The ever-present irritants in our lives

The ever-present irritants in our lives
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Highlights

Life throws up many irritants, big and small, from time to time. How we react to these largely determines whether they make our lives miserable or not.

Life throws up many irritants, big and small, from time to time. How we react to these largely determines whether they make our lives miserable or not.

Taking a light-hearted and practical view does help to 'defuse' these annoyances to some extent.

Quite vexing is the guy who practices his digital drumming skills on the back of your seat in a cinema theatre or, worse, the one who inconsiderately stretches out his trotters to tap your back-rest rhythmically to the accompaniment of the music.

Ignoring these irritants may embolden him to continue. But sometimes I seriously wonder whether I should move to the seat behind him and repay the compliment!

Then there's the bumpkin who startles you by sneezing explosively and repeatedly, his mouth uncovered.

Next he blows his nose like a foghorn and coolly wipes his soiled fingers on the seat he's sharing with you in the park.

All you can do is to discreetly distance yourself, hoping that the countless cold-bearing viruses he's released don't target you.

Sometimes neighbours clandestinely toss their garbage into one's compound. Or they thoughtlessly turn up the volume of their stereos just when one is turning in for the night.

One ends up lying in bed willy-nilly sniffing their rubbish or listening to some outlandish sounds that pass for music.

They usually get away with it only because of one's reluctance to alienate people who, as neighbours, could potentially be of use to one sooner or later, especially if one's a senior citizen.

Then what does one do when a fraternity of stray dogs unanimously decides that there's no better place in town to dine alfresco than one's front yard?

Much to one's indignation, they diligently converge there with all the scraps of food they pick up, turning the yard into a canine 'mess' of sorts – a most disorderly and unsightly one at that.

Even the most ardent dog-lovers will be tempted, at times, to give these trespassers their just post-meal dessert or rather deserts!

Another vexation is the queue-jumper who brazenly assumes that 'queuers' have all the time in the world on their hands while he hasn't.

So, with an ingratiating grin, he sidles in ahead of a conniving buddy, much to the annoyance of the others. My elderly father, a no-nonsense type, once found himself in a long queue at a bank when a brash youngster jumped in ahead of him.

With the tacit approval of the others, Dad strode up to him, hooked the curved handle of his umbrella round the guy's neck and good humouredly but firmly hauled him back to the end of the queue.

The man didn't utter a whimper of protest, taking his 'demotion' in the right spirit.

Sometimes, instead of grinning and bearing irritants stoically, all that's required is to be proactive.

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