OK, OK, I know most people are doing best-of lists for 2009 on important things, like books, movies, websites, etc. Fine, visit those sites if you are so inclined. Me, I’ll be honest, struggling screenwriter I am these days, I’ve had a bad year: one filled with great promise only to be dashed by the economy, recession, and my own sour luck. This has been a year of applications, so many that I’ve begun to care less about the outcome than the simple filling-out, which may not be such a bad thing after all.
So, in the spirit of that, I now present my biggest pet peeves of 2009:
- Internet digging. In case you are not aware, this is the practice of scouring online music sites and blogs for “rare” mp3s. The phrase is a play on crate digging, which used to mean visiting brick and mortar music stores and looking through the collection. Having an interesting music collection used to mean being an adventurer, knowing the right stores, going to shows, being in touch with the best suppliers, and getting to know what your friends were into. Whatever people say about the way we enjoy music today being the same as before the internet, the thrill of finding a unique piece of music is gone and I miss that.
- People who act concerned but really aren’t. This is an LA thing. I’ll give you an example of this one. The other day I got a long voicemail from Joe from the Writers Education Center in Santa Monica who wanted to talk about my writing career and goals. I didn’t know whether to be creeped out or miffed by this stranger, or both. So, I don’t mind people marketing their services, but please don’t make this personal. If you have an ulterior motive, however blameless, announce that and skip the other stuff.
- Memes. I don’t know why I find these things so frustrating, except to say that if I had never seen Carl Sagan singing The Cosmos I would have probably had several more brain cells. Let’s face it, a meme is like a fad except stupider.
- PDAs. Nothing has taken a bite out of my quality of life like this useless invention. So now every third second I have to check the stupid thing whether I have an email or a text message. But honestly, I don’t care. A third of my emails are mass mailings from Philadelphia theatres I have no means of getting to, another third are from my mom, and the last third are rejection letters. Let’s just say I don’t like checking my inbox several times a minute. Plus, the blackberry’s reception is terrible. I want to throw it out the window, and probably over the Christmas vacation, will.
- Acting youthful. Many Angelinos hold the misguided belief that the young are somehow better than the old. Forget wisdom, intelligence, experience, all of that stuff is stupid. What matters are six-packs and looking like Taylor Lautner. Everyone I’ve met so far acts about at least five years younger than they actually are, but guess what, this doesn’t impress me. In fact, it makes me respect them less.
- Long conversations. This one is self-explanatory and a pet peeve from way back. No one has ever solved anything by talking for fifteen minutes plus. Let me know what you have to say, say it, and then let’s go back to watching television.
- Aspartame. Used to be you could find yogurt that wasn’t low-fat or reduced calorie. Now thanks to this miracle chemical, all yogurt tastes like medicine. I would happily go back to the days when yogurt only came in big flavorless tubs courtesy of Europe. No wonder yogurt is always on sale at the grocery store; no one with any taste buds wants the stuff.
- Texting. Stop texting me. I don’t care. Really. I would rather not be wished “Merry Christmas” and have a cold humorless holiday then receive one stupid text on my cell phone.
- People Who Dislike Los Angeles. I recently read a Facebook note that pretty much read, “I like Seattle, Washington pretty much, except that it reminds me of Southern California.” I don’t understand these people who offhand hate Los Angeles. Simply put, if you really cannot find something interesting about a city with this much history, excitement, and ambition, then I don’t think we can be friends. If twenty-four million people bore you, then there is something wrong with you, not us.
- Ignorant People. With the advent of Wikipedia and Google News, there is now no excuse to be stupid. People, you have the tools right in front of you. That means, it’s your personal responsibility to know Mickey Mantle’s batting average in 1955, the spring climate of Turkey, and the year Rasputin died. Unfortunately, finding someone who simply knows when World War II ended is a harder task as years go by. Guess what, it’s all online and just as you now have the right to internet dig, so too, do you have the right not to be stupid. This also means I expect you to know what Barack Obama is up to, what’s going on at the climate conference in Copenhagen, and the up to date situation in Venezuela. If you don’t know, we can’t be friends.
Here are a few honorable mentions: Twitter, Tiger Woods, traffic, people who use their cell phones in traffic, Lady Gaga, BMWs, music blogs, spam, and rambling rejection letters.
Add your pet peeves in the comments section.