Thursday, October 28, 2004

Irritation: A Comparative Study

Irritation. It's an emotion we commonly experience, both when we read grammatically suspect Coasterbuzz posts and when we go about our daily lives. But what causes that unwelcome feeling to flare up the most violently? A day at a Six Flags park? Waiting in line at the supermarket? Or something else entirely? In the interest of science, ARN&R managed to coax one of its writers out of his home and persuaded him to visit several potentially obnoxious venues where he would be exposed to asinine, obnoxious, stupid, and annoying people in massive numbers. Below are his comments on each potentially irritating venue, in reverse order of how much being at each one pissed the hell out of him:

5. Metallica Concert

Fears of having every possible human bodily fluid falling, dripping or violently projecting itself upon me by other audience members were not realized. Expected to be trapped in group of moshers or between combatants in fistfight, but proved not to happen. Expected the absolute dregs of human evolution to be in attendance, but generally this was not the case at all. Only major issues: the fat lady with the greasy hair next to me who kept singing loud and out of tune and with wrong lyrics; tremendous amounts of smoking in blatant disregard for city ordinances (which would have been forgivable depending on whether the smoke had given me a contact buzz, but, disappointingly, was almost entirely of the Marlboro variety); and large groups of fans leaving for a beer or sitting down when Metallica performed Creeping Death or The Four Horsemen immediately after jumping around and screaming for anything written since the Black Album. Mildly vexing for sure, but, all things considered, a far better experience with throngs of humanity than expected. Shockingly, this venue definitely had the fewest assholes of any of those sampled.

4. Orchestra Concert

You'd think going to the symphony would give you some respite from all the jackasses running around the streets these days. But apparently my refuge and temple, my sanctuary from having to deal with the unwashed Plebeians, my place to experience works of culture, has been invaded by the barbarian hordes. During a single concert, I was assailed by not less than seven old ladies slowly crinkling and unwrapping hard candies, taking over three excruciating minutes each time; four screeching babies who should not have been allowed in the hall in the first place, should have been immediately taken outside even if the parents were rude enough to bring them in the first place, and which, incidentally, were obviously being stabbed with sewing needles by their parents in order to maintain that sort of volume and length of ear-piercing obnoxiousness; two people allowing cell phones to ring, then picking them up, and then carrying on full-voiced conversations for several minutes; as many as a dozen dickheads in our section alone talking with each other in voices loud enough to drown out the music from the stage; and a group of sixteen that came in twenty minutes late being allowed and helped by the ushers to plow past us on the way to their seats, distracting me from a particularly favorite moment in one piece. What was this, a f*cking football game?

3. Grocery Store

Eight different screaming, filthy children crashed into me at one point or another. Was checking overpriced item in aisle at same time as someone else was checking something else directly across from me. This old lady came up and saw the aisle blocked, and instead of waiting three seconds as I very obviously started to nicely move my cart out of the way, she rammed as hard as she could into my shins with her cart two or three times and didn't even claim to be sorry. Bitch. And then I got to wait in a line to pay. Of course, since it was Saturday afternoon, and everyone in the free world was here specifically to annoy me, we had exactly one cashier and no one bagging groceries. After about three hours, was driven completely insane by woman in front of me, who waited until the entire six hundred items she had were rung up before asking to pay one third with her credit card (which she was then unable to run through the reader on her first fourteen tries), one third with a check drawn from the First National Bank of East Finland, and one third with pennies that she counted out one by one. She also waited until after all of this transpired to produce forty-five coupons, requiring everything to be done all over. All I have in my house is ketchup, tap water, and a seven-year-old can of Spam, but I'll happily live off that for the next month if it means I don't have to go back to this hellhole.

2. Movie Theater

The two seats my girlfriend and I occupied for a 9PM flick were obviously the only oasis available in a desert of stupid f*cks. We probably actually were able to both view and clearly hear approximately seven minutes of the entire movie. I see that movie theaters are not the place to come if you want to see movies. However, if you'd like to yell on your cell phone, run up and down the aisles, make drug deals, throw ice and popcorn at other people, and scream at the top of your voice to your little asshole friends all over the theater, then you'd probably have fun at Showcase North Haven. Although one can get a smug sense of satisfaction knowing that one has an IQ greater than every other cretin in this dump and their parents combined, it's actually not that much fun to be the civilization amongst the savages I'm never going to the movies again. My DVD player and TV may not be all that great, but at least I won't have to pay ten of my hard-earned dollars to watch films in the presence of the great unwashed scum of the Earth.

1. Visit to Six Flags New England

Good Lord, this place was full of assholes. No wonder I had a season pass and still only came here four times the whole season. Loved the teenagers fighting with each other who crashed into me. Shoved them off and they threatened to "get their boys and come f*ck me up." Charming. Six rednecks drinking bottles of malt liquor in line for Cyclone yelled disgusting things at young women and then tried to grab their asses. Two ACE members spotted me and followed me around for three hours, not taking hints that I hated them. Actively insulted them, and they still refused to leave me alone. Eventually I tired of their stupid top ten lists and general braying like donkeys about reride policies and their coaster button collections and told them I had to take a big shit. They followed me into bathroom anyway. Naturally I did not need to take a shit, but I entered stall and began making tremendous and disgusting farting and splatting sounds on my arm, encouraging them to think I was incredibly ill. After one hour of this, they finally realized their need for twenty rides on Superman was in jeopardy and left. Every coaster ride featured both a disgustingly muddy seat where some jerk stepped on it when getting out and a girl screaming as piercingly as possible in attempt to piss off other passengers during the ride itself. Line breaking occurred exactly 654 times during the day, generally right in front of security. More teenagers spat on people riding on T-bolt below their hang-out spot on the ride's exit ramp. Smoking occurred in line exactly 436 times without comment from nearby security guards. More teenagers threw rocks from roller coaster while in motion. Security promised to "look into it." Kids splashed in mud puddles trying to soil everyone else nearby. Parents of kids laughed merrily instead of beating the shit out of them as they deserved. Single train operation on all rides increased exposure to loud, smoking, line-cutting assholes to extraordinary lengths of time. Halfway through day, told self "oh, f*ck this. I'm going home."

We have a winner. I have never been this irritated in my entire life. Not even when I see George Bush on TV.


[Editor's Note: The original posting of this story unfortunately implied that JCK's girlfriend was incredibly fat ("...the two seats my girlfriend occupied..."). The author, of course, meant to say "the two seats my girlfriend and I occupied..." The author also wishes to state, for the record, out of fear of having his ass kicked by said girlfriend, that said girlfriend actually is quite tiny and occupies approximately one third of one seat, not two full ones. We extend our thanks to an alert reader who made us aware of this error, and therefore assisted the author in averting a potential ass-whupping.]