On the Bus Vol. 3–Mother Theresa and Me

People often tell me I’m too nice.

This is not usually said as a compliment but more meant as a “nice” way of saying “You are weak, and according to Darwin must be culled from the pack”.

No one wants to be deemed unfit to survive so in order to prove that I’m in fact not too nice, I have decided to use today’s bus ride to bravely reveal to you all the hate I have in my heart.

Here is a list of things I hate in no particular order:


  • People who stand over one item for over 30 seconds at the salad bar attempting to pick out the most delicious Brussel sprout or square of watermelon. It’s a salad bar for Pity’s sake! You are never going to discover the ultimate sushi sitting underneath the sneeze guard.
  • Guys I overhear in my locker room who say, “Bro, that was a great sesh!” who are not being ironic.
  • Cocky people.
  • Guys who constantly post shirtless pics on Facebook or worse—pictures wearing tiny swimsuits. I get it. You spend a lot of time at the gym and are better than me as a result. (I admit I have been tempted to do the same since losing 25 pounds thanks to Weight Watchers, but you won’t see me leaping in the air on the beach in a tiny speedo any time soon. My coworkers and nieces don’t need to see that.) (Actually, you may see ONE candid shot on the beach this summer but I will be wearing proper swim trunks and won’t make it my profile picture unless I look really really great.)
  • People who pray for me because I’m gay. (Yes, there still are some out there!)
  • People who shove themselves into a packed subway making everyone scrunch uncomfortably close and mumble “Sorry.” They aren’t sorry, and saying it doesn’t make my face being smushed into a stranger’s armpit forgivable.
  • People who enjoy shooting animals.
  • People who use huge golf umbrellas on the overcrowded streets of New York. Extra hate points if they stop in the middle of the sidewalk to text while holding said umbrella.
  • People who don’t realize Trump is a really awful President
  • People who bully or admire bullies
  • People who are unkind.
  • Raccoons that try to cross a six- lane highway and don’t make it leaving carnage in their wake. Why did they think they could perform that clearly impossible task successfully?
  • People who ask me about my new commute and then try to convince me how terrible it must be.
  • People who think they would have been on the right side of history regarding topics such as slavery or segregation while being on the wrong side of current humanitarian topics.
  • Misogynists who don’t really think they are misogynistic.
  • Deer who lurk at the side of the road with the intent to cross in front of my car and severely traumatize me for the rest life. Learn from the raccoons, deer!
  • Litterbugs. I especially hate litterbugs.

Okay, This list is too depressing to continue. Maybe people are right. Maybe I am too nice. Who cares? I’ve already outsurvived Darwin anyway.

Here are some things I love.


  • Kittens
  • Old dogs
  • My husband who puts up with me even when I’m overtired and yell about all the things I hate and then hugs me until I quiet down (not because his hugs are so special but because I want my personal space back.)
  • Fellow writers who understand the blessing and curse of having a seemingly insatiable need to write.
  • Nieces and nephews who are good and kind and love their gay uncles and inspire me to be brave.
  • Friends with kids and kids on the way.
  • Tyne Daly
  • Broadway plays that make me cry
  • Stevie Nicks’ voice and survival skills.
  • People who knew and loved my sister.
  • Thunderstorms
  • Rivers
  • Bridges over rivers
  • People who pray for me because they truly love me.
  • Friends who look after me and who sometimes let me look after them.
  • People who knew and loved my mother.
  • Flirting with the elderly.

I guess what I’m wondering is, can a person really be too nice? Was Mother Theresa too nice? (I heard a rumor she was very impatient with people at salad bars)

My former boss Marjorie Kaplan often says, “Don’t confuse nice with weakness”. In my opinion, there are a lot of people confusing bullying with strength these days.

My husband and I begin and end each day by naming three things we are grateful for.  Then we hit SHUFFLE on my old IPod and dance to whatever random song comes up whether it’s Rhianna, Loretta Lynn or a song from Bea Arthur’s one woman show.

We do this to try not to feel so dire about this poor world and to attempt to shorten my hate list. (Litterbugs will NEVER be removed). Maybe that ritual is making me too nice–but if that is the side effect of getting to dance every night, I guess I will have to suffer the consequences.

I am almost at my stop. Have a NICE day everyone!

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Keith Hoffman lives with his artist husband, dog and two cats in the small town Lambertville, New Jersey 72 miles outside of New York City. He has completed a memoir entitled The Summer My Sister Grew Sideburns.

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