Mosquitoes and Traffic Are the Worst Things in the World

The two worst things in the world are mosquitoes and being stuck in traffic.

OK, maybe not the worst things in the entire world. I'm sure some Debbie Downer out there is going to say, "Well, actually, what about war? And cancer? And aren't you forgetting about. . ." and then describe 17 more absolutely terrible things before crying about why no one spends any time with her.

Fine. Of all the minor problems in the world, mosquitoes and being stuck in traffic are the worst, so just give it a rest, Debbie.

This bit of Well, Duh came from two not-very groundbreaking studies: One is about the most frustrating parts of summer, and the other is about the top ten daily stressors of life.

The summer annoyances study was commissioned by the makers of OFF!, the mosquito repellent that never quite works the way it's supposed to. I remember many summer nights when we drenched ourselves in the smelly spray with the orange lid, and it actually attracted more mosquitoes. We even tried Deep Woods OFF!, which is just regular OFF! with wintergreen. It still didn't work, but now we smelled vaguely like a pine forest.

The daily stressors study was commissioned by Cadbury, makers of the TimeOut wafer, an Irish candy bar that looks like the result of a drunken one-night stand between a Kit Kat bar and a Twix. Cadbury launched the poll as part of their "Time to Call TimeOut" marketing campaign.

The new TimeOut wafer is a single wafer cookie covered in chocolate, which replaced the more popular two wafer cookies covered in chocolate. And if the reaction to this change is any indication, the TimeOut bar should be number one on both lists. People were decidedly unhappy about the new and "improved" TimeOut wafer, and no marketing campaign will ever convince people one wafer is better than two.

If anything, the two lists should be combined into one great big list, especially if you live here in Florida, because most of the frustrating parts of summer are any normal day for us. People who think "Ooh, Summer is, like, so hard, you guys!" have no idea what life is like here in the Sunstroke State.

For instance, on the Summer list, right after mosquitoes, comes sweating, excessive heat, and stickiness/humidity. You've just described March through October in Florida. And because it's humid all year long, no matter the temperature, sweating and stickiness are a daily gift.

Ah, Florida: I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but I left the backs of my legs on the vinyl car seat.

On the stressors list, after being stuck in traffic, we have home appliances malfunctioning, walking behind a slower person, and car trouble.

Wait, is that all? Those are daily stressors? I'm melting like the Wicked Witch of the West after a squirt gun fight, and you're upset about walking behind a slower person?

Yes, those things are all frustrating, but how often do they actually happen? Appliances malfunction all the time since most manufacturers now build their appliances to die within eight years. But I would rather deal with a wonky microwave than be sticky and sweaty 240 days a year.

When our last microwave broke down, we went without it for a year and never missed it. But I haven't had two consecutive days when I don't get the sticky-sweats whenever I take the dog out. If I thought it would give me a week of no humidity, I would malfunction my microwave with a sledgehammer.

For those of you who think you can deal with the sweating and excessive heat, you're clearly delusional. You probably live in the Upper Midwest where, while it is getting warmer each summer (thank you, climate change), you're not getting eight full months of blast furnace heat.

Number 10 on the daily stressors list is something that is not unique to Florida, but I see it every day: Being subjected to a nearby stranger's speakerphone conversation.

We've all had that happen to us. Someone who finally learned not to shout into the earpiece walks by, holding their phone horizontally, six inches from their mouth, and they shout into it like they're on a long-distance call during the Korean War.




It doesn't matter what part of the world you're in, someone is always holding a clearly private conversation without using their inside voice. And the phone's volume is turned up to 11 because they can't hear over the sound of everyone's disapproving glares.

We all have our personal pet peeves, and most of them seem to be caused by irritating people, i.e., everyone else around us: slow walkers, slow drivers, phone shouters, and inconsiderate strangers.

Except things really aren't all that bad. Things go wrong in life, and you can't spend all your time worrying about them.

But if I don't get a break from this heat soon, I'm going to lose my mind!

Photo credit: 41330 (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.