Life's Little Annoyances
Ian Urbina
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Buy *Life's Little Annoyances: True Tales of People Who Just Can't Take It Anymore* by Ian Urbina online

Life's Little Annoyances: True Tales of People Who Just Can't Take It Anymore
Ian Urbina
Times Books
208 pages
October 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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What is it about life’s little annoyances that can really drive a person over the edge? Do you ever get the urge to get even over petty situations? If so, you will find some secret joy in the stories of Life's Little Annoyances.

Ian Urbina was spending his weeks in New York, working for the New York Times and living in a cheap “closet”, a three-story walk-up shared by two other women and one of their boyfriends while his family resided in Washington D.C. With most days not ending until nine in the evening, Ian looked forward to his nightly ritual of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Now, many problems arise with so many people in such cramped quarters. “But when the ice cream started disappearing, we had big problems!” Hiding the container under ice cube trays and writing his name across it didn’t seem to work. In fact, the perpetrator seemed to be getting even more aggressive. One morning, all that was left was a single spoonful in the bottom of an empty pint. Ian began to stay up at night silently plotting revenge, but also realizing there was no room for deep friction in such tight living quarters. When it was time for him to move out, the ultimate plot revealed itself.

“Salt. Crystalline and white, it would camouflage beautifully with Cookies and Cream. Natural and edible, it would also avoid sickness, not to mention a lawsuit, if unwittingly consumed. It was perfect. Just the idea was cathartic. And harboring it for several days, I found a restored pep in my stride on my daily walk home as I flirted with the decision of whether tonight was the night.”
The perpetrator soon revealed herself in a tirade of anger through an email sent to Ian indicating her offense at the passive aggression of his actions and providing a lame, self-righteous excuse for her actions. Intrigued by her use of “passive-aggressive,” Ian began discussing similar experiences with friends – “sometimes dealing with roommates or neighbors, but most often dealing with larger and faceless adversaries.” He soon realized that “passive aggression is actually the vehicle for a noteworthy array of scrappy ingenuity…The stories people offered on the topic were enough to fill a book. And they did.”

Life's Little Annoyances is a collection of stories, sorted into chapters with themes such as Going Postal, Press “1” for Aggravation, and Bills, Banks and Bile. Each story describes a situation where a pet peeve has driven a person to react, sometimes quite elaborately. While many of us dream of the perfect revenge to such petty behavior, few follow through. If you are one of the timid, take heart in the stories of the brave and ingenious who take revenge on those who are behind “life’s little annoyances.” And for those who create these petty moments of distress, be forewarned, there are those out there who are unafraid to take action!

Life's Little Annoyances is pure entertainment, a short and endearing read that provides that much-needed life break - especially after those days when you’ve encountered one of many possible little annoyances.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Regan Windsor, 2007

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