One unfortunate byproduct of spring is that sidewalks, parks and other public gathering places begin to fill with young lovers, who are surely the most annoying people around -- even more annoying than mimes, if that's possible.
This was the case at the small seaside town I recently visited, where, if you listened closely, you could actually hear the stirring of hormones amid the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
Everywhere you looked there were young lovers strolling arm in arm on the boardwalk and gazing soulfully into each other's eyes, oblivious to the frail 83-year-old grandmother they were about to crash into.
And every few minutes, it seemed, the young lovers would pause to feverishly grope at each other and exchange long, hot, meaningful kisses.
So many times, I was tempted to yell: "Hey, take that in the back seat of a Buick where it belongs!"
But of course, not knowing what kind of weaponry the young thugs were packing, I kept my thoughts to myself.
It has been my experience that young lovers startle easily, and will become surly and combative when interrupted while doing whatever it is they're doing.
So I basically tried to stay out of their way, although it was pretty much impossible to avoid the Hand-holding Couples From Hell.
You have seen the Hand-holding Couples from Hell before, of course, most notably in the malls.
These are the pimply-faced couples who have decided that, no matter where they walk or who they come across, the union of flesh formed between his sweaty hand and hers will not be broken.
If you happen to be walking in their direction, they let you know with a hard stare that it is your responsibility to go around them, as they are simply too much in love to let go of each other's hand (even for an instant) and permit you to pass.
So transfixed do these dopey couples become on the idea of linking hands that I have actually seen them garrote innocent toddlers who had the misfortune to wander between them.
(This is probably neither here nor there, but my favorite Young Lovers at the Mall story revolves around an incident I witnessed a couple years ago.
(A young man and his girlfriend, obviously deeply in love, were standing arm in arm in front of the window of a shoe store.
(Suddenly the woman turned to her boyfriend and squealed: "Ooooh, I'm having so much fun!"
(And I thought: Sweetie, if you're having this much fun at Thom McCan's, they'd have to tie you down and shoot you full of tranquilizers at Disney World.)
For pure unadulterated goo, however, you would have to go a ways to top the young couple spotted in a pizza parlor in the seaside town referred to earlier.
Naturally, I have tried to blot out a good deal of what happened, as it was an altogether sickening sight.
From what I recall, though, these two lovers were sharing a pepperoni pizza at one of the side booths.
But instead of eating the pizza like two normal human beings, this couple decided to nauseate the rest of the patrons by -- stay with me here -- entwining their arms and feeding each other.
And you wonder why some animals eat their young.
Anyway, I'm not sure I can fully describe the sight of the whole bizarre ritual, but here goes.
The guy would stuff a slice of pizza in his girlfriend's mouth and laugh with delight as long strands of mozzarella cheese dangled from her lips.
Then he would sigh and murmur "You look . . . beautiful," somehow ignoring the huge tomato stains on her chin.
Then the woman would . . . I'm sorry, but my hands tremble every time I think of this next part. (Steady now. Couple of deep breaths. Whew, OK. That's better.)
Anyway, then the woman would feed him a slice of her pizza. Except that after every bite -- here it comes -- the guy would open his mouth and she'd toss in an extra pepperoni, putting you in mind of a trainer tossing a mackerel to a dolphin at Sea World.
Then she'd giggle and coo to the guy in baby talk: "Is that too big a bite for my wittle Waynie?"
Hoo, boy. It made you . . . well, it made you want to gag, is what it did.
Me, I kept looking around for the cops and thinking: What kind of a sick world do we live in where this sort of behavior is tolerated?
Years ago, when people were actually required to comport themselves decently in public, the owner of the pizza parlor would have stepped out from behind the counter and whacked these two idiots over the head with a sandwich board.
Now, of course, you'd have the ACLU whining about constitutional rights being violated.