The Annoyance Pandemic of 2012 started with the blast of a car horn, on the 28th of September at precisely 1.34PM. The horn was sounded by New York City taxi driver, Don Smith. Mr Smith was expressing his annoyance at how slowly traffic was moving through Times Square that afternoon.
Eva Mendel, who was holidaying in New York at the time, heard the car horn and exclaimed: “Damn, all this noise! I wish I was back home.”
New York local, Barry Jackson, yelled back, “Hey lady, if you don’t like it, why don’t you go back to wherever you came from?”
A group of passers-by heard both Ms Mendel’s exclamation and Mr Jackson’s reply. They quickly polarised into two groups: those who were annoyed by Ms Mendel, and those who found Mr Johnson the more annoying. Both sides were annoyed at the annoyance of the other.
Soon a third group started to form. These were people annoyed by the two groups arguing and blocking the street.
“Move on people!” the third group chanted.
Things really went downhill when a fourth group, a group who believed in the right to free speech, started to yell their annoyance at the third groups annoyance.
Soon there were groups of people arguing everywhere. By night fall New York City was in chaos.
‘The Annoyance Epidemic’ led the evening news and people around the country watched in annoyance. “Is this really news worthy?” they asked.
For those already annoyed by the poor quality of television journalism, this was the last straw. People left their homes and took to the street to express their dissatisfaction at the state of the media, and anything else they could think of.
International news picked up on the story and renamed the situation ‘The Annoyance Pandemic’. People around the world were annoyed: “Is this all those Americans have to worry about?”
And so a wave of annoyance spread around the world.
Everywhere you looked there were people getting annoyed at other people who were getting annoyed right back. Streets were filled with people having loud and heated arguments and other people who were telling them, equally loudly, to be quiet.
People who refused to get annoyed were forced indoors. There was nowhere else to go.
After a week of heavy arguing, governments started to get annoyed. They ordered riot police to step in, but the use of rubber bullets and water cannons just made people more annoyed.
Global annoyance levels peaked on the 23rd October, 2012. On that day, eight year old Billy Gently of Glasgow was running home thinking about dinner, when he found his way blocked by a wall of angry arguers.
“What’s all this about?” Billy asked one of the group members.
The woman looked at Billy and scratched her head. “To be honest son,” the woman answered, “I don’t really know.”
The woman turned to the rest of the group, “Hey!” she yelled, “Can one of you please remind me what we’re arguing about here?”
No one could.
The group wandered off and found another group of arguers. This second group didn’t know what they were arguing about either. And so it continued.
Around the globe the tide of annoyance began to recede.
Everywhere you looked you would see: people apologising to each other for being so grumpy; people smiling again; people shaking hands and making-up.
Well, everywhere except New York City. People there were still quite cranky.