As a kid, every time I went to the store with my dad, I’d watch him do something that made me want to disown him:
As the cashier handed him back his change, he’d refuse the bills and insist, “Please hand me back the loose change first.” I’d roll my eyes to let the cashier know, “I’m on your side. This crazy guy? He’s not even my dad. He kidnapped me and made me live with him. Also forced me to go to Hebrew school, but that’s for another time.”
On our way out of the store, my Dad would complain, “Why oh WHY are these cashiers not trained to hand back change properly?”
An industrial engineer by trade (this was before he became a shrink), he’d explain to me why handing back the bills first was so inefficient. “The change slides around, which is an unnnnbelieeeevable nuisance. It takes me twice as long to put my money away when they do that.” Whatever.
Well, guess who now gets pissy whenever a cashier tries to hand back the bills first?
Correct! Me, I do. “Loose change first, please.” I can’t help it, it’s my pet peeve.
Except I can help it, because, just like my dad, I choose to have that pet peeve. In the comments section of this post, my sister wrote:
My pet peeve is “pet peeve.” Why is it a pet? Doesn’t that mean you kind of like the peeve? It’s something you feed and cuddle with. (Or, perhaps it’s the kind of pet you resent and forget to walk.)
That’s about right.
We choose our pet peeves.
We pick ’em out, like they’re puppies playing in a window. And then, we nurture them. Take them everywhere with us in a little Louis Vuitton bag, because we love them. I know I must, because when it comes to pet peeves, I’m like a crazy cat lady. I have hundreds of them, mewing and scratching the furniture. (Why cats and not dogs? Because I hate cats. They’re one of my pet peeves.)
I pick peeves that are practically guaranteed to irritate me every day:
- The sound of whispering
- The sound of someone eating a banana
- People texting while they walk
- People hogging the whole subway pole by leaning against it so they can read
- Ladies who pee on the seat. Hey lady, I know it was you!
- People eating on the subway. P.U.
- When people use “I” instead of “me.” As in, “Would you like to come to the movies with my sister and I?” GAH! What’s wrong with everyone?
And the list goes on.
If I didn’t like to get pissed off, wouldn’t I just drop these pet peeves?
It’s not like they make me special. Who doesn’t want to punch the guy eating hot wings on the 2/3 train?
It’s a choice. So go ahead and complain about your pet peeves, because that’s what they’re there for. But don’t tell me you don’t feed and cuddle them.
What are your pet peeves? And how much do you love them? Tell me in the comments. And please don’t whisper.