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 August, 2006


 Pet peeves and annoyances are discussed


By Al Owens
…Do you ever get the impression that technology has gone too far? It used to be you’d pick up your telephone, dial 411 and get a human being who’d give you the telephone number you requested. Nowadays when you call directory assistance, you get a computer. One that can never understand the name of the person, whose number you’re requesting. It then says something like, “I'll pass your request to an operator for further assistance.” Well why didn’t it pass my request along to the operator for further assistance first? The blasted computer never understands what I’m saying anyway.

Modern technology has given us increasingly frustrating times when you can’t get through a supermarket without having to jump out of the way of somebody who feels compelled to talk on their cell phone while shopping? Is there a need for somebody to call home to discuss that sale on sweet potatoes?

I’m not particularly anti-cell phone. I am, however, getting a little tired of people who feel compelled to drag their personal conversations headlong into my shopping cart. Or those people who think they need to drive along the highway at 15 in a 55 while holding one of those cell phones to their ear! Conversations they probably wouldn’t have if the person on the other end of that cell phone was right in front of them.

I’m not necessarily anti-technology. I love computers. I make a living with mine, but the state of modern technology has given me five remote controls, of which I can never figure the right button that turns on my television! Instead of all the confusion, sometimes, in a fit of passion, I just walk over and push the on switch on my television.

How about those silly television screens that have appeared at checkout counters in supermarkets? They’re supposed to give you something to do while you wait for the customers in front of you to check out. They give you weather reports, the latest scores and the big stories of the day. I never watch them! I’d rather sit at home and watch television. (after I’ve fiddled with those remote controls)

These days, ATM machines talk back to you. It took me 30 years to get used to ATM machines, now they’re trying to carry on conversations with me. They don’t understand, I just want my money, so I can go to the supermarket, buy my TV dinner, ignore that stupid checkout line television screen, and then go home and toy with my remote controls!

But technology’s latest advances are still less frustrating than some people. Is it just me, or does it truly make you wonder what must be going through people’s minds when you open a door for them, but they don’t even acknowledge your good will?

Who invented these 10 year-olds who seem compelled to call me “dude” or “man”? Where did they come from?

Am I wrong to ask the checkout clerk to hold off on discussions about what they did last night with their fellow checkout clerks, while counting my change?

Am I being a little nitpicky when I ask them to recount my change, and to SHUT UP while recounting it?

These may be minor frustrations to you, but to me they reach the levels of unneeded annoyances.

It’s that person on the other end of the telephone who’s dialed the wrong number, and when you let them know there’s nobody by that name there - who immediately hangs up and calls again – who really ticks me off! People who think the wrong number won’t be the wrong number two times in a row - who give me hives!

Now back to the cell phone thing. If you must call me from a cell phone don’t walk, run or drive while calling. It seems like everybody who calls me using their cell phone gets disconnected! It seems like during the course of every cell phone conversation I have to ask, “Are you there? Can you hear me?” Please call me when you get home.

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