tense shift, and sentence fragments. It was a losing battle and a lost cause. Of course, the fact that I commit many of the crimes I so valiantly sought to punish is beside the point. Totally.

Bad manners. Don’t stack your dishes at a restaurant. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t interrupt, for heaven’s sakes. Put your napkin IN YOUR LAP. If you get a present, send a thank you note! If someone has a black eye, DON’T ask how it happened! And geesh—stop staring!

Cooking every day is a pain. For the life of me, when people say that they RELAX by cooking, I simply don’t get it! How can peeling, chopping, measuring, proofing, stuffing, basting, skinning, straining, boning, and bain marie-ing be RELAXING? Is following a recipe that has fifteen steps remotely enjoyable? How did Julie Powell do it? How did Julia CHILD do it? Why does anyone do it, except for restaurant chefs and Stouffers?

I hate packing for trips. Will it be sunny and hot, or chilly? Should I take a sweater? Will I need something dressy? Should I take two or three pairs of shoes? Will I look like a tourist if I wear sneakers? Are Capri pants considered stylish in New York City? Do they wear leggings in London? How can I leave town for ten days with just ONE suitcase? Why is it my husband can go anywhere, for any duration, with just a carry on?

Chain letters. Guilt, guilt, guilt! It is my fault that there is no cure for cancer, that world peace is still a faint hope, and that my family is not rich beyond our wildest dreams. If only I had taken the time to forward that email on to ten people, or copy that chain letter and buy stamps in order to send it on! I have to live with this every day. No wonder I can’t sleep at night!

Hardware stores are the pits. OMG, there is simply NOTHING for me to buy at a hardware store! How my husband can spend hours in one is a mystery to me! And those big box home stores are worse! Grills, lawnmowers, storm windows, grouting, weather stripping, power tools—the list goes on and on, and on, and ON. We go in for a dowel, and an HOUR later, we are still browsing. The only thing worse than a hardware store is a COMPUTER store….

Small talk. I can’t make small talk for the LIFE of me! How do people navigate parties successfully? I can never think of anything to ASK anyone. Is it because I see a room full of strangers and want to keep it that way? I just can’t seem to muster up any enthusiasm for chatting up unfamiliar folks. I don’t want to know what they do, where they live, how many kids they have, who they voted for, what their stand is on health care, what surgeries they have had lately, if they eat organic food, or if they have ever run a marathon. Sartre had it ALMOST right. “Hell is other people.”


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