Introducing new terminology: most hateful

September 18, 2007

We had to read this “essay” (some kind of collection of her writings, perhaps not in any order she would have intended, I’m not sure) by Sei Shonagon for creative nonfiction this week. The title of the essay is “Hateful Things,” and I loved it so much that I risked motion sickness to read it to Daniel in the car while we drove down to Miami this past weekend. See, we have a lot of hateful things in common, for instance: “A man who has nothing in particular to recommend him discusses all sorts of subjects at random as though he knew everything.” Most hateful! The essay is just priceless, and timeless, and inspiring–I started my very own list of hateful things that same day. Ms. Shonagon, whose real name was probably Kiyohara Nagiko, was a 10th century lady of the court in Japan, and would that she had lived to blog. The girl had a seriously sharp tongue and highly refined aestethics. She’s perfect for that part of you that just can’t not get annoyed when people are stupid… or something is just plain annoying. So, I find that I have adopted her term for all things detestable. Henceforth, when something is truly offensive to my sensibilities, I shall simply refer to it as “hateful” or “most hateful” or perhaps “hateful indeed” if I am in need of some variety.

Here are a few of the first things on the list:

  • One’s husband turns the car radio to AM sports radio without warning or, preferably, permission. 
  • One’s least favorite hour-long NPR program comes on at the same time as one begins an hour-long drive.
  • There is a crosswalk ten feet away, and the young woman insists on leading her aged companion across the middle of the street, thereby causing confusion and delay in traffic as well as prolonging the danger to herself and the old woman. Worse, there is a crosswalk ten feet in either direction, and still the young woman persists in jaywalking.
  • The car dealership, in addition to applying its own name in metal lettering to the back of every new car it sells, also affixes a license plate frame and a decal, as if there could still be any confusion about where the person bought the car.
  • Hummers, especially pastel-colored Hummers.
  • When, instead of queuing up like everyone else who wants to get into the left turn lane, certain cars, especially luxury SUV’s, wait until the last possible moment to get into the correct lane to turn and expect to be let in at the last minute, holding up traffic both in the turn lane and in the through-traffic lane.

Indeed, most hateful!


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