OFF THE CUFF

Everyone has a few things in their lives that qualify as “pet peeves.”

In no particular order, here are a few of mine.

•Inconsistent restaurants.

You and your spouse eat at an establishment a time or two and both think it’s absolutely wonderful. You want to share your discovery with friends or relatives, so you brag about the place and set up a date to go there with them.

When you do, the wheels come off. The rib eye steak is chewy, the sauce on the chicken marsala has nowhere near the same zest as before, the deep-fried green beans are soggy, the spinach and romaine lettuce in the salad is limp and the sweet tea tastes a little like the Ajax wasn’t adequately rinsed out of the glass it’s in.

You feel let down and you’re left with nothing to do but apologize. You also don’t feel like going back.

•People who always have a better example or experience.

You probably know how this works. And it’s pretty much a guy thing, although I’ve heard a woman do it a time or two.

You say, “the snow was so deep I couldn’t get my car past the entrance my steep driveway, so I had to walk about 60 yards in a driving snowstorm!”

Instead of offering sympathy, the guy you’re talking to says, “reminds me of the time I had to walk two miles up a steep hill with snow up to my waist and I was barefoot and wearing only shorts and a tank top, just so I could get my mom a pint of milk from the store.”

In my experience, even when you know who you’re dealing with, it’s still sometimes easy to fall into this trap.

•Potholes that won’t stay away.

There’s a nice-sized pothole on the gravel road you travel on a daily basis, and you take the time and effort to fill it with rocks in hopes of not having to remember to avoid it. The ploy works for a while, but then the hole mysteriously reappears, only it’s even deeper and wider than before.

How?

There’s a nice-sized pothole on the paved road you travel on a daily basis, and the government entity responsible for it fills it in. The ploy works for a while, but then the hole mysteriously reappears, only it’s even deeper and wider than before.

Why?

•Honk-happy drivers.

I’m always amazed when someone honks their horn at me when I’m driving and make a move that’s 100-percent normal, or even necessary. On my way home from work the other day, I slowed down to turn from one road to another. It’s a 90-degree turn, so negotiating it without ending up in a ditch requires slowing down to a virtual crawl – as would be the case with almost any 90-degree turn.

As I began speeding up after the corner, a horn blared long and loud from a vehicle that was apparently right behind me. I didn’t see whether it was a man or woman, but based on what I’ve witnessed during my driving career, it could have been either.

To you who honked: I’m sure you’re a far better driver than me and you’re able to make your gigantic SUV fly around 90-degree corners at high speeds. Please forgive my incompetence and I’m sorry for being in your way.

Oh, and I forgive you for your pompous impatience.

•Bumping into things that are always in the same place.

This one is totally on me.

I have what I would call an annoying knack of bashing into things that are in the exact same place at that moment as they have been for a long time, and I sometimes sustain a bit of an injury as a result.

Like doorjambs; it’s like I try to cut the corner or something, and my shoulder typically takes the brunt of the mistake.

Or the corner of the bed; we have a platform bed and the wooden base sticks out a couple of inches from the mattress (for decorative purposes). Sometimes when I get up for a bathroom visit in the middle of the night, my return trip includes a shin-busting episode, even though I should know exactly how much room to allow when negotiating the curve.

I guess sometimes we just have to learn the hard way – or a bunch of times in my case.

•Drivers who speed up when you try to pass.

Speaking of annoying driving habits, I can’t stand it when you go to legally pass someone on a two-lane highway who’s been sauntering along at about 10 miles per hour under the speed limit and they speed up massively while you’re trying to get around them before the passing section ends.

Come on, really? Are you that much of a control freak?

•Long range weather forecasts.

Basically, they’re pretty close to worthless.

It’s simply not possible to know what the weather will be like 10 days from any given moment during any time of year. So what I’ve noticed is that meteorologists will often make it seem as if the last several days in a long range forecast will include catastrophic, maybe life-threatening climactic events that everyone needs to beware of. 

I guess that’s a way of creating interest (albeit kind of backhanded).

Now, I realize none of this stuff will affect world peace or make mosquitos less annoying, and there’s nothing here that it will help anyone survive a natural disaster. And come to think of it, it all amounts to more material for a series like this one, so I should probably be thankful rather than peeved.

My bad.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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