What really grinds my gears

Everyone has his or her dislikes. It could be something as simple as broccoli. Or it could be something more profound.

Everyone has his or her dislikes. It could be something as simple as broccoli. Or it could be something more profound.

My dislikes might seem idiosyncratic but, for what they are worth, here are a few. My first dislike has to do with hats being worn by men in buildings, particularly in restaurants.

This dislike probably comes from my upbringing, where hats were worn in the fields on farms and on the job in many labour-type situations. When the men came in from work, their hats were dirty, so they hung them on a hook by the door. In many cases, these were hats made for work, but in recent years, the work hats were replaced by baseball-style head coverings.

Probably we can forgive those men who wear hats in casual coffee shops and waiting rooms. However, I believe we should draw the line when it comes to elegant restaurants. A baseball cap just isn’t elegant and doesn’t fit the décor, and it’s worse if the person is dressed up and has a dirty cap on — whether frontward or backward.

Last year when we were traveling, we visited Kalispell, Mont. We had dinner in a lovely restaurant called the North Bay Grille. Seated at the next table were a young couple. The lady was dressed in a fine evening dress with a fashionable necklace, white gloves, and expensive high heels.

The guy was dressed in a black suit with an Italian silk tie, highly polished shoes, and a so-so baseball cap. The cap didn’t fit this dining room ambience. He sat at the table unaware that others were frowning and wondering why he didn’t take his hat off.

Well, he did take the hat off! When he did, he and his partner bowed their heads and said a fairly lengthy prayer.  Once the prayer ended, he popped the hat back on his noggin, and never removed it until they left just ahead of us.

Somehow he understood that prayers should be said with the head unencumbered, but that eating dinner in a first-class restaurant didn’t deserve the same respect.

Another thing I dislike is a tailgater while I’m driving. Now that could be an index of my slower driving now that I’m older, but often it has to do with the other driver’s personality. If I’m at the maximum speed for the road I’m driving on, and a person comes up to within a car length of my vehicle and stays there, something is wrong.

Usually, I pull over to the far right and let the person go. Then, I discover that just ahead, the person turns off onto another street or roadway. Or sometimes the tailgater passes and then travels slower than I was going.

Some drivers can’t stand being behind others, and some drivers simply want to drive faster than the traffic is going. Sometimes, when the traffic is busy, they’d like to ram their way right through the line of cars ahead.

Another thing I dislike is going to a dance and having the band or the canned-music person pay no attention to the audience. If it is supposed to be a dance, then the music chosen should allow people to get on the floor and stay there. I’ve been to dances where the dance band was more interested in being a show band than in us being able to dance. It’s frustrating when you’ve paid admission and the band simply wants to show off its intricacies.

I wear a hat, but not inside. I drive a car, but I don’t tailgate. I dance, but I give up early if the band doesn’t care.