This will be the last of the pet peeve collections I've been sharing all summer, and it will include a provocative question I'll put to you about etiquette regarding hats.
But I want to begin with a twist that I hope will result in something good.
I could stretch this to fit it into my topic, since it may have to do with forgetfulness, one of my pet peeves about myself. But I decided not to bother. I'll just share part of an email I received from Kim Hitchings of Lehigh Valley Hospital. She hopes my column could reunite someone with an item that's very important to them.
"As you may be aware, the annual LVH-Muhlenberg Summer Festival was held [recently]. One of the attractions at the festival is the Attic Treasures tent. This flea market-type fundraiser is coordinated by the LVHN Professional Nursing Excellence Council's Community Outreach Workgroup. All money earned is donated to the hospital.
"This year, while we were unpacking items, a wedding band was discovered in an envelope within one of the stored boxes. I sent an email to all LVHN staff, inquiring if the ring belonged to someone and if they desired it to be returned. To date I have received no response.
"So, I am asking your help to find the rightful owner, as I am very doubtful the ring was intended to be donated to Attic Treasures. Perhaps it would be something you may wish to mention within your column [although I realize we are a long way from Valentine's Day and your annual LOOOOOOOVE Connection column!].
"The ring is engraved inside with the following: J.O.E. to G.F.B. 5-12-62. (It is hard to read the engraving, but this is what it appears to be – the O may be a D.)"
If you have lost this ring or can just put the mystery to rest by reporting that you really did intend to donate it, please contact me. If there's an interesting story behind this, I'll be sure to pass it along.
OK, on to what some readers perceive as obnoxious behavior. I particularly liked the first one, because it's something that increasingly gives me pause as a guy who wears baseball caps almost everywhere when I'm not working.
More and more people wear their caps in restaurants, bars, etc., but I was taught always to remove my hat inside. Considering the state of my hair loss, and the likelihood of hat hair for what is remaining, I'd love to leave the hat on, particularly since so many other guys have hats on anyway. Are there any arbiters of good manners out there who can weigh in on whether this still is considered disrespectful?
OK, here's the last batch of your peeves. This all started in response to one my blog posts months ago about 10 behaviors I find obnoxious. If there are quote marks, it means I'm using the reader's words.
• "Guys wearing their hats while eating in a restaurant. Greasy rims, tattered peaks, paint spots, uggg! My dad was as rough and tough blue collar man as I ever knew and always wore caps, hats, etc. but he always took them off when entering the house, and especially when eating. On special occasions when he wore his Stetson and tipped it to the elderly and the ladies. But that was years ago."
• "Going to Musikfest reminded me of one of my pet peeves: People who stop smack in the center of a crowded area to chat with a group of friends."
• "The grocery store clerk licking her fingers to open the bag she's about to put your food in. I don't want her saliva all over my food."
• "Pop-up boxes [and subtitles] with text that is too small or has poor contrast and/or is on the screen too briefly."
• "When you are checking out at a store and the cashier does something that annoys you, tell him/her. This gives the cashier the chance to explain what they have done and apologize. When you wait until you get home and then call, all you do is cause trouble for the cashier, and the cashier never gets the chance to explain or apologize."
• "People who insert the phrase 'I mean' repeatedly in their conversation. Also, TV newscasters who preface every statement with the word 'now,' WFMZ in particular."
• "People who just talk and talk and don't know how to end a conversation, so you either pretend you have to walk away or end it for them."
• "When the same music is used for unrelated products/services."
• " 'Lawn professionals' who use line trimmers to massacre the grass along sidewalks. There are trimmers made to properly edge the sidewalk; you would think they might invest in one for the prices they charge."
• "Hair-splitting over 'separation of church and state.' I get so tired of people yelling 'unconstitutional' when it's only the POWERS of church and state that are to be kept separate!'
• "Contractors who lie about the expertise they do not have."
• "People who call me on the phone, and then say 'ummm, ummmm' — making it clear that they are distracted [probably reading texts from others] so that they can't focus on why they called ME."
Bill White's commentary appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.