Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Walking My Pet Peeves

Most of my writing—and I certainly hope that you would agree with this—focuses on the positive, from my nutritional and fitness tips, to my motivational and inspirational messages—even my music and humorous stuff is created to not only entertain, but to educate (yes, even this sad self-deprecating homage to follicle longing).

Yet (and some close family members and lifelong friends may be inclined to debate this) I remain a human being, one with flaws, faults, foibles, and faux pas (and those are just the “F”s). I do not wear my Mike Foster-goofy-grin-with-green-teacup face all the time, especially while I am in a car, either driving it or witnessing someone else manning the wheel.

Certain peccadilloes of human bizarre behavior seem to present themselves more frequently while scooting through traffic, many of these irk, irritate, infuriate, and raise my ire (and those are just the “I”s) to the point of adding them to my list of pet peeves.

Take, for example, the directional signal. This is one misused, seldom used, and overused instrument of driving that drives me nuts.

Scenario One: You’re driving in a queue of traffic, approaching a left-turn-only turn lane, you:

a) drive into the lane, idle in traffic while waiting for the light to turn, then when the arrow turns green, and as you proceed to turn you put your left blinker on, effectively indicating to the other drivers that you are going to turn left…IN A LEFT-TURN-ONLY LANE!!!

b) Approach the intersection, start to weave into the left-turn-only lane, you stomp on your brakes, slow down to a maddening crawl, pull into your lane of choice…THEN PUT ON YOUR DIRECTIONAL, effectively indicating to the poor soul behind you that which he already knows.

c) You flip your directional indicator on several miles before your turn, click-click-clicking away in oblivious nirvana, then actually get into the left-turn-only lane, blinker blinking away like a manic tweaker, sitting in queue, click-click-clicking the obvious, then when the light turns green, continue through the intersection, your directional still snapping away as you proceed to make a left turn around the world.

d) all of the above...are idiots!

As you can see I have a bit of a problem with the left-turn-only lane and the misuse of the directional signal. But my annoyance with blinkers does not stop there, oh, no. How about the guy who swerves in front of you, sans blinker, then slams on the brakes…THEN PUTS HIS DIRECTIONAL ON!! Why bother, buddy?

Or how about what this guy has to say about pet peeves?


Then we have the fast lane versus the slow lane, or the left lane, what we used to call the passing lane back when I went to driver’s education, and the right lane, the lane reserved for those who are related to snails.

Can someone explain to me why anyone drives in the left lane, the supposedly passing lane, and refuses to drive the speed limit—I’m talking about driving BELOW the speed limit?! Anyone?

While this pet peeve rankles, riles, and ruffles my feathers (that’s right, those are just the “R”s), I also use it as a self-challenge in practicing patience…excellent time spent plotting diverse ways at torturing the slow-Joe creating his own personal parade in the high-speed lane. And then, after a month of driving behind this joker, I am finally able to pass, casting a stink-eye glance at the culprit…only to see that it is some harmless, kind-looking, elderly woman who bears such a striking resemblance to my mother my guilt overwhelms me to the point of almost driving into a tree.

Okay, I understand that most of us behave differently inside the protective, stereo-blasting, French fry-eating, cell phone-chatting, Facebook-updating safety of our own vehicles, but my last pet peeve so bothers, bugs, bewilders, and befuddles (uh-huh, just the “B”s) me I am almost at a loss for words…key word being “almost.”

Smoking. Anyone or anything. Anywhere or anytime. I will never understand why anyone who has ever learned to read past the third-grade level would ever smoke a cigarette. Besides being the most rude, reprehensible, repulsive, and ridiculous (need I say that those are just the “R”s?) habit I can imagine, it has been proven to be so unhealthy for you that to ingest burning leaves of tobacco into your once clean lungs can only be the actions of a crazy person…or someone who needs my help.

***Serious segue*** You can stop smoking, by the way, I did and millions of people have. My video site,, has hundreds of videos that can help. And even though I am about to go off on a tangent aim in your general direction, I really do feel for you…to a point.***

Anyway, where was I? Right, discussing in the form of a diatribe about how smoking is disgusting, dangerous, damaging, and degrading. Anyone who has ever shared an elevator car with someone who has just spent their fifteen minute break puffing away on a cancer stick understands what a preview of hell might be like.

Let’s pretend smoking doesn’t smell horrendous, or will kill you sooner rather than later, what about that dreaded smoker’s cough? Working in an office, I am serenaded daily by the hacking wheeze of the chronic smoker’s phlegm-filled foghorn bellowing from the mouths, throats, and, sadly, lungs of my clueless coworkers. Do I feel empathy and compassion? Yes. But I also feel sad and peeved, prompting me to take steps…like writing this blog post, and praying and hoping that someday, very soon, these misdirected and weak individuals will get the help they need to live the life they surely desire.

So, next time I am driving to work, watching the click-click-clicking of a misguided directional signal in the car in front of me, who is also hogging the passing lane for reasons known only to he or she, and I am finally able to pass this “interesting” person, and I glance over and notice that he or she is puffing madly away on a cigarette, I will—gulp—nod, wave, smile, and continue on my way, ready to embrace my day, knowing that when in doubt:


You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time…




Rod said...

My pet peeve is loud cellphone talkers, its just annoying. Smoking doesn't bother me to much, as an ex-smoker I understand how it feels to satisfy a fix, but smoking around or near children? that just gets me mad. If your thinking about quitting smoking, go for it, keep trying, never giving up is the key.

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Wow, this was such an unusual post for you. It puzzles me why people smoke too--absolutely nothing good about it. I'm glad I never tried it.

Here's a link to my rant:

suZen said...

Hi Mike! Well thank God is all I can say - you are SO human! I'm glad you can walk off the irks so you don't have high blood pressure. I have my own irks and oddly enough, starting next week I'm doing some blogs about them. I'm irked at the FDA, the USDA, and Monsanto for poisoning our food and lying about it's safety. I've read too much, researched too long, and I'm mad as hell. It's not NICE to make mama mad!

Mike Foster said...

rod: i agree, i will never understand why someone thinks their phone conversation somehow involves me or my space...

karen: i have a large problem with smokers ever since my dad died way too young from smoking way too much...and, yes, this is a different post for me, but one that shows, i hope, my human side...

suzen: go get 'em, suzen! i may be the guy that spouts inspiration and motivation, but, yes,i am human and that means that some humans bug, bother, and bewilder me...and those are just the B's...



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Jennifer said...

As a life-long pedestrian, I have my own irritations with people who don't signal as I am about to cross the street that they suddenly turn into.

And I grew up with two smokestacks for grandparents and sucked in a lot of secondhand smoke over the years. I'm not sure anybody smokes in Berkeley! Well, that's not the case, but I notice it a whole lot less here.

Robin said...

Dear Mike, this is hysterical and SO true. New Mexico is not only known for drunk drivers who kill EVERY year, but for using NO directionals at all. NONE. It's the pits when you are waiting at a side street to move out onto the main street and someone is coming toward you into the lane you want to pull into and they don't put on a directional. So you sit there waiting and waiting until they've gone by so you can pull out, and then they turn into the very street you are waiting in. And all the while you could have pulled out. LOL! I've thought of doing a goofy post about New Mexico. It's the worst here of anywhere I've ever lived.

I love how you hold the guitar and strum while you talk. It's classic Mike.

Also, I have wanted to connect with you to talk about your writing, but I just got swamped awhile back with editing, catalog copy, cover design and book trailer all at the same time and have been in the thick of it ever since. But I've not forgotten you. I even started an email to you a couple of months ago. So When I get a chance, I'll finish it and send it off.

I so enjoy your humorous, down to earth and wise videos. You do them in such a TOTALLY relaxed state of being that people feel like they know you and have always known you. THAT is a really cool thing, Mike.

I was reading what you wrote here about quitting smoking, THIS is why you HAVE to write your life story. I just know it would rock.

You are such a joy, I often think more so than you even see. You are just so used to being you that it seems perfectly natural.

Hugs and....PEACE!!

Mike Foster said...

nagendra: thanks for stopping by...please contact my video site, for details...

jennifer: i agree with both of your observations: I, too, am a lifelong pedestrian, an avid walker, and a noticer (not a real word) of poor driving for smoking, my dad died way too young from way too many cigarettes...enough said...thanks for the ocmment, jennifer...

robin: where do i begin to respond to another amazing comment...well, here goes: i like the feel the guitar in my hand, which is like an actor's prop while i chat and strum...i would love to see a goofy post from you, really!...please, please send me an email, i would also love to hear from you, especially regarding writing, but totally understand your time restraints with your pending book...which i cannot wait to come out, by the way...but, please, robin, stay in touch and i will try to visit your site more often when i, too, find more time...



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