I walked through Brooklyn Bridge Park last week. On my walk, I briefly passed a young man and young lady (I would guess that they were in their very early 20s) having a conversation. My impression was that they were friends rather than a couple. But my impression is not what is important here. As I passed the pair, I heard the young man deliver his impression:

So, we’re the most annoying people in the world, right?

That is a bold statement. He delivered it with confidence. It did sound like it came in the middle of a larger conversation that I was not privy to. But we can only work with the evidence on record – here what I overheard as our paths crossed ever-so-briefly.

Illustration of an elephant talking with a goat in "Billy Whiskers' Adventures"
Interpret as you will. Clipped from Billy Whiskers’ Adventures

Nothing about the pair struck me as particularly annoying. They did not abuse the word like in our brief crossing. Neither the young man nor the young lady sounded impossibly haughty. Perhaps most importantly – they were walking, and thus did not try to kill me with one wheeled contraption or another.

However, I do not know the young man or the young lady. For that reason, I fear that it would be presumptuous of me to assume that I know them better than they know themselves. It is precisely because they seem like nice enough people that I think I ought to defer.

If the young man says that he and the young lady are “the most annoying people in the world,” who am I to question them? They may be as right about how annoying they are as the man I overheard in 2005 was about his being maxed out on existentialism.

My only caveat in accepting the young man’s self-assessment is that there are some very annoying people out there. Without doubting the man’s personal take, I will note that I have come across many people about whom I gained enough familiarity in passing to believe that they could surely be more annoying than the young man and young lady. I grant you that it is entirely possible that this couple surround themselves with people who are remarkably not annoying, and thus they are unaware of the superlatively annoying people that this world has to offer.

Then again, what if they are a bit over-confident in how annoying they are?

Whatever the case may be, it would be neat if he was correct in his assessment. I could then say genuinely that I crossed paths with “the most annoying people in the world.”

Alas, I think that I overheard an amusing quip on the street from a pair of friends who are most likely not too annoying at all.

Fortunately, I have a series of Overheard on the Street articles – so this will fit in well.