Wanderings – Out with the old annoyances…

This year is almost over. At the start of 2021, it looked to me like we’d be on our way out of this pandemic. Hope, optimism, and all that jazz. Now as my fingers tap the keyboard for this column on the day after Boxing Day, with the Greek alphabet swirling around, I find it difficult to have that sense of optimism going into 2022.

Looking at the past 12 months, there are a lot of things to be grateful for: family, my health, gainful employment, and that I save money on hair care products. All that aside, there are some things that got under my skin this year. I won’t follow the overused trope of Festivus, the made-up anti-commercial venting holiday first seen on the sitcom Seinfeld . That said, there are a few things that have annoyed me about 2021 (in no particular order).

The phrase “out of an abundance of caution” is high on my list. This saying needs to go. This government-speak saying was rolled out more times by politicians than I can count. It’s 2021. Instead of texting on their Blackberries and playing politics with science, maybe someone can Google different words to use. Doesn’t anyone at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill own a thesaurus anymore? What’s the mailing address? I’ll send a couple copies to them on my own nickel.

Another phrase that can go is “kids are resilient.” Yes, kids are resilient, but even they have stressors and breaking points. Politicians need to stop spoon feeding this bovine by-product saying when announcing decisions. Don’t sugarcoat announcements, just be straight with kids (and parents) about what is happening, and why.

Political mailings have always annoyed me, but this year it’s the worst it’s ever been. Flyers from elected politicians cluttering up my mailbox, and the recycling bin at the post office, and usually overflowing onto the floor as well. Calendars, and surveys, and political babble-speak – oh my! Such a waste of un-recyclable coated paper and postage. That money could do so many other things than clutter the mailbox. Businesses are struggling, families are struggling, all due to the pandemic. But there is nothing so comforting as a paper calendar circa 1988 delivered to the mailbox. Not that it matters much if you dislike these mailings, the politicians don’t actually pay for them, we do.

Roundabouts are yet another annoyance this year. It’s not driving in roundabouts, rather the construction of roundabouts. I used to hate roundabouts, and that traffic circle in Cornwall still throws me off. But a trip to PEI, combined with watching too many British car shows on TV has me converted to the driving benefits of that road feature. Still the construction of roundabouts at a pre-existing busy intersection is bothersome. Possible improvements to the process could be temporary signage showing people where they can drive. Or not taking 15 minutes to get a vehicle through an intersection.

Change is the last of my 2021 annoyances. When I write the word change, I don’t mean it like the word progress, such as the community is improving; or change as in personal growth. What I mean is change such as having to adjust to yet more or different conditions. Change, like wondering if your kids are going to be learning from a computer screen at home in the new year. Change, like what new mask or hazmat suit I need to wear to go get something from the hardware store.

Looking ahead to 2022, I offer no predictions, make no resolutions, and I will attempt to keep my pessimism to a minimum. That said, I hope the word we all get annoyed with is the word “normal”. As in, “look how normal things are – the pandemic is over, and all has returned to normal”. I look forward to being annoyed with that.