Column for Thursday, 4/12 - jims

Grumpy and proud of it

Looking back over the Cant articles, it is pretty amazing the amount of angst and vitriol that has poured forth from my fingers as well as those of my fellow writers. One reason, given by the esteemed Cindy is that writing about good things is boring, ro could easily devolve into one of those late night infomercials. I offer another possibility, simply that the world is filled with a lot of really annoying, and in some cases stupid, people. An easy statement to make, I know. Amazingly, however, it is backed up by events in my daily life.

It seems that any circle of people that I find myself in, there is always one that will whine about their situation in life, no matter how good it may be. The particular individual that comes to mind is one of those tech industry people. Said individual is making decent money, recently bought a house, and has never had a significant commute. However, this same individual thinks that they are owed the world. An even handed critique of the individuals work resulted in hours of bemoaning their unworthiness. The flakiness of an acquaintance around meal time results in, gasp, the unplanned need to find sustinance. Instead of doing so, time is wasted whining about the fact. Every little thing becomes a drama, a need to speak out, each word crafted in hopes of positive reinforcement for the individual.

Friends come down to visit Santa Cruz on a regular basis from other parts of the Bay Area. One statement that is regularly heard from them is how bad drivers in Santa Cruz are. I've touched on this subject before, but will revisit it briefly. If you ever want an interesting case study in traffic dynamics, sit at the cross over between Water St and Soquel Ave right Morrisey Blvd and the 24 Hour Fitness Center. Basically, north bound traffic on Water St has the option to cut over to north on Soquel or continue on Water. At the same time, south bound traffic on Water is routed over to south on Soquel. Every time I approach this intersection, people have no clue what to do. It is like they are approaching it for the first time. Traffic in the lane to be directed on to Soquel all of a sudden decides it wants to go straight, or those that will be forced to continue on Water decide that they really, really, need to be on Soquel -- at the last moment, when the line dividing traffic is solid white, and traffic behind them can not get around. And somewhere I read that municipalities in the US are considering bringing traffic circles to this country? Get real. I miss driving in Portugal, truly a society that understands driving sanely.

As I write this, I find myself having to deal with one of those individuals that really just needs to be eliminated from the gene pool. I am sitting in a coffee shop, this person is sitting at a table behind me. Not only did he ask to share a table with someone, but he seems bent on sharing his opinions and drivel with everyone around him. The woman he is sharing the table with is studying literature, in particular it appears to be about the Greeks. About every five minutes, he opens his yap to interupt her and tell her about some random tech bullshit that he is reading. After rambling that involved several acronyms including C++, XML, and OOP, the woman simply responds in, "You lost me at C++." Yet, he proceeds. What is it? I know there are attention starved geeks out there desperate to interact with a person of the opposing gender. It really is important to get a damn clue and go back to silent time with one's hand.

These ramblings only highlight a small sample of those that infest my daily life. It may be that I am old and crusty, which is probably true, if that is possible for someone not yet thirty. It may be that my tolerance is very low. I just know, for the most part, I am a happy person just having days filled with many an annoyance.