Wanderings – My attempts to ignore life’s little annoyances

I am easily annoyed. Call it an occupational hazard or a character enhancement – regardless, I cannot help it. I try not to be annoyed by things or people – some days are less successful than others.

Reflecting on the past few months, I think I am getting better at ignoring the bigger annoyances, but my ability to filter out life’s little annoyances still needs a lot of work.

The other day I was in the drive through getting a coffee and I saw a sign saying to donate to the charity supported by that company. I don’t have a problem donating, and I understand that employees working at these corporate establishments have to ask as it is part of their job. Still I was annoyed. This company is a multi-billion dollar operation. According to a shareholder report, its Canadian operations had revenues in the billions, a 33 per cent profit margin, and only donated $20 million to its charity that year. And I was being asked to give?

This is no different than the big five grocery chains that, despite having much lower margins, have high profits. And we’re all asked to support their charity of choice when we buy groceries?

It’s annoying to me that federal business taxes were decreased for many years to spur investment. I know investment is not donations to charities, but these companies tout their corporations’s social responsibilities as being good citizens – through asking customers to donate more while also paying more for groceries.

I’m annoyed by a recent news story that a restaurant chain was looking to implement surge pricing for its food. This is similar to ride sharing companies which charge higher prices when there is a lot of demand, and lower prices when demand is low. The company had to walk back its statements less than 24 hours later due to a public outcry. It makes sense to charge less for things when demand is low, but the company’s message came out like it was going to charge even more for food during its peak times.

Fast food restaurants, or any restaurant for that matter, are more expensive – thank you inflation. That food company botched its announcement, annoying me not only for the idea that a burger would cost more at lunch than between lunch and supper, but also that their marketing people messed up.

Government services still annoy me. A recent trip to a government office for paperwork took almost two hours, for what should have taken five minutes. Go to the first window, process the paperwork already ordered, then I was told to go to another window to pay. Only one place in this giant government office had a window to take payments. Of course, there were 10 people waiting and only one person at the desk working.

My lengthy wait for the government to take my money meant seeing an interaction between a homeless person and three police officers tasked with escorting the person out. Once I paid my fee, it was back to the first desk and window to get the paperwork I ordered. A debit machine at that desk would have sped up the process immensely.

As for the homeless person, I was annoyed not because of the police interaction or that the guy seemed to be trying to find a place to warm up, it was that the guy lacked housing to begin with. Thinking of all the government announcements I see for housing initiatives, I keep wondering when those announcements will trickle down to those who actually need the help.

A walk in the plaza where my office is should be marketed as the area’s next all-terrain climb for tourists – parkour if you will. Flat concrete sidewalks are followed by treacherous peaks, craggy rock outcroppings, and some cobblestone brick. Add in an overexuberant application of salt during snow clearing, and we could have livestock using the plaza’s “sidewalks” as a giant salt lick. It’s annoying that the plaza landlord has let it get so run down. More annoyingly, we residents are the landlords.

There may be a “gala” to honour local volunteers held. Learning this annoys me as not only is it a lot of money, it’s a waste. Ask most volunteers what they need to do what they do: it’s more money donated to their cause or a helping hand. Spending money on fancy food to celebrate people who roll their sleeves up to do work that needs to be done seems… annoying and inappropriate.

As readers can tell, I need to focus more on not letting the little things annoy me. The big things, work, school, taxes, never-ending home improvement projects – not annoying. I can deal with those things. These little annoyances, very annoying.

This column was originally published in the March 6, 2024 print edition of the Morrisburg Leader.