Have you ever had an inexplicably bad day? I’m talking about a day when nothing goes particularly wrong, but when you are simply inundated with things and people that rub you the wrong way. I had one of those days recently. You see, like most people, I have pet peeves. Unlike most people, I have A LOT of pet peeves. Thank goodness they don’t eat a lot. Besides, I’m not sure where to buy peeve food. But then there are the shots, the worms, the fleas, the vet visits… Arrggh! Sorry. Small digression…
Anyway, in my immense frustration I have decided to share with you, my friends, a list of the top five things (and people) that tick me off so that you will know how to avoid annoying me. Yeah, I know this is a little self-indulgent but it is cathartic for me. Read it. Consider it. Comment and let me know if you share my aversion to any of these little vexations of life.
5. People who wear pajamas. OK, my beef isn’t really with people who wear pajamas, per se. Personally, I prefer shorts and a t-shirt, but my wife and kids love pajamas and that’s OK. I even lounge around the house from time to time in pajamas, especially when the Heels are playing basketball. My problem is with those who think the world is their bedroom. Pajamas should be worn to bed. But there are certain places where this most comfortable of sleep wear is simply not appropriate, church, for instance. Well, I’ve never actually seen anyone show up to church in PJs but I do see them at the grocery store, the restaurant I used to manage, and I’m pretty sure I saw one of President Obamas aides in a pair of Hello Kitty pajamas and bunny slippers lurking in the background of a rose garden press conference. The point is that it takes 20 seconds to put on a pair of pants — maybe 30 if they’re button fly. Do us all a favor. Take the extra time and put some clothes on!
4. People who sing in public. Again, it’s not so much that I dislike hearing people sing in public, it’s that I dislike hearing people sing badly in public. There are days when I feel like I’m judging the biggest American Idol audition ever and the schedule is filled entirely with William Hungs. The most obvious offenders are people who simply can’t carry a tune in a bucket. The ones that annoy me even more are the people who try to sing along with me but know neither the words (or, worse, know the words but put them in the wrong place) nor the tune. Then there are the worst of the worst, the people who should wear a shock collar triggered by vibrations in the larynx, a gag, and a full facial mask a la Hannibal Lecter, namely those whose volume is in inverse proportion to their ability to sing. There is an old country maxim in some rural areas of the South, “If you can’t sing good, sing loud?” People who live by this advice should have to fight Patrick Swayze in a pond after trying to destroy his bar (may he rest in peace. He was alive when I originally wrote this).
3. People who engage me while talking on a cell phone. I carry a cell phone, but I’m not a big fan. I just don’t like being that accessible. What really irritates me, though, is people who walk up to me for the purpose of asking me something, but who make me wait until their precious conversation about the hideous shoes Sally wore to church Sunday is over. I tell you what — we’ll compromise. You can talk on your cell phone when you are in front of me if, after 5 seconds, I can shove it down your chatty little throat so I don’t have to see you hold that electronic idiot indicator up to your ear while you ignore me.
2. People who walk around babbling to themselves. This class of people is the most self-important — and clueless — of all. This group does not include the mentally ill or even those who have a tendency (like myself) to think out loud. No, my ire is directed at the Bluetooth headset user. Do any of you remember when cell phones first became widely available (but were still expensive — $500 dollars for the phone and airtime charges of $1,000, 047 per minute)? Do you remember the neer-do-well clowns who would walk around carrying on extremely important conversations about the real estate investment deal they were about to close on a phone whose outside was plastic and whose innards were air? Yeah, I’m talking about those people who only pretended to talk on a cell phone in public. Well, these bluetooth aficionados are cut from the same cloth. Sure, they are likely talking to a real person on a real phone, but let’s face it, if the conversation is not important enough to engage the hands and arms to hold a 1.5 ounce communication device to one’s ear, thereby signaling to everyone that one might be rude, but not crazy, then perhaps one should rethink how one spends his or her minutes.
1. Insistence that lists should consists of items in multiples of 5. Why is it that lists must be “Top 5” or “Top 10” or “Top 100”? Is it because Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter? Is it David Letterman’s fault? How about Billboard Magazine? Perhaps it is the fault of every radio show seeking to carve out its comedic niche. Whatever the case, it’s annoying. This post is a perfect example of why it irks me so. I am supposed to be reading for class right now, so I don’t have a lot of time to write about another pet peeve, but that would only leave me four. So, I had to cheat and include this one in order to keep with convention. Whoever is at fault for this should be forced to pull the pin from the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and count to 5.
So there you have it. Avoid these things and you and I will get along just fine — unless you do something else that’s really annoying. And if you understood the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch reference, good for you, you connoisseur of all things cultural and sophisticated.