If you live in a major American city, you know firsthand how daily life isn’t exactly the luxurious and glitzy dream depicted in Hollywood movies. (If only we ate at Michelin-starred restaurants and skated in the park every night!) In truth, city life is filled with frustrations, from the throngs of tourists who clog the sidewalks to the unreliable subways that drive us crazy. So if you’re thinking of making the move sometime soon, it’d be helpful to read following list closely. That’s right: Here are the 30 most annoying and utterly maddening aspects of city life. And when you want to know how the rest of America complains, check out the 30 Things That Always Annoy People in Small Towns.
Nothing drives a city dweller crazier—and faster—than being in a hurry to an important meeting and getting stuck behind a slow-walker who is also managing to block the whole of the sidewalk. Move aside, pal! Or, better yet, take your casual constitutional to a park!
Yes, manspreading occurs when a man—or sometimes a woman—sits with his legs so far apart that he effectively takes up several seats in a public space.
Fact: You’ve never experienced rage until you’ve seen a manspreader on the subway after a long day at work and you’re staring down a 45-minute trip. And for more on new slang, check out 40 Everyday Slang Words That Were Invented Online.
If you lived in New York in the early aughts, the subway was dependable. Since then, there’s been a dramatic deterioration. According to mismanagement and poor maintenance, trains are traveling upwards of 20 mph less than they used to, and the system is plagued with bottlenecks all over the place. It ensures that every working professional’s day begins and ends on an angry note. MSNBC host Chris Hayes spoke for all residents of the Big Apple when he tweeted in February: “FIX THE SUBWAYS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.”
Cities are flooded with do-gooders on sidewalks who try to draw you in to help with their cause, whether it’s signing a petition or donating money. Though admirable, they can be annoying, especially when they blind-side you with their canned earnestness at a moment when you’re stressed and on-the-go. (Common opening salvo: “You look like a guy who wants to save the planet!”)
When you’re stuck in a crowded, seemingly endless commute, nothing is more annoying than someone wearing a backpack that takes up the space filled by an average human. If you’re got a big packpack on, the polite thing to do is to take it off and put it down on the (admittedly filthy) floor. Or better yet, you and the manspreader can go halfsies on a cab.
When you’re a woman living in a big city, it seems like you can’t go a full day without having a man whistle at you, hiss, or say something crude about your body parts. The worst is when they tell you to “smile,” as though you are here for their benefit and not a living, breathing human who might have had a long day. You definitely never want to be one of these people, and while you’re at it, you might want to avoid using the 20 Words That Always Make Women Cringe.
In New York, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,090, which means that even people who make decent salaries can no longer afford to live alone. Most New Yorkers spend a staggering two-thirds of their paycheck on rent, and many other big cities are just as exorbitant. That’s why there was an uproar on the Internet when one article claimed Millennials should have a hefty sum of money saved up by the time they’re 35, and why so many young adults are currently flocking to smaller cities.
Sometimes when you’re commuting to work in the city, it’s so cramped and crowded that you feel like you don’t even have space to breathe. Even the bars and restaurants in a city are so small that you have to suck in your stomach just to fit between the tables. When you’re wedged between two armpits on the subway, these 10 Secrets for Beating Stress in 10 Minutes (Or Less!) come in handy.
Everything Is Overpriced
In a city like San Francisco, the average coffee costs $6.04, compared to the national average of $2.70. If that’s the difference in price for coffee, just imagine how much more expensive everything else is. Between the high cost of goods and the insane rent, everyone is always too broke to even enjoy the perks the city has to offer. If you’re in that boat, check out 52 Ways to Be Smarter with Money.
Lack of Fresh Air
When you walk down in the street in the summertime, you can literally feel the pollution all around you. Your skin is covered in dust, your nostrils flare up at the scent of trash and gasoline, and your lungs fill up with smoke. Who even knows what the steam rising out of those manholes is? You don’t even realize how clogged the air is until you go out into the countryside and remember that air actually smells really good when it’s fresh.
Most metropolitan areas threaten fines for not picking up after your dog, but that doesn’t stop people from leaving their pup’s poop on the sidewalk. One of the many rites of passage of a true urban resident is stepping in a pile of poop. And the worst part is that you can’t even always be sure whether it’s a dog’s or a human’s.
Never-Ending Grocery Lines
Step into a Trade Joe’s on a weekday after work and you’ll find lines as long as those at the Vatican. All you want is some zucchini and a couple of apples, why must you suffer an hour-long wait? At least all of that idle standing time is good for you, and provides you with an opportunity to catch up on your Tinder matches. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with these 20 Online Dating Terms Older People Don’t Know first.
Living in a charming old building that used to be a tenement house is every artist’s dream, but it comes with the significant drawback that most of these buildings don’t have elevators. Not only does that make moving in a major hassle (PIVOT!), it robs you of the relief you should feel when entering your building after a long day. Climbing up those steps can feel like hiking Mount Kilimanjaro over and over again, but, hey, at least it’s good exercise!
Tourists manage to find something photographable at every corner, and they love to move through the most packed parts of the city at a leisurely pace, seemingly oblivious to the fact that some people have places to be. Plus, they’re also the ones most likely to carry giant backpacks on the subway.
Everything Is Dirty
When you see a stain on the sidewalk, it’s better to not ask yourself what it is. But between the garbage, the poop, the rats, the elephant graveyard of pizza crusts, the chewed-up gum on railings in train platforms, the receipts that people crumble up and discard wherever they please, and all of the other miscellaneous rubbish, it’s hard not to feel like you live in a maze filled with trash.
Mean Bus Drivers
Not only is the bus always late, but also bus drivers in big cities tend to be an especially cantankerous bunch. And train conductors usually wouldn’t win any awards for friendliness, either. Sometimes they close the doors of a train as soon as they see that another one has arrived across the platform, and you swear you can almost hear them gleefully cackling as the train rolls away.
In the suburbs, you’re likely to have a friendly relationship with your neighbors, and maybe even invite them over every so often for a beer or a barbecue. But humans were not meant to live on top of each other as they do in big cities. You can hear everything they do and vice versa. He hates that your dog barks when the doorbell rings, you hate that he just has to play guitar at 8 in the morning. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Bad weather is a problem everywhere, but in the city, it makes life especially difficult because the already-terrible metro system gets even worse, and the people who would otherwise walk pack into it until it turns into a humid zombie movie. When it’s raining, every cab in the city is occupied, and waiting under the pouring rain for a bus that may or may not manifest feels like the seventh circle of Hades. The summer is no picnic either, since the aforementioned air pollution makes it feel hot and sticky, and you can really enjoy the various nuances of the odors around you.
People Who Text While They Walk
This is not only annoying for the people you bump into, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
People Who Play Music Out Loud
It’s like they don’t realize not everyone wants to listen to R. Kelly’s “Bump N Grind.”
Just imagine how sweet it would be if you could get a text from a friend asking if you wanted to grab a drink and you could respond, “Yea! I’ll meet you in 10.” That’s a reality in many small towns, but in big cities, everyone is spread out all over the place. Which means that you often have a moment of truth where you have to evaluate how much you really love your friends and whether seeing them is really worth a 1.5 hour train ride there and a $50 cab back home.
The Garbage Man Alarm
Every morning at 7 am, even on Saturdays, the garbage truck comes by and the sanitation workers make an ungodly amount of noise as they hurl cans into the truck as though it were an Olympic sport. We thank them for their service because it’s a necessary and unpleasant job, but sometimes it really feels like they are just banging steel lids in your bedroom.
Walking in the Bike Lane
Again, this is not only rude, it’s also dangerous for you and the cyclist. Take a leaf out of the page of this little cyclist and follow the rules of the road.
Groups Who Take Up the Entire Sidewalk
It’s not just the tourists. It’s all well and good that you want to take your entire family, including your eight cousins, out for a nice dinner, but you can’t clog up the sidewalk when you do. There’s an unspoken rule that when there are more than three people walking on the street, the polite thing to do is to break up into groups of two.
Or People Who Block the Stairwell
It’s happened to the best of us: You’re about to head down to the subway, but your Metrocard is nowhere to be found. Suddenly you’re tossing through your purse searching for the tiny pass, but now you’re inadvertently blocking people from getting to the subway platform. It’s fine if you stop and search for something, but be mindful of the fact that other people need the stairwell too.
People Who Lean on the Subway Pole
Like manspreading, this sends a signal to everyone around you that you think you are special and entitled to more room than everyone else in a crowded place. Other people need the pole too! And even when the train car is empty, this move does not make you look cool.
Between the constant wail of ambulances, the honking of angry drivers in traffic, and whatever it is your neighbor is doing that makes it sound like Bigfoot has moved in upstairs, no wonder New Yorkers aren’t getting enough sleep.
Nothing is Dog-Friendly
In addition to not being allowed on trains or buses unless in a carrier bag, dogs in many big cities are not allowed in playgrounds, zoos, fountains, ball fields, on basketball/handball/tennis courts, in swimming pool/facilities, bathing areas, and city-side beaches. And then people complain about how there are so many dogs in shelters. There would be far more puppies adopted if big cities didn’t make it impossible to take care of them without ever leaving the house. Don’t city officials know that dogs are better for our health than therapy?
Fluorescent Lights 24/7
It’s fun living in the city that never sleeps when you want to enjoy a night on the town, but your living arrangements aren’t as enjoyable when you’re trying to get some shut-eye and can’t block out those fluorescent lights. Plus, scientists have found that light exposure while sleeping can cause weight gain.
Hour-Long Waits at Every Restaurant
A decade ago, you only had to wait to be seated at New York’s hottest restaurants. Now, even the local pizza joint has a line out the door, as the city is overpopulated and tourists have taken over everywhere. But if you are going to queue up for something, at least let it be for The Most Expensive Restaurant Dish in Every U.S. State.
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