Before you begin to read this, take a moment to think about your pet peeve. Visualize your daily life and concentrate on what really irks you. What one thing gets under your skin?
I was chatting with a group of friends recently and one mentioned standing in the express check-out line at the grocery store when she noticed a person in front of her with more than the allowed items – way more. “That really bugs me – it’s my pet peeve,” my friend said. “That and those old people that pay with pennies. And people that hog the fast lane and don’t drive fast, or those jerks that park in the handicapped stall …”
Do you see where this is going?
We all began to share our peeves. Surprisingly, other people’s driving skills and grocery store mishaps topped the list.
Along with those “passing lane hogs,” are the “no signallers,” the “early mergers,” those who stop in the merging lane and the heinous drivers who “won’t let you in.”
The traffic complaints didn’t stop there. Why, someone wondered, do people move over without looking? Why do they drive below the speed limit in the fast lane? “Being in the fast lane is a privilege, not a right,” one of my friends said.
The list expanded when another agreed with the grocery store peeves.
“I hate going to the store and trying to get my basket around some old lady who’s dragging her old man around with her. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He doesn’t want to be there. Don’t bring your husband and your kids shopping; we don’t need all those excess people to get around,” she said.
“I hate those stunned shoppers, too,” she added.
“I’m sorry, that’s me,” I replied.
Really. I can stand in front of the 300 choices of toothpaste for 10 minutes. My vision slowly blurs and the tubes run into one mass of whitening, tartar control, fluoride, plaque removing, calcium building, gel, paste, cinnamon, natural, nighttime, bacon flavoured-what-now?
Shopping peeves included the sales clerks who talk on the phone while they serve you.
“I just want to reach over and put my finger on the trigger and go ‘click,’” one woman said.
Then there’s the clerks who don’t make eye contact. Those who don’t say thank you. The carts with wobbly wheels. The people who stop to chat in the aisles.
How about when you run into someone and say hello, then you have to change direction or go to the other end of the store so you don’t have to repeatedly pass them, in order to avoid those awkward ‘hi again’ moments?
“What about those seniors on their scooters who beep at you then go zooming by?”
“Or those people who talk and talk and talk on their cellphones on the bus.”
“People that don’t wash their hands in the restroom.”
“People that stop at the top or bottom of the escalator – don’t you know someone is right behind you?”
“How about when you get a cold and three hours later your husband is sicker that you?”
“Packaging you can’t open without a crowbar.”
“I usually have so much patience,” one of my friends said. “But if I can’t find my scissors and I have to go hunting for them in the kids’ room or the family room or the garage. … Take anything else – just don’t take my scissors.”
As I listened to the litany of minor annoyances, I couldn’t help but agree with most of them. OK, all of them. When it came to my pet peeve, I couldn’t think of one. That’s right. I couldn’t think of just one … and you?
Laura Lavin is the editor of the Oak Bay News.