Everyone has some "thing" that bothers them, that takes their temper from 0 to 11 way faster than prudent. It's like a Big Red Button inside of your head, and all it usually takes is one idiot to press that button for a nuclear meltdown to happen. Pet peeves are irrational, insane reactions to every day occurrences that most other people don't even think about. A tendency to morph into that kid from the Exorcist movie just because someone mispronounces the word "femoral"? My best friend and I didn't speak for two weeks in college for that very reason. It sounds stupid now, but when it happened it was very, very real.
I used to laugh at the pet peeves of others, of course. Everyone thinks
that their own pet peeves are Very Important. We all have them. I'm no exception. I have more than a few. If
someone bites their fork while eating, for example, that makes my hair
stand straight up. Nails on a chalkboard to my nerves. I also get downright cranky when someone talks during my television shows. Larry used to do that, but fortunately now he only talks during the commercials.
A couple of my pet peeves were a complete surprise. I had no idea that they even existed until I found myself ready to scream or punch over whatever it was. I was traveling with a friend from Chicago to Dayton one summer. Jim had wanted to go to the big air show in Dayton, and I wanted to visit my relatives. I traveled to Chicago, spent a few days looking around, and then we hit the road. Jim was driving, because it was his car. I was shotgun, enjoying the summer day, listening to the radio, which was at just the right volume so you could enjoy the tunes and still hear conversation. Everything was groovy.
And then Jim turned the radio down.
He wanted to talk to me about something, I guess. I did not hear a word he said. All I could think about was one thing: The radio wasn't that loud. He did not need to turn the radio down. And that's all it took. I was irritated way beyond necessary. Whoa, I told myself. I took a few deep breaths while I kept up my end of the conversation. Surely he will turn the volume back up after he is finished speaking. Calm down. Except Jim stopped talking, but he did not turn the volume back up to its previous level. Another burst of unreasonable anger that I choked down. I could still hear the radio, I reasoned. I reluctantly adjusted myself to the new radio volume.
He did it again.
It was like a slow motion part of a movie, his hand moving from the steering wheel, forming a tripod grip as it headed toward the volume knob as he began to speak. I could only watch. Noooooo!!!! He turned the volume down again! Who does that? Why?!! Mother f---!!! It wasn't that freakin' LOUD!! My brain could only process that image one way, and I remember clenching my fists. Completely stupid, since Jim outweighed me and six of my friends by a good forty pounds. Anger is not a rational emotion. I decided that I could use my purse and nail him pretty good in the head. Then I realize that I'm about to commit assault with a deadly weapon,
and my brain finally takes the reins to steer me onto a calmer road of
thought. I gritted my teeth. I could do this. Think happy thoughts.
By the time we arrived in Dayton and arrived at my Aunt's house, I'd murdered Jim at least 357 different ways in my head. Every time he'd reached for the volume, which seemed to be every 30 seconds. I'm sure that it was less than that, but I was beyond reason by that point, so I lost count. My jaw hurt from gritting my teeth so hard. I knew at the time that I was being completely ridiculous, and I was embarrassed about that, but that's the thing about pet peeves. They aren't comfortable creatures. They're fleas, irritating and provoking, even in the most benign situations. They don't want to be petted.
I don't really want to pet them either. I don't want to lose control of myself like that. I would rather my pet peeves didn't exist at all, but this is part of being human, I guess. I'll try to be aware of them and try to avoid situations where someone is going to bite on their fork, talk over my TV, or turn the volume down on my tunes. When that isn't possible, I'll do what I can and hope that I don't completely embarrass myself. Or maim the next guy who turns down the radio.
What are your pet peeves? Share, so I don't feel so bad!