"We're Mad As Hell..."
The (near) dozen most annoying things that we’re not gonna take anymore
Illustration by Danny Hellman
We’re New Yorkers! And along with assuming the responsibility to deride everyone else’s pizza and bagels and refer to two-thirds of the country as “fly-over” states, we don’t put up with, well, crap. Yes, maybe we get a little more annoyed than our friends elsewhere in the nation, but we’ve got good reason to: we’re smart and sophisticated; they’re not. So, here are 11 things that most tick us off.
1) People who don’t turn right on red. Why we can’t stand it: Because we’re in a hurry. We’re a commuter suburb. There are nearly a million people in the county and more than 3,000 miles of road, and it doesn’t matter where we’re going—trust us, we’re late. And just because someone doesn’t have the slightly extended mental capacity to realize that there is an exception to the stop-at-a-red-light rule is no reason to make us use our horns. That thing’s primary job is scaring pigeons.
2) The director’s hall at Cinema De Lux in White Plains. Why we can’t stand it: Because we have no desire to pay almost five extra bucks for reserved seating when the theater’s half empty anyway.
3) Having all our parkways named after rivers. Why we can’t stand it: Because every time Joe Rao predicts rain, we have to wake up an hour early to avoid the in-evitable floods that will turn our parkways into canals. Yes, the concept of driving along parkways that parallel rivers seems cool…until it starts to rain. Then you might as well just take the Metro-North.
4) People who stand there at the A&P waiting for the cashier to bag their groceries, instead of bagging themselves. Why we can’t stand it: Because we’re still in a hurry. Besides, just because you have someone to watch your kids, mow your lawn, and wash your car, doesn’t mean you can’t pitch in every now and then. And the cashier is called a cashier, not a bag-ier. Make the connection.
5) People who pull up to the closest pump at the gas station (even though the one in front of it is available) when you’re behind them, so you either have to go around them and back up, or wait until they’re finished. Why we can’t stand it: Now we have to leave the gas station, go to the other entrance, and then back our car in. And Lord knows by the time we get there, someone will have beaten us to it and then we’re really going to be ticked when we have to go back to the first pump. All this for $4 a gallon?
6) The old Metro-North train cars. Why we can’t stand it: What’s so special about White Plains? Well, besides that Ritz-Carlton thing, all the trains in and out of the station there are brand-new, comfy, air-conditioned coaches, whereas those of us stuck on the New Haven line are still riding around in 1950s cattle cars with the names of poets we’ve never heard of on the side. And whatever happened to the bar car? We could tolerate sitting with our knees in our chests if it came with a Martini.
7) Rubbernecking. Why we can’t stand it: Argh! This one really gets us. We love the scenery on the Taconic and the Hutch, but we love it most at 55 miles per hour (okay, 65), and, at least if we have to sit for an hour and listen to the commercial-ridden music on K-ROCK or WCBS-FM, give us a good reason. To waste all that time and find out the accident was on the other side of the road really grinds our gears. Though we do admit that we, too, feel entitled to “take a glance” after all the time we invested waiting to get by.
8) Bars that require reservations. Why we can’t stand it: We get it: there are just so many tables at which to sit at Blue Hill, X20, and BLT, so it is necessary to call months in advance to get one. But come on—reservations required to sit at a bar? (We’re talking to you, 42.) The whole fun of going out to drink is that you don’t want to plan what’s going to happen.
9) People who refer to Westchester as “up north.” Why we can’t stand it: We’re not some Podunk set of towns in some nondescript area of the state. Hell, we have the tallest building between New York and Boston and can get into the City in less time than it takes to get to Page Six in the Post. No, we aren’t up north; if anything, the City is “down south.”
10) People who make fun of us for calling a sub sandwich a “wedge.” Why we can’t stand it: Because, all you grinder, hoagie, and zeppelin fans, our name is the only one that makes sense. The bread is cut in the shape of a wedge. Get it?
11) People who drive through snowstorms with their hazard lights on. Why we can’t stand it: Because Nor’easters are a part of life here, and, when it snows, we know it’s hazardous out there. We don’t need the distraction of both of your blinking turn signals to remind us to slow down as we go a solid 30 on 287. If you’re scared of the snow, maybe it’s time to winter in Westchester South, better known as Fort Lauderdale.
// W Dyer Halpern