Life is full of little annoyances. Sometimes they are of the two-legged variety. Often they are faceless institutions, dubious policies or things that just refuse to work. Here are a few:
This Isn't the Lazy Person's Lane What bugs me is when someone parks right in front of a dry cleaner, Starbucks or, worse yet, a bank and leaves the engine running. Just too lazy to park 30 feet away in the lot. When this happens at the bank, I love to ask who has the getaway car with the engine running parked out front. -- Greg Mathieson, Centreville
How the DMV Could Thin Traffic Everyone who drives the Capital Beltway has experienced the infuriating backups caused by those who gawk at activity on the shoulders. I offer a solution: When people apply for or renew their driver's licenses, DMV employees should stand off to the side and wave shiny objects. Potential Beltway gawkers would be so distracted, they would never pass the test. Shorter commutes for the rest of us!
-- Thomas C. Campion, Bowie
A Quick Lesson in LanguageHere are five of my beefs with misuse of the English language: "12 a.m." and "12 p.m." Don't exist and can lead to confusion. It is 12 noon or12 midnight.
Use of "loan" as a verb. Saw it twice in The Washington Post over the weekend.
At "this point in time." How pretentious, when at "this time" says the same thing.
Use of the expression "pushing the envelope." I get an image of guys in gray flannel suits, down on hands and knees, neckties dragging the pavement, pushing envelopes with their noses like the potato races we had as kids. The phrase is derived from the aerospace industry, where performance was often measured in X-Y graphs. Lift vs. drag, range vs. fuel consumption, etc. The envelope was the area under the curve. In the never ending desire to improve performance engineers were pushing the edge of the envelope.
Newspaper stories that say the robber ordered the staff "lay" on the floor. Almost epidemic.
-- Gordon Loftin, Annapolis
Four Seasons Meet the Retail RemixIt's February. My son needs winter boots and snow pants. First I check Target. Nope. Swimwear and flip-flops are on display. Then, Old Navy. Nope. Same deal. Finally, I go to L.L. Bean at Tysons Corner, something I hate to do on a Saturday afternoon (Tysons in general, not L.L. Bean). Thankfully, amidst the bathing suits, shorts and warm-weather plastic clogs, there are boots and ski pants on sale. It took three stores, three hours of shopping and travel, and 57 bucks, but now my son can play in the snow.
-- Samantha Villegas, South Riding