Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things I Hate

Inspired by Penelope Trunk's own list of things she hates, I've decided to do my own. Here are some highlights from her three lists: She hates people who won't change, people who think their problems are unique and a lack of hate. Here's my list:

1) Settling. Life's too short to be decent.

2) Related to number 1, not liking your job. Few people in America have a real limitation in job choice. You spend at least forty hours a week at work, that's a fourth of your life. Unless this job is a stepping stone to the job you really want, quit. There are even benefits to quitting before you have another job: you're more motivated to get another one.

3) Being "too busy". We all have the same twenty four hour day. You never fail to do something because you don't have the time. It's always because it's not a priority, but that's okay. Once you come to terms with this, you'll feel less guilt and more contentment.

4) Stopping progress. Whether it's wanting to keep useless jobs (think elevator operator) or fearing change completely, preventing progress is preventing improvement. Your preferences don't trump everyone else's.

5) Saying "I have a mortgage". Like I said in #3, we all have to make choices. If you chose to own (and not everyone does), be sure it is a blessing not a curse.

6) Commenting on my blog not via my blog. Although I appreciate comments from emails, Facebook, and Google Reader, it divides the community of readers. There is a reason I don't write this in a Word document, it's you (and me a little). Trust me, all bloggers get excited when someone posts a comment. I just want everyone to hear what you have to say.

7) Stopping on escalators. When you stop walking on the escalator, you are slowing down yourself and everyone behind you. If you want a break from walking, lean against wall or find a bench. There is no reason why stopping on an escalator is different from stopping in the middle of a hallway.

8) Not taking advice. People who think they have nothing to learn from others clearly have a lot to learn from others. Whether it's about politics, economics or improvisation, no one has learned everything they can. But if you read other people's blogs, you probably already knew that.

9) Not responding to messages. Technology is supposed to connect us together. That only works if people actually use it as a reliable way to communicate. If someone emails, calls, or contacts you in any way, you have a social obligation to contact them back. No excuses (see #3).

10) Relentless positivity. I try to stay optimistic on this blog (the Internet is mean enough), but sometimes you have to be negative. For example, don't be afraid to make a list of things you hate.

11) Making an amoral issue black and white. There are wide ranges of preferences in the world, not everyone wants the same things you want, Most issues are unclear, no matter how loud you shout.

12) Hating people. The main difference between my list and Penelope's is that mine are focused on actions, not people. It's okay to hate things you see. There are a lot of terrible things in this world. It's not okay to hate people. Not to discount individual responsibility completely, but we are all a result of our environment. If there is one thing I've learned from having a wife in social work, it's that dysfunctional people come from dysfunctional homes. This doesn't excuse them, but it helps us pity them.

Anything you'd put on your list that I'm missing?


  1. I ride escalators at least eight times a day, and I know there are some people for whom climbing an escalator is a real pain - like the blind and the elderly. In fact, I think this is the whole reason escalators exist. People who ride the DC metro have solved this problem by establishing an unwritten rule that you stand on the right and climb on the left.

  2. Interesting.

    I disagree strongly with this statement: "Few people in America have a real limitation in job choice" ... and this statement: "You never fail to do something because you don't have the time." And while I agree in theory with #9, I don't agree that there are "no excuses." We're human beings (!), not machines, so forgetting / prioritizing poorly is actually a pretty relevant excuse. I get so many emails in a day, and I can't respond to all of them thoughtfully, so sometimes I don't respond at all. It isn't ideal, but it happens. I also spend most of the day on my laptop since I'm a writer, so sometimes not responding to a communication is a choice to get off my email and live my life.

    That being said, I do agree with you in theory. But can we throw a little grace in the mix? :)

    Oh, and the point of escalators is to not have to walk up the stairs. That's why they move. Am I wrong?

  3. I can vouch for Justin's comment - you will get an annoyed "Excuse me" if you stand on the left side of the escalator, especially in rush hour. It's actually a pretty efficient system.

    Another I'd add is "Trying to guilt others into donating towards or caring about a cause." There are countless problems in the world. And we each have one we feel passionate about for one reason or another. There's no need to push guilt or insults if someone doesn't have the time or resources to get involved in whatever you believe in supporting. Each of us can only invest so much time and emotional energy.

  4. Traci B.4:29 PM

    Instead of waiting to get home to tell you this, and breaking #3, #6, and #8, I'll comment and say I enjoyed this post.

  5. Great post.

    Here's what I would add.
    #13 Being overly confident in your own opinions. The more sure you are you're right, the less I want to hear about it.

  6. Patty Bynum9:25 PM

    I'm motivated to think about these topics (that I normally wouldn't think about) because of 1) Harrison's original post, and 2) the thought-provoking comments.

  7. I always assumed if there's an escalator, theirs an elevator, which is for the disabled. If not, then maybe I misunderstood what escalators are for, shorting and speeding up the walk. My experience has been that people generally do not follow that right/left rule.

  8. Lindsey: I guess whether people have job choice depends on how we define choice. Most people in America can leave the job they have and get another job. It may not be their dream job, but it will be a different one.

    The statement "You never fail to do something because you don't have the time." only means we all prioritize. If you can't make a meeting it's because there are other things you want to do, not because you literally have less time then others.

    By "no excuses" for #9 I just meant that you are wrong not to do it. That doesn't mean we don't all do things wrong. I hate the action, not the person.

    From you: "I get so many emails in a day, and I can't respond to all of them thoughtfully, so sometimes I don't respond at all. It isn't ideal, but it happens." I agree it's not ideal.
    And I understand that it happens, but that doesn't make it okay. If you know you do that a lot, respond right away and set up a future time to discuss the message. I'm not trying to condemn, I'm trying tell how much it bothers me (and I assume others).

    And don't worry, you've got grace. Thanks for your thoughts Lindsey.

    PS: Don't feel obligated to respond to this message :)

  9. Cheryl: Great one, that bothers me too. It's funny that me being annoyed by a charity spurred our most famous showdown.

  10. Traci, Erin, and Patty, thanks for the comments!

  11. Anonymous6:46 AM

    What Justin said. I ride Metro daily, the right-left system works reasonably well (breaks down some in summer when the touroids are in town). The escalator stairs are higher than on a normal staircase, and the consequences of falling are far greater than on a static stair. dave.s.

  12. Harrison - Let me second Erin, good post. Reading it a second time, I was struck by how different we are, in that most of your list doesn't really bother me. I think I can only really say that I "hate" 11 and 12.

  13. This post has come and gone already (who knows if you'll see this comment, Harrison), but I saw this on the internet. In lieu of making my own list, here's a guy with plenty of hate for all of us:

  14. Ok, I broke your rule by posting on FB...sorry.. I do enjoy your blog but am not so interested in politics or history as Mack. Keep up the good work!

  15. No worries. Thanks for reading!


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.