Things that you wish you could get away from but find everywhere

For some reason there has to be music music music EVERYWHERE now. I’m not against a little light background music with my dinner or whatever but now every time you go into a store or ride in a car or anyplace you are bombarded with music, and it seems to be getting louder and louder. We were out to dinner one night and I couldn’t even hear what the other person was saying right next to me. I asked politely if the music could be turned down a little (not OFF!) and received a terse “NO!” If you go into a “youth oriented” clothing store like “Abercombie & Fitch” or “Charlotte Reusse” (sp) it’s positively blasting. Even grocery store music is giving way to standard top 40 and it’s getting really annoying to try and shop with the usual din of kids screaming and checkers shouting for additional baggers, etc.

Try Nepal. Unless it’s changed in very recent few years, there are no fast-food or restaurant chains at all, American or otherwise. Nary a MacDonald’s in sight. But then, it used to be so in Cambodia, too, but that’s certainly changed in the past few years. (I’m still tickled by their Pizza Hot chain, a blatant rip-off of Pizza Hut, complete with similar logo.) And Laos, which I believe now at least has Starbucks. Maybe Burma?

I know Vietnam has a Gloria Jean’s Coffee, but I don’t think there’s much else in the way of chains. Will let you know in a few months when we get back from there.

Oh Lord yes! This one is mine. The Thais think of themselves as the quietest people in the world, but it just ain’t so.

Bad CGI in commercials. Especially when they make a normally inanimate object do that ultra-twee bouncing up and down motion (only the lower part doesn’t leave the ground/table) in ads aimed at people older than age four.

Come to that, ads in general. Last week I flew for the first time in over 18 months and was annoyed to see that RDU has put up big TV screens broadcasting the same few ads over and over in the baggage claim area. And I’ve seen grocery stores and gas pumps that blare commercials too. Where does it end?

Young People! God, they’re everywhere! Fouling the air with cigarette smoke! Playing rap music! Riding bicycles at night with no lights! Walking out into the street in front of traffic! Weaving in and out of traffic on motorcycles! Constantly slacking off at work! Etc!

If you’re ever in DC go to the left of the steps on the Lincoln Memorial and take the tour of the foundations. There are these great cartoons drawn on the walls by the builders.
Intrusive perfumes. Maybe it’s just because they last so long, but I sometimes feel that I’m in the Truman Show, with an obnoxious perfume-wearing producer just preceding me into every restaurant, office, hallway and even bathroom I walk into.

I see Stupid People. All the time. They’re everywhere. And they don’t even know that they’re stupid.
More seriously:

I’ve only been to three foreign countries (none of which were Canada), and seen a Dunkin’ friggin’ Donuts in two of them.

I mean, driving around the backroads of New England, a Dunkies is really a better-than-average option for a coffee fix (well, I suppose a Dunkies is the average option. But it’s acceptable is my point, unlike XXXX-brand donut shop or god-forbid a gas station).
But in a large exotic city, particularly where there’s some at least some faint culture of decent coffee and exotic sweets, Dunkin’ Donuts is like a big fat welcome to the mundane world of globocapitalism.

Send yer Dunkers over here to London, please. I think there may possibly be one or two here, but I don’t recall seeing one for a couple of years.

Oooh, yeah. On a school trip to London in the late '80s I toured St. Paul’s Cathedral, and noticed someone had carved his name into one of the columns - in 1767. That just blew my mind.

They do that regularly?! I thought it was only done by special arrangement. Damn! Another missed opportunity!

I’d like to be able to get away from American TV and movies. It wasn’t all that bad in Turkey, but here in Sweden they have a couple non-cable channels that play nothing but. With subtitles. Blurrrgh!

Ah, yes, my fellow Americans like to go to KFC, Burger King, Chili’s, Hooters, and other American chain restaurants as often as they can. For future reference when I change my location field, we’re currently in the Mexico City area.

Oh Ghod yes. I cannot STAND it when I miss all of the national news broadcast because the local weather guessers preempt it to blab on and on and on about a stupid thunderstorm. There is NO REASON FOR THIS. Use the crawl.

Holy crap. Another reason to be glad I’ve got satellite instead of cable!

Office politics. I hate, hate, hate ego stroking and having to know who to go to who actually does their job. Yet I’ve never been able to find a single job, other than when I was working entirely alone, where some amount of jockeying and stroking hasn’t been required to actually get things done.

I second the dislike for constant noise. Why the hell are people uncomfortable with silence? Does the TV have to be on every second of every day? Do you really have to fill up an hour or two with nonsense?

In the same vein, wherever I go, I seem to be surrounded by people who demand answers for rhetorical questions or responses to random comments. Example: I’m sitting on the couch reading a book. My sister looks out the window. “Wow. It sure is raining hard.” I glance out the window and make a faint sound of agreement, but otherwise don’t reply. It is, indeed, raining hard - as far as I’m concerned no further response is necessary. “Isn’t it?” she demands. “Wha?” I ask, not certain what she’s expecting. “Isn’t it raining hard?” “Um, yeah.”

I’ve encountered more and more hikers jabbering away on cell phones lately. The last time I was in Yosemite, there were three people having phone conversations on the summit of Clouds Rest.

I just get tired of noise. No matter where you are you’re going to hear planes going over, cars driving down the street, people banging, and so on. I also really wish I could get away from light pollution.

I’ve thought about, wistfully, being on a boat in the middle of some warm ocean, being able to stare at the stars and listen to nothing but water. But there would be the lights from the boat and noise from planes.

Sometimes I wish I had been born hundreds of years ago.

  1. Rap music.
  2. Women in tight pants and thong underwear, and nothing between their pants and their cellulite.
  3. Bottled water.
  4. Teenaged guys (and older) still wearing pants falling down.
  5. Women in yoga pants walking while pumping their arms to prove to themselves and the world they’re not just walking, they’re taking care of themselves, just like every cover of Self magazine.