The Washington Post

Griping about restaurants, parking meters and colloquialisms — oh, my!


You will recall that in “Ghostbusters 2,” an underground river of ectoplasmic slime threatens the good people of New York City. Or make that the bad people of New York City. Their grumpy attitudes and foul moods feed the supernatural slime.

Of course, we’re much happier here in Washington. But we still get irritated, as this third and final installment of reader pet peeves illustrates.

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

John A. Miller of Manassas hates seeing pizza/gyro miscegenation — that is, restaurants that sell both types of food.

“I am from Long Island and New York City and that is like a sin to sell Greek and Italian food in the same place,” John wrote. “On Long Island, pizza places will never sell a gyro and a Greek place will never sell pizza. That is just a no-no, but here they do it like it’s from the same area.”

Speaking of diners, my old Post colleague Gerald Martineau hates when restaurants and cafeterias “jam the napkin holders so tightly filled with napkins that you can’t get a napkin out without tearing it to shreds.”

(On a related note: Has anyone ever removed the first tissue from a box of Kleenex without reducing it to tatters?)

Springfield’s Tom Watson hates how so many professional athletes have replaced the annoying word “like” with the words “I mean,” as in “I mean, we played as a team; I mean, we gave 100 percent; I mean, we really didn’t want to lose.”

Tom said he wonders if they really know what they mean.

Bob Friedman of South Riding hates the seemingly obligatory use of “now” by TV news reporters to preface what seems like almost every narrative: “Now, Brian, we’re here in Los Angeles at the scene of yet another reporter’s needless use of the verbal crutch ‘now’ to introduce their story.”

(If I may add my own peeve: I can’t stand nodding TV reporters: As the studio anchor introduces the reporter doing the live shot in the field, the reporter nods her head like one of those dashboard dogs.)

Barbara Martin of Cabin John is no fan of “you guys” when it’s directed at a group that includes females.

“Women are not ‘guys,’ ” she wrote. “Instead, try ‘you folks’ or ‘you all’ (for Southerners) or how about, just ‘you’?”

The District’s Vance Garnett hates how so many restaurant servers respond to every request throughout the meal with, “No problem”:

May I please have some cream for my coffee?

No problem.

Vance said he feels like saying: “That’s great — especially since you were hired to bring people food and drinks; I’m so glad that won’t be a problem for you.”

Alexandria’s Cornelia Sheahan doesn’t like it when a restaurant’s staff breaks into “Happy Birthday” for a customer. “Insipid song, badly presented, noisy and intrusive to other diners,” she wrote. “Another expansion of private business into semi-public space.”

Silver Spring’s Michael Hoyt hates pulling up at a parking meter only to discover that it is broken and illegal to park at a broken meter. “Either fix the meter or let me park for free,” he wrote.”

Nick Wineriter of Rockville grits his teeth whenever he sees one of those “My kid is an honor student” bumper stickers. ”When I was that age, I would rather have had a ten-spot for a good report card,” he wrote. “What’s next: ‘My French poodle graduated with honors from obedience school’?”

Silver Spring’s Andrew Delfino said he hates it when his “normal-named peers” give their children unusual names such as Philo, Elben or Zuzu. “Those children are going to be teased throughout their childhoods and then spend their entire lives correcting people about how to spell or say their names,” he wrote.

Hey, I watched a guy spell my name “Jhon” the other day.

Send a Kid to Camp

And so ends the gripefest. You know what would put everyone in a better mood? A summer tomato salad at any Clyde’s or the Old Ebbitt Grill. Go there today and order it (local tomatoes, Greek feta cheese, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper), and the proceeds will benefit Camp Moss Hollow.

Or make a tax-deductible gift by going to Click where it says “Give Now,” and designate “Send a Kid to Camp” in the gift information. Or mail a check payable to “Send a Kid to Camp” to Send a Kid to Camp, P.O. Box 96237, Washington, D.C. 20090-6237.

Thank you.


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