My Crankiest Rant Ever.

I am usually far more "idealist" than "cranky" in my life.  I try to be a uniter, not a divider.  But sometimes, I get pent-up frustration (like we all do) and I feel the need to vent.  So, here is my unofficial "cranky list" of what has annoyed me recently. (I hope that no one will unfriend me after this!)

Please note that I am not including any justified anger against injustice and cruelty, the kind of anger that spurs people into righteous action.  These are just my pet peeves. 
1. The folks who honk at me when I am trying to be a safe, prudent driver.  Dude, I stopped in the road because there was a stop sign or a red light, or because someone was trying to turn in front of me, or because someone was pulling out in front of me, or because the traffic was going more slowly.  Please don't honk at me or plow into the back of me.  Just watch the road.

I see so many wannabe Nascar drivers on the road.  Here's a little tip: if you want to get to your destination five seconds faster, why don't you leave five seconds earlier?

The next time someone honks at me for no reason, I will be tempted to get out of my car, look the person straight in the eyes, wave while grinning broadly, and say, "Hey, buddy!  I thought I recognized you!  Great to see you!  Thanks for honking at me!" 

2. The folks who play their music way too loudly, whether in traffic or down my street in the middle of the night.  Newsflash: your music isn't so wonderful that everyone within a 500-yard radius wants to hear it.  Granted, it's your right, I suppose, to damage your own hearing and to pay a whopping sum for huge speakers.  However, the next time I am sitting in traffic with my children and I hear profanity blasting next to us to the point where we can't hold a conversation, I think I will get out of my car and start dirty dancing in my Mom Jeans right in front of you.  Your music isn't so hip now, is it?

But if I am awoken from a sound sleep because you thought you'd impress your friends with a 3 AM party in the suburbs, I will call the cops.  You'd better hope that there's no underage drinking there.

3. People who are grumpy toward and suspicious of friendliness.  When I smile and wave at you as we walk by each other on a sunny day, I promise that I am not trying to rob you or preach to you. Yes, I realize that we are probably strangers, even in this very small town of ours, but I just want to say hello.  I promise.

4. People who think that they know everything about parenting.  I am not talking about well-meaning advice that comes from experience, or the parents who really do inspire us, but about the people who are like, "My baby never cries.  Yours does?  Hmmm.  You must be doing something wrong."

While I am on the subject: parents who think that catering to their child's every whim (not need, but whim) is a good thing.  Where does this come from?  Are we teaching kids that they should get everything they want in life?  No, children need to learn patience, gratitude, and generosity... and parents who spoil their kids are doing no one any favors.  (*I was spoiled as a child, and I had very few friends.  Even my stepsister wrote me a card that said, "I love you, even though you are selfish."  Do not spoil your children!  Trust me on this.)
You wouldn't "teenage" your baby, so don't "baby" your teenager.  Give your kids everything they need... not necessarily everything they want.  Helicopter parenting is bad.  Lecture over.

But the worst would be the parents who think that their child(ren) are the only ones on the earth that matter.  "I don't care that Mrs. Smith has 30 kids in her class.  If she doesn't give my son 2 hours of one-on-one attention every day, I am going straight to the Superintendent!  My son deserves this!"  Yes, your child is special... and so is EVERY OTHER CHILD.  That's right: other children exist, and their parents love them just as much as you love yours!  Imagine that.

5. People who think that their choices aren't just the best for them, but that their choices are the only choices that reasonable folks could possibly make... and therefore, you are an idiot for making different life choices.

I know, this is a hard one... I know I certainly do it.  This applies to everything from voting to vaccinations to vegetarianism, breastfeeding to big cars, circumcision to spanking.  Strong opinions can make for some annoying self-righteousness.  Everything should be prefaced with, "The right choice for me/my family was this, but..."

That's like when it comes to homeschooling, I think it's the best choice for our family right now, but is it the best choice for all families?  No way!  Parents should get all of the knowledge available, weigh the alternatives, and judge for themselves what is best for their families.

However, that said, sometimes I think we NEED a little more judgment and opinions from honest friends.  It's not being judgmental in the pejorative sense if you criticize someone while having good intentions.  Maybe we should listen to other people once in awhile.  Just a thought.

6. People from a group who think that because some people from another group condone or encourage their viewpoint that they are justified in hurting people from that other group.  (For example: "Some people from indigenous cultures don't mind being exploited for profit, so it must be okay to exploit all people from indigenous cultures for profit!"  Or, "See, our group isn't racist because 5 people of color think it's terrific!  They must speak for everyone!  We are immune to criticism now.")  As if.

7. When the mailman puts the "Sorry we missed you card" in the mailbox in front of my house for a package delivery when we've been home ALL DAY... that annoys me to the hilt.  So now I have to make a special trip to the post office and wait in line, all because you were too lazy to ring my doorbell?  Dude, I realize that you must have a rough job sometimes, but you get some sweet benefits.  Please stop and ring my doorbell.  That's all I ask.

8. Women and men who spend hours each day and thousands of dollars on their physical appearance.  Are you a model or entertainer?  No?  Then why spend your time and money worrying about what you look like, and then sigh about how much you can't afford to give time or money to charitable causes?  Sure, it's well within your right to be vain, but I've got a newsflash: we're all going to die someday.  Our bodies will rot.  It's true.  So why not use the time and money that you've been given to actually do something positive?  Dude, no one cares about your stretch marks or your crooked teeth.  We're all human beings.

9. People who take themselves too seriously.  Oh, and nationalism.  No further comment needed.

10. The whole religion vs. non-religion debate.  Let's all make this clear:

Whether you are a Christian, an atheist, a Muslim, a pagan, an agnostic, or whatever: we all are equally wonderful and we all equally suck.  You complaining about someone's religion or lack thereof is not going to change the person!  You know what will change their hearts?  Your positive example, that's what.  People follow happy people.  If you want to bring someone to your "side" on this issue, show the person how happy your choice has made you.  If you're miserable yourself, do you think that someone would want to join you?

We're human beings.  Don't try to play the self-righteous card and talk about how The Other is horrible, how The Other is the cause of all of our problems, how The Other just needs to get enlightened to your version of the truth or how The Other should just go away.  We all need each other, like it or not, and the best thing you can do with this little time on earth is to realize that someone else has it worse off than you, so A) appreciate what you have and B) try to help people.  Otherwise, what's the point?

11. Bloggers who think they know all the answers, and who think that people actually care about their blogs.  How annoying!  Oh wait, that's me...

Cranky's rant is over, for now.