6 Open Letters to Minor Annoyances and the People who Cause Them

On a day to day basis, I find myself squinting my eyes and glancing at the invisible “Parks and Rec” background camera in response to ridiculous things done by those around me. I am the first to admit that I am a fairly judgmental person; it’s a problem I routinely work to stop, but have little success in halting. While this small personality flaw likely acts as its own small annoyance to those around me, it has also provided some rather amusing silent conversations with myself. So I present a few of these internal dialogues in hope that maybe, just maybe, they’ll amuse you, too.

1. To the Brad Pitt lookalike at the coffee place.

Dear Brad Pitt Lookalike:

I understand that your Brad Pittishness has likely endowed you with some small sense of entitlement. I’ll concede that your little pony tail and aviators do make you look as moderately important as a guy with a canvas satchel can look when he’s at a coffee shop in the middle of Reno during a week day. If this was all you were guilty of, Brad Pitt Lookalike, we would not have a problem. I would have likely registered with a small note of approval how you resembled the celebrity, and continued sipping my coffee without interruption.

But this is not all you did, BPL. On the contrary, it appears that your ego has gotten the better of you and you feel that you need to take up as much space as is humanly possible. This, BPL, is where we have a problem.

Let me tell you something, BPL: there are few things I am better at than getting sunburned. I’ve burned after spending less than ten minutes outside. I’ve gotten sunburned when it is cloudy, when it is raining. I’ve burned through prescription strength sunscreen that dermatologists give almost exclusively to melanoma patients. Yep. I’m that good. That being said, BPL, I’m sure that you can see where this is going: your deep need to take up not one, but two tables in the shade (one for you, one for your satchel and coffee) was incredibly bothersome. I could feel my shoulders burning, but I thought “no, Brad Pitt Lookalike wouldn’t really keep taking up both of those tables. I’m sure he’ll notice that there are no other shady spots open, that there are elderly people and a very, very pale girl staring at him as though willing him to move the hell out of the way.” But, no, BPL. That isn’t what you did. You continued to talk idly on your iPhone as my elderly comrades and I, united in our need for those coveted shady chairs, sat perspiring gently in the desert heat.

Dammit, BPL, you really did it. And tonight, as I smear aloe and black tea all over my shoulders and wonder why the hell you did not at least have the decency (as I did) to surrender one of those spots to the cute old couple sharing the scone. I will think of you, BPL. I will think of you with enmity.


2. To those who feel that penile drawings are the most effective form of art. 

Dear people who feel the need to draw male genitalia on every possible surface:

I get it. I probably get it more than you do. I understand your deep, subconscious need to claim territory by virtue of the fact that you have a penis and in your mind that is magical and special and grand. I get you were slightly tired and more than slightly intoxicated and wanted to do something that would amuse you in under 15 seconds.

What I don’t understand is why you insist upon greeting everyone  with the undeniable fact that you have the maturity and artistic integrity of a four year old. I have compiled a list of alternatives that you may find more suitable and would, perhaps, allow me to rethink my current assertion that I would be and have been more intellectually simulated by a bagel.

  • Draw a vagina in lieu of your traditional subject. I would appreciate the irony, and, let’s be honest, transcending typical stereotypes is way better than telling the world that your personality is indicated exclusively by your drawing subject.
  • Have some artistic integrity. If you can successfully draw a photo-realistic version of a penis on my white board, I would celebrate what is clearly a budding artistic talent. I would also accept a cubist version, an expressionist version, or a version modeled after the Sistine Chapel. If you are incapable of successfully executing any of these, please don’t quit your current form of employment in an effort to become a revered artist.
  • Read some Freud. There’s nothing like realizing the fact that an insane bearded Austrian man would have thought you the poster child of the Oedipal Complex. On a similar note, build a time machine and travel back to his hey day, in which you would be hailed a psychologically fascinating phenomenon.
  • Reflect on the societal pressures that have lead you to feel that your gender is the best means for you to gain property and ownership of meaningless things like white boards, laundry rooms, and the dust on peoples dirty cars.
    And lastly:
  • Just don’t draw dicks. Seriously, stop being a tool.


3. To the guy behind me in the grocery store laughing at my ice cream purchase.

Dear Ice Cream Shamer:

Look: I know I look a little ridiculous right now. I’m carrying four pints of Ben and Jerry’s and am wearing my red sparkly slippers. I am aware of the fact that on a scale of 1 to “Frequently Featured on People of Walmart,” I am a solid 8.5. However, why, exactly, do you feel that you are so deeply wise and important that you are allowed to voice your opinion about how I’m spending my evening? If I want to spend my weekend laying in bed with my main men (Ben and Jerry, of course) watching Legally Blonde and playing 2048, why is that any of your business? After all, if there is one thing in America that is 100% my prerogative, it is my blood sugar level. If I want to eat myself into diabetes, that’s entirely my choice.

Asking me if I plan to eat all of it by myself or if it’s “my time of the month” is not only incredibly obnoxious, but none of your goddamn business. So you go ahead, Ice Cream Shamer, and buy your 6-pack of summer shandy and your pack of Power Bars and your bag of baby carrots. While you’re feeling like a responsible, healthy adult, I’ll be sitting down to a freaking amazing night of Half Baked and Elle Woods. And really, who’s the winner here?

By the way, I ate them all in three days. And they were delicious.



P.S. Here’s what my weekend looked like. Hope you had fun at the gym.


4. To the woman at Home Depot questioning my being in the store in the first place.

Dear Home Depot Lady,

I know I look out of place here. I’m a small blonde college student who perpetually has a look of utter confusion on her face. But don’t let my lack of stereotypically “masculine” traits fool you: I can negotiate a home improvement store like nobody’s business.

Let me give you some history: I essentially grew up on a job site. My dad taught me how to walk on floor joists as soon as my legs were long enough to reach across. I can identify types of saws based on how they sound, and am soothed by the smell of fresh plaster and paint. So when I go to Home Depot to steal pretty colored paint chips and buy some screw drivers, I know what I’m doing.

Asking me if “maybe I should have brought my boyfriend along” as I consider my various paint brush options might seem like a charming little tidbit of matronly advice to you, but to me it’s just obnoxious. Why does the fact that I have boobs and am wearing a sundress mean that I am unable to successfully and independently decide between a 9 x 3/8 in. and a 9 x 1/2 in. paint roller? Just because my screw driver set is shaped like a narwhal doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use it. Smiling knowingly and saying that “it’s so hard for us girls to understand stuff like this” doesn’t make me feel warm or fuzzy. It just frustrates me. I have a vagina and I am capable of putting up a shelf without help from any male relatives or significant others! I can build my Ikea furniture all by myself! Crazy, right?

I am a strong and independent woman, dammit, and I can shop in a home improvement with dignity, class, and extensive tool knowledge. All while wearing a dress.

In case you were wondering, I went with the 9 x 1/2 in. roller. And some plastic lawn flamingos. Their names are Julian and Joaquin.


5. To the guy on the DC Metro who asked me about weed.

Dear Stoner Guy,

I’m not sure why you sought me out; why you purposefully moved seats on the decidedly uncrowded Metro car in order to sit next to me. I was just coming home from work. I promise, I didn’t want to talk to you.

Stoner guy, I saw the Holocaust Museum pamphlets in your hand, the Passport you were given that told the story of one of the millions of men, women, and children who were funneled through concentration camps during the Second World War. I understand that the museum is a very emotionally distressing experience. I know it can be hard to cope with all of that information and all of the anger and sadness you can feel after learning about the atrocities committed in these camps. But I promise, asking me about the best place to smoke a joint probably isn’t the best way to deal with these feelings.

No, Stoner Guy, I don’t know whether or not Rock Creek Park is a good place to smoke a joint without getting caught. I understand how my highly visible Capitol Hill Intern badge could make you feel that way, but I assure you that I have absolutely no idea whether or not you’d get caught if you decided to light up there.

Additionally, Stoner Guy, I can tell you probably aren’t from around here. Asking a random person on a Metro train just before rush hour about drugs probably isn’t a great call (have you heard of the DEA?). I hope you were able to quell your emotional distress somehow, and I hope that you didn’t get caught smoking your joint.


Maybe you could try personal reflection instead, Stoner Guy. Just a suggestion.

6. To the people on Facebook who cannot form a coherent sentence.

Dear Grammar Novices,

I must say, there are few things that bother me quite as much as when your statuses, misspelled and gramatically incorrect until they resemble gibberish, grace my news feed, my first response is deep, visceral hatred. Most of you have graduated high school. Most of you are over the age of 16 and have taken at least one English class, and yet you seem to be woefully ignorant of how to successfully write a sentence. Even the shortest, most simplistic sentences are butchered under your watch. “Il meet you their.” “U left you’re  phone at my hose.” “Your so dum.” All of these things twist my stomach and force my brain to retreat in terror.

Sure, some of it can be attributed to autocorrect. I, too, have been bested by its cruelty. But these are more than just occasional mistakes. None of us are perfect, no matter how committed we are to being as gramatically correct as is humanly possible. But when I am unable to decipher anything you post, be it a funny cat story or intensely important personal narrative, it simultaneously disgusts and saddens me.

I want to remain Internet friends with you, I really do. I enjoy being updated about the various goings on in your life, from your family vacation to Canada to your truly unfortunate break up; these small, trivial pieces of information are, for me, rather intriguing. But for the love of all that is good in this world, please learn how to write sentences. Even paragraphs, if you can manage them. The Internet has all the information you need, so long as you don’t rely on your fellow Facebook friends to teach you.

Love and Luck,


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