we like lists: list # 3: pet peeves

Our last list celebrated the joy and wonder of life's many simple pleasures. This one is exactly the opposite: the irritation of life's little annoyances. The things that make you grit your teeth, rant to your partner, and mutter words not safe for work.

Let's be specific. "People who annoy me" is too general. And let's think small. "Social injustice" or "racism" are not pet peeves.

We'll make this one an even dozen. Some years back, I could have filled 12 spots just from annoyances related to the riding the subway: door-blockers, men sitting with their knees a meter apart taking up three seats, percussion groups extorting money from a captive audience. But that's all gone now. Here are my current top 12.

1. So much advertising during baseball games.

2. People walking without picking up their feet, causing a shushing, scraping noise.

3. People talking while yawning. (Stop talking for a moment, yawn, then finish your sentence!)

4. People who ask me for help then don't say thank you. (Please tell me in advance if you don't plan to thank me, so I can decline to help you.)

5. People who email me comments instead of leaving them on the blog - not because they want to tell me something personal offline, but regularly, as their method of commenting.

6. Whistling.

7. Salespeople - including those selling religion - ringing my doorbell.

8. People recounting extremely detailed stories of what they were doing on September 11, 2001, because I am from New York City. This is always someone who was nowhere near any of the incidents and has no personal connection to the events, telling me when they heard, who told them, how they felt, and so on.

9. People bragging about how cheap they are - i.e., what a great deal they got, how they saved money by not paying for parking, how they paid less than me for something, often by buying a lower-quality product.

10. Bad customer service.

11. Having to hear other people's cell phone conversations on above-ground public transit. (This has replaced subway annoyances, but is mitigated by an mp3 player.)

12. "Lite FM" background music in restaurants, offices, stores or public spaces.


Update!! I can't believe I forgot this one. I meant to include it all along.

13-100. People who complain about privilege. When I was a nanny, my employer used to complain to me about her son's tuition - private school that cost $5,000 a year - for a 7-year-old - in the 1980s. And she would complain to me. Co-workers who complain about the travails of building their McMansions, the vicissitudes of finding the perfect couch. Acquaintances who complain about the traffic on the way to the cottage, one of two houses they own. These are not everyday complaints about everyday annoyances. It's the myopia of people who don't appreciate how good they have it. If you can't stand the traffic on the way to your second home, stay the hell at home!

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