There are a number of things that annoy me and if making a list wouldn’t annoy me I might take time to consider it all.
Ninja Man is one of the least aggravated people I know. He doesn’t notice most annoying behaviors of friends, family members and strangers that I immediately zero in on. It was for this reason I was very surprised when he asked me to stop tapping.
“Huh?” I asked, mid drum. “You’re tapping,” he said, “on the steering wheel. It’s a bit annoying.”
I glanced from the traffic light to my hands and realized I was indeed tapping like crazy. In my defense I am a direct descendent of the World’s Best Steering Wheel Tapper. My mom couldn’t navigate her land yacht without tapping. Tap, tap, tappity, tap, tap. That was mom’s inner song, and experiencing it was a prerequisite of riding in her car.
Little did I know I would inherit that trait and I’m certain that in the 36 years we have been married that was the only time Ninja Man mentioned being annoyed by something I was doing. Of course, it was almost immediately after he was fitted with hearing aids.
If I were to make a list of things that annoy me I would have to include wonky shopping cart wheels. I was in Walmart near my home recently and noticed there were only a few buggies to chose from. I knew without even giving them a test drive that they were rejects. The problem was I had to purchase a few items that were heavy, so I really needed a cart.
I selected one of the three scattered about just inside the main doors. Woppa woppa woppa. Oh dear. There was no way I could push that rattling thing through the store.
I shoved it to the side and reached for buggy number two.
Woppawoppa woppawoppa. Though I wasn’t sure it was possible, this one was worse.
I glanced over and quickly eliminated buggy number three as it was missing a wheel entirely.
It was then I began mentally subtracting things from my list that could be purchased somewhere – anywhere else – that had “good” shopping carts. I had no other choice but to buy a few things there so I selected them from the store shelves and carried them in my arms.
Shoppers with buggies passed me in the aisles. Woppa woppa woppa. As soon as one passed by, another would announce its approach. Woppawoppa woppa. Woppa. I was getting antsy and my annoyance tolerance was thinning.
Hugging a few packages of the sheer panel curtains I had marked from my list, I approached a store manager. I explained to him that I had to know what the protocol was for Walmart wheel repair. Did the wheel guy retire? Did he die? Did he get a better job? Where, oh where was he? I assured the manager that we could not go on without him and they needed to find him and bring him back – stat.
“It’s a corporate thing, and they won’t have them repaired,” he explained as five shoppers wheeled their buggies past us. Woppa woppa woppawoppa woppa woppa woppawoppa woppa. Every single buggy sang the same annoying tune. Between the purchases I was hugging in my arms and the fact that these carts were reproducing like wildfire, I knew I had to end this shopping trip. “I. Have. To. Leave. Now,” I said, thanking him for his time. I headed down the cards and stationary aisle.
I’m pretty sure I had broken into a sweat by the time I finally found an open checkout lane. Like zombies, a few of the near-dead buggies were following me so I veered over to the self-checkout lane. I scanned and bagged my purchase as fast as I could and nearly ran to my car.
I started the engine and sat back, closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. It would be at the first red light that I’d realize I was back to myself again, drumming out mom’s inner song on the steering wheel.
And funny, but it didn’t annoy me one bit.
Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to The Newnan Times-Herald, and author of “Gardens of Savannah.” Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .