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The Art of Understatement

[whitespace] The increasingly crowded, expensive and infrastructure-challenged Bay Area can be a pressure cooker. Luckily the letters pages of metropolitan dailies provide a safety valve, accommodating residents who want to vent steam publicly. Some examples from the past year:

Maria Hawkey of Hayward found it "annoying" that a BART attendant was reading a book on the public payroll when she went to report that her car had been stolen from the park-and-ride lot. We would have to agree.

Arts lover Jeffrey S. Faellaci called the San Francisco Opera's ad campaign (Mom kills Dad. Son kills Mom. Daughter thrilled.) "just another annoying example of the dumbing down by fine arts marketing people in a lame attempt to be relevant and make them accessible to the masses."

San Franciscan Don Stevens, in a rant about people who get their panties all in a bunch over things like streetside dog feces and whining kids in restaurants, observed that "life can be exasperatingly annoying" while boasting, "I'm never going to have an ulcer, because I know life is a crapshoot." Nonetheless, he did seem mildly annoyed with "people who see every annoyance as a cause to flusterate." As if.

Napa resident Joyce H. Abbott joined a chorus of letter writers in chastising rude San Francisco Symphony audiences. "Particularly annoying was the fact that concertgoers would come and go during the performance."

Julie Wilder of Ross found KGO's Laura Schlessinger not only crude and crass but "very annoying" for using terms like "slut" and "do him" on the air.

Theater patron Clyde Sennerton of Hayward Highlands wrote in about panhandlers who "walk with us uninvited and ask us annoying and personal questions." Perhaps someone found it somewhat bothersome that he thought to add cachet to his city of residence by adding "Highlands" as a suffix.

San Franciscan Victoria Ahrens wrote in to complain about "people who say 'you know' after every word," concluding, "I find it annoying."

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From the January 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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