And You Wonder Why I Grrr!...

People are oblivious. It's as simple as that.

Gone is common courtesy. Went out with Friendster and Ask Jeeves and Viacom's Tom Freston.

The other night I had the misfortune of walking behind an Oblivion on the train. His family took a three-seater bench, but apparently that wasn't good enough for the patriarch, so he stood in the middle of the aisle surveying the other empty seat offerings.

To hell with the gaggle of people piling in behind him. Why should he care? He's an Oblivion!

Video: Mike gets punched in the face in his Movie Review

Went to a screening of "Hollywoodland," a terrific movie starring Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and directed by HBO impresario Allen Coulter of "Sopranos" fame.

Sat in an aisle with six empty seats, but most were occupied by the stuff the two women who commandeered the row had strewn about the aisle. A bouquet of flowers. A raincoat. A shopping bag.

Never mind that this was a free screening of perhaps the best movie Hollywood has to offer in the year 2006 — at least so far.

Any common-sense person would know the theater would be filled. Yet, guess who sighed deeply as the row filled up? Every time someone inquired if "those seats were taken," the ladies moaned and huffed as they had to gather their junk and actually hold it on their laps.

Can you believe this?? It's not your living room, ladies. But they're Oblivions!

Had my XM Radio professionally installed at one of those aftermarket auto specialist shops. These are people who do stereos for a living! I've been back three times. One of my air vents was stuck in the up position. My terrestrial radio no longer received a signal. The volume was so low it was hardly worth $12 a month.

After three visits and a few hundred bucks, it all works fine, but now I'm getting an antenna error on the receiver. Twenty-nine bucks later on XM's Web site, and we'll see how I do.

Had a deck installed in my backyard recently. It wasn't cheap, but I figured I'm paying for premium service from a national chain, so I bit the bullet.

I ended up with one guy building it himself, with occasional tutoring visits from his boss.

After it was completed, I had to chase these guys down to remove the old deck and the extra 2x4s, which sat in my driveway for a week. When I got the contractor on the phone, he actually asked me if I could use the extra wood. Spent all of Labor Day weekend cleaning up the mud that was left all over the driveway.

Did I mention I spent more than I should have on this deck? But I figured I'd rather go with the national chain. They sent me nice blueprints of my deck, took care of the permitting, etc. but mostly I went with the big guys because I didn't want to go through the hassle of weeding through local contractors who never call back anyway.

Guess what? The big guys hired the local contractor! I guess I was expecting Bob Vila and the cavalry. So much for that idea.

I had central air installed in my home a few weeks ago. Being as nothing is ever easy, I had to have my entire electrical changed. New box. New breakers. More amperage. Fine. Had to be done.

But I wound up cleaning up the electrician's mess, too. These guys left old piping in my front yard, with the old meter and wiring still attached. The old breaker panel was on the curb, and breakers were left all over the sidewalk.

When Mrs. Grrr complained to the A/C contractor who brought these guys in, she got "They always do that. If we clean up after them, they'll just keep doing it."

So guess who cleaned up after them, lest I end up with a ticket?

The air conditioning guys also told me I needed to have attic access stairs installed so they could bring up the ductwork and the unit. Fine. It had to be done. So the A/C project manager had a contractor come in to install it. And it looked great.

Right up until the A/C guys had to take the stairs down from the panel so they could get the unit through the hole in the ceiling. They reinstalled the stairs, but they didn't bother to do it correctly. Now I've got an access panel with stairs hanging down from the ceiling, and I have to get the contractor back to fix the darn thing.

It never ends! All of this in the past few weeks.

And you wonder why I write the Grrr! Column?

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