As usual, occupying the number one spot--public restrooms. I'm still amazed--or maybe that should be dismayed--by how filthy people can be when they don't have to clean up their own mess. Real pigs, most of them. Scratch that last part. Pigs are cleaner.
At number two, we have booth hogs. What are booth hogs? you ask. They can be found in their natural habitat, any fast food restaurant, at the busiest times of the day. They're easy to spot--one person in each of the largest booths, reading their newspapers or working on their laptops, while parties of four and five people are forced to crowd around the smaller tables and booths. Memo to restaurant managers: Do something, for crying out loud! Years ago, I heard a McDonalds manager tell a man he'd have to surrender the booth in which he was working on his photo portfolio when the lunch rush started. That's just fair. Restaurants lose business if their customers can't find a place to sit.
Number three is a four-way tie: annoying TV ads. The winners are:
1. A local used car dealer with multiple locations and (apparently) money to spend. They buy five-minute blocks of time to push their vehicles. Judging by the reviews on their Facebook page, they don't have too many happy customers. And the guy who does the sales pitch in those TV ads has to be the owner. No business would hire somebody with that monotone to do their ads. He could prove to be our country's new secret weapon. Put him on the air for hours at a time and he'll put an entire nation to sleep simultaneously.
2. The furniture store ads featuring a woman rolling around on a chaise lounge, repeating the word "chaise" over and over in a voice that sounds like she's doing phone sex. Watching this one brings me closer to God. I always say a prayer of thanks for the mute button on my remote control!
3. I'm also grateful that someone must have convinced the "Granite Daddy" that sleazy is NOT the way to go to get people to spend a lot of money on granite countertops. "Who's your Granite Daddy?" Seriously? Who writes this crap, anyway?
4. Last but not least, the nationwide carpet cleaning company that features the CEO and his wife in some of their ads. I used to think the ads were perfectly understated and genuine--until the wife seemed to disappear, replaced by a woman who, at first glance, looked much younger, with long, blonde hair and trendier clothes. Did ol' Phil trade the wife in for a younger model? Nope. Business must have been good to pay for all that upgrade work the sixtysomething wife had done. After everyone had already seen her on TV, it was a little late to try to convince us she's a thirtysomething.That ship had already sailed, hit the iceberg and sunk!
In the number four position: spammers and trolls. Is an explanation really needed here? Sadly, morons will never be an endangered species. For the record, idiots, I don't care what Nigerian royal family you belong to, I'm not sending you money! (Does anybody really fall for this BS?)
As for trolls, they only do what they do because they can spew their hate while hiding behind their computers, tablets and smartphones. Face to face, most of them would keep their mouths shut--and those who didn't would be knocked on their butts. This is one of the reasons I left Goodreads. The Goodreads Bullies are well known, and while I never had any problems with them, I figured it was just a matter of time before somebody took a shot in my direction. I don't have the time or the patience to deal with that sort of juvenile behavior and would probably have said something that would have gotten me permanently banned from the site. Call my departure a preemptive strike.
Number five: my neighbors. I was in favor of immigration reform until I got acquainted (sort of) with the people next door and their kids. The kids have no regard for anyone else and don't respect the rules of the apartment complex. In short, they're a nuisance. But then, I'm guessing they don't have the best role models in parents who entered this country illegally. Obeying the law obviously isn't high on their list of priorities.
Number six is a longtime peeve: traditional publishing. Every time I hear a horror story from an author who's been screwed over by his or her publisher, I'm more convinced than ever that self-publishing is the way to go. Years ago, when my agent and I parted company and I was talking with other agents, I got myself into a bind with an agent of dubious character. I should have known better, but I was in a bad place at the time (long story, one I'll save for my memoir). I was rescued--literally--by a group of writers I only knew online. I promised myself then that I would do the same for any writer who needs help.
Traditional publishing would do well to remember that they can't survive without writers, but we can survive--and thrive--without them. *raspberry*
Number seven: soap operas. Where do I start? Recycled plotlines...revolving door actors...making one female character the object of every man's lust (Brooke Logan of The Bold and the Beautiful, I'm looking at you! You're a grandma, stop behaving like you're still a hot young babe! When they did the rape storyline I was scratching my head and thinking, "She actually said no to someone?")
Number eight: pro-wrestling. See number seven--I think they use the same writers. And they spend more time on wrestlers and their loudmouthed managers with microphones in their hands than they do in the ring actually wrestling. What's wrong with that picture?
Number nine: Stephen Colbert. I used to be a fan until he got involved in the Amazon-Hachette dispute. Then I lost respect for him. The man is rich, and about to get even richer as Letterman's replacement, yet he was urging everyone to boycott Amazon when he felt the dispute was costing him money. Nevermind that Amazon is the only source of income for a lot of self-published authors. It was all about him. *raspberry for you, Colbert!*
Number ten: I actually don't have a number ten this year. Is this a good thing? Oh, I hope so!