It takes a lot to aggravate me. For the most part, I’m a calm, rational, patient, good-humored Norwegian/American with a high tolerance for pain and nonsense. Nonetheless, there are a few things that rub me the wrong way. Just how wrong the rub depends on various external factors. Am I in a hurry? Am I hungry? Am I tired? Did I just get pulled over for speeding? Again?
Knowing that all of you wonderful readers most likely have your own pet peeves, let me tell you about my Top 5!
Pet Peeve #5 – Twist ties on bread bags. Every loaf of bread I’ve ever purchased came with one of two types of devices to keep the bag closed – the twist tie or the plastic clip. Doesn’t matter to me. In our house, when the plastic bag that covers any loaf of bread has been breached, the twist tie or clip goes straight into the garbage. Life is way too short to waste time reusing twist ties. There’s a much simpler and much quicker way to keep your bread bags sealed. I call it the ‘spin and tuck-under’ method. (Patent pending)
Following are detailed instructions on how to close a bread bag:
Step 1: Open bread bag and remove slice(s) of bread.
Step 2: Get toaster down from cabinet above refrigerator.
Step 3: Remember that two toasting slots on the right side only toast one side of the bread so bread must be placed in left two slots.
Step 4: Get paper and pen from desk and make note: “Fix stupid toaster or buy new one.”
Step 5: Set toaster to highest setting, thereby burning toast.
Step 6: Butter toast.
Step 7: Put Jif crunchy peanut butter on top of butter.
Step 8: Eat toast.
Step 9: Put broken toaster back in cabinet.
Step 10: Reseal bread bag by grabbing the opening, giving loaf a quick spin and then tucking it under the loaf. Boom. Bag sealed.
Pet Peeve #4 – People who text in all caps. For the record, by people I mean my wife. Like a lot of folks, my wife and I communicate via text throughout the day. Our text exchanges usually look something like this:
Her: DON’T FORGET TO PICK UP MY DRYCLEANING!!!!!
Me: Okay, but why are you yelling at me?
Her: I’M NOT YELLING!!!! I CAN TEXT FASTER WHEN I LEAVE THE CAPS LOCK ON!!!!
Me: It seems as if you’re yelling.
Her: I’M NOT YELLING!!!!!!!
She also has a propensity for overusing exclamation points, but that’s neither here nor there. I will give credit where credit is due. In high school, my wife was the fastest typist in our school. She was clocked at 105 W.P.M. with zero mistakes on the old IBM Selectric typewriters. Even today, she is an absolute whiz on the keyboard. When she talks to people in her business, she typically types their responses in her notes for future reference. After a 15-minute call, she will have typed out the entire conversation...verbatim...with zero mistakes. She’s a texting whiz as well. I’d put her up against any Gen X, Y or Z kiddo with a smart phone to see who could text fastest. Smart money would be on my wife. When it’s all about speed, she claims it helps to keep the caps lock on at all times. I just got another text message:
Her: WHAT TIME ARE WE EATING TONIGHT???!!!!
Me: Dinner will be ready at 6:30.....AND WILL YOU PLEASE STOP YELLING!!!!!!!!!
Pet Peeve #3 – People who use the phrases ‘at the end of the day’ and ‘existential threat.’ Umm, you know how some people have, like, some super annoying, ummm, you know, speaking idiosyncrasies? They repeat the same words over and over, or, umm, use expressions, like, you know, ‘at the end of the day’ and ‘existential threat’? Well, ummm, how ‘bout this? Knock it off. I watch a variety of news shows in an effort to stay informed. I trust all of them and by all of them, I mean none of them. From what I’ve heard lately, there seems to be an awful lot of existential threats floating around out there. At the end of the day, for something to actually be an existential threat, the very existence of humanity must be at stake. Okay, I’ll grant you this: There are three things that could be considered existential threats.
1.) A climate catastrophe: I don’t lose sleep over this one. I try to do my part to take care of our habitat by thinking globally and acting locally. I pick up after myself at the beach. I recycle...sometimes. I replace all my divots at the golf course.
2.) An all-out nuclear exchange between warring superpowers: I don’t lose sleep over this one either. Why? Because way back in 5th grade when I was in Mrs. Lundberg’s class, she taught us how to survive a nuclear attack. We just got down under our desks and covered our heads with our hands. There. Safe!
3.) Artificial intelligence: I don’t lose sleep over this one either. Why? Because of bylines like this that I saw the other day in some goofball periodical. “Artificial Intelligence: The technology’s top architects say there’s a non-zero chance it will destroy all of humanity – and they don’t really know how or why it works.” Huh? What kind of gobble-de-gook nonsense is that?
Pet Peeve #2 – Bad drivers. At the end of the day, the only thing around here that could be considered an existential threat is bad drivers! There’s a 3-mile, 3-lane stretch of Highway 98 that I drive nearly every day. The posted speed limit is 45 m.p.h. I’d estimate the average speed per vehicle is between 55 and 70 m.p.h. I’m not making this up! Around 10:00 a.m. every morning, I start hearing sirens. It’s an unusual day if I don’t. “Well,” I say to myself, “the Daily Demolition Derby on 98 has begun!”
I’ve seen many of these accidents. In almost every case, one driver has rear ended another driver at high speed. Often, multiple vehicles are involved. Firetrucks and ambulances are dispatched. This past week, a med-flight helicopter was called in to assist with injured people. I don’t have absolute proof of the causes of these accidents, but I do have eyes. When I drive this stretch of roadway, I’d say at least 80% of the people are texting or otherwise fiddling with their cellphones while driving. One glance down; one sudden stop up ahead; BANG! Another accident. I drive that stretch of highway with my head on a swivel. I only check my phone when my wife anger texts me! ARE YOU STILL AT THE STORE??!!!!!
Pet Peeve #1 – Plastic grocery bags. I do most (all) of our grocery shopping. I frequent three different stores – Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Publix. Each store has certain items the others lack. Fresh Market, for example, is the only one that sells Neuske’s applewood smoked bacon. Once you’ve eaten Neuske’s, you’ll never eat another bacon. Trust me on that one. But I digress. Whole Foods has the best fish market. Publix has a lot of items that the other stores don’t carry.
It used to be that the baggers at these stores would say, “Paper or plastic?” These days, they must assume we all want plastic. Whenever I check out, before the baggers can start bagging, I always say, “Paper bags for me please. And stuff them as full as you possibly can! Be brave!” There’s a reason for this request. I used to accept my groceries being packed in small plastic bags. I just got tired of buying seven items and watching the bagger use eight bags for seven items. As if the plastic couldn’t hold more than one can of corn, a pound of butter or a bag of chips. Since I visit Publix nearly every day, a couple of the baggers know me. One of them is a gal named Mia. Whenever she sees me in the checkout line, she'll push the plastic bag rack out of the way and start opening paper bags. The other day I came through with a small pile of groceries in my cart, 15 items to be precise. She popped open a paper bag and went to work. In the end, she got all 15 items neatly placed inside ONE bag and sent me happily on my way. She smiled and said, “Have a great day!”
I said, “Thanks, Mia! Great packing job!” When I got home, I weighed the bag of groceries on my mail scale. It weighed 19 lbs., 1.6 oz. Winning!
Honestly, in the grand scheme of life, my pet peeves are not all that serious. Just minor aggravations that happen periodically. I can function happily in the midst of twist ties, text yelling, annoying phrases, bad drivers and plastic grocery bags. Just don’t chew with your mouth open! Please?