While I was driving my daughter to the Airport during rush hour, she looked at me and asked “Doesn’t this traffic annoy you – you seem so calm?” I thought a moment and then answered, “well, I don’t enjoy it, but it’s out of my control so why let it stress me out? I try to just listen to the radio and go with the flow.”
She gave me a skeptical look and I continued, “but there are things that irritate me that probably shouldn’t. “Like what,” she asked. And then I fessed up. “I have a thing about spelling and punctuation errors. I sometimes have to stop myself from correcting other’s texts or social media posts, kind of like how some people have to fight the urge to blare their horn at bad drivers.”
Everyone has their pet peeves. Those little things that make us want to react in ways that we probably shouldn’t. The slow driver in the left lane. The people who stand up the minute the plane lands but wait until the last minute to get their bag out of the overhead storage bin. Loud chewing. Automated calls. The list goes on.
In the interest of learning more about what people find really annoying, I took an unscientific Facebook poll asking “Do you have a pet peeve? Care to share?” And, boy did they ever!
For your reading enjoyment, here is a curated list of the responses. Maybe you’ll nod your head in agreement at some – or maybe you’ll recognize some cringe-worthy behavior of your own.
As expected, a large number of complaints had to do with driving infractions, so we’ll start there.
- The left lane on the interstate is made for PASSING. Don’t hog the left lane if you aren’t passing – please. (I like the use of “please” in this one.)
- Healthy people taking handicapped parking spots. (Inexcusable)
- Tailgating – and not the fun kind at football games.
- Drivers who get partially in the turning lane but still block the driving lane. (Why not commit people?)
- Bad parking lot driving. (So much to unpack on this one.)
- Not using turn signals. Or leaving them on for miles on end.
Coming in a close second were grammar related annoyances.
Full disclosure; I am one of those people who can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t spell check their texts. There have been many times when I’ve been tempted to correct a Facebook post – like an overzealous English teacher (which I’m not). Fortunately, I’ve fought the urge in the interest of not being a jerk. Fellow grammar police are invited to notify me of my violations via email. After all, if I can dish it out, I should be able to take it.
Here are some spelling and grammar pet-peeves amassed in my survey:
- Using “could care less” vs the correct “couldn’t care less.”
- Using “like” excessively in speech. Like, really? I know, right?
- Incorrect usage of “to,” “two” and “too, “their”, “there” and “they’re, etc.”
- Using “use to” instead of “used to.”
- Overuse of cliches: “To say the least,” “to make a long story short,” “Let’s face it,” – and “the list goes on.”
- Saying “growing up as a kid.” What else would you grow up as?
- Saying redundant things like “6am in the morning.”
Not surprisingly, poor etiquette was mentioned quite a bit. I’m betting that all of us can all do better in this category. Here are some frequently mentioned faux pas.
- People who are always running late.
- Not putting shopping carts back where they belong.
- Bringing smelly foods onto planes. (Makes one long for the days of meal service.)
- Not RSVPing. (And it’s so easy now with email, texts, etc. Back in the day, we had to send an envelope through snail mail.)
- Not holding doors open for others.
- People who cut in line.
- Talking on the phone in “speaker” mode while in public.
- Many other cell phone infractions.
And now a few from the miscellaneous yet noteworthy column:
- Not knowing how to pronounce “Illinois.” (Just remember, there is no “noise” in Illinois.)
- Negativity in general. (Such a lofty yet noble goal.)
- People who say they believe in freedom of speech, but only if they agree with you.
- Pet peeves. (Okay, that was funny in an ironic way.)
Well, I’m glad we got those off our chest. The fact that we have so many pet peeves begs the question; are we a nation of intolerant people or are our peeves justified? Do we see our own annoying habits or only those of others?
I know I do things that others find grating. Just ask my kids. For example, I tend to use the speaker mode on my phone – but only because I seem to hit the mute button or accidentally hang up when I put it to my ear. And I probably aggravate those wannabe race car drivers as I stick to comparatively moderate speeds on the autobahn (I mean the 101) when driving in Phoenix.
Who hasn’t had that fingernails on the chalk-board sensation when people exhibit inappropriate, irritating or just plain rude behavior. Have they no common courtesy? Conversely, why is it so easy to point out the bothersome quirks of others, yet not to notice our own?
What would happen if the next time we’re tempted to roll our eyes, blare the horn or vent over what may well be legitimately bad behavior, instead we choose to extend grace to another imperfect human making their way in the world. It could be that they don’t know any better. Any there may be times when we don’t either.
It’s okay to vent about pet peeves. It can be very therapeutic and I did ask for input, after all. As I told my daughter as we crawled along in traffic on the way to the airport, there are some things we have absolutely no control over. We may just need to let it go – or in my case, tootle along in the slow lane and take the grammar thing down a notch.