Friday, January 04, 2013

Day 4: Pet Peeves

Before I get started on my pet peeves, first let me express my annoyance at the phrase "pet peeves." What does that mean, anyway? I'm assuming "pet" is being used as an adjective modifying "peeves," as in "favorite peeves." But that makes NO sense whatsoever. If it's a peeve, can you really call it a "favorite" peeve? Isn't this a little like saying, "Bees and bumblebees and wasps are all perfectly horrid. But my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE stinging insect is the hornet!"

Or perhaps they are using "pet" as a noun. Most of our pets, after all, have been a bit peevish. Anyway, there's got to be a better phrase to replace "pet peeves." I'll let you think about that while I get started (as we all know what "pet peeves" are, at any rate.)

The easiest way for me to think about pet peeves are things that most severely tempt me to use language that makes me feel very guilty and unChristLike. If I have to repent for my language, then I know I've encountered a pet peeve.

People who invade my privacy and waste my time in order to attempt to market me something that I in no way want or need are one of my three big pet peeves. Email and text spam is bad enough. Phone spam is worse. You know the feeling, you pick up the phone (having not thought to glance at caller ID first) hoping to hear from a friend or loved one, say "Hello?" and suddenly realize you are talking to dead air ... then a click ... and the background noise of a room full of really unhappy people trying to endure rejection for the sake of minimum wage. (Possibly the real reason mass-murderers and serial killers are loose among us?)

By the time the human being on the other end of the line says something inane like "Is Lawrence at home, please?" ... (and you have to realize, other than telemarketers my mother was the only one on the planet who called me Lawrence) ... I feel expletives welling up within me. Something like: "Hey there, is this my mother? Or are you just another !*@!&?#!^% telemarketer?" threatens to tumble forth from my lips. But if I am in a more strategic mood I will often attempt something slightly more likely to make them hang themselves when they get home, like "Lawrence WAS here a moment ago but he just shot himself when he heard the phone ringing. Can I please have your name and address for the report?"

Or, "Yes, and he's so glad you called! Just a moment, and let me go find him ..." Then of course I set the phone down and go out to mow the lawn or go to the grocery store.

Is it sad that I've actually spent time thinking of creative ways to get revenge on such people?

Okay, another pet peeve: Driving on Washington freeways. It happened again yesterday (in fact, it happens nearly every day). I'm driving along at a pleasantly close-to-the-limit speed, in the right lane of a two-lane highway like 167, when I draw near to a clot of people driving well under the limit, as we all should be. So I signal courteously and pull into the left (supposedly passing) lane. But, just as I am about to overtake the clot and be on my way, one of them (without signalling) jerks his old 1984 Rambler out in front of me so I have to slam on the brakes. He's traveling maybe 9 miles per hour UNDER the speed limit, and apparently needs to pass all those in front of him who are traveling 10 miles per hour under the speed limit.

Only thing is, after Farmer John has passed 1 or 2 cars, the others on the right (not wanting to be passed legally on the left by a 1984 Rambler) speed up to only about 5 miles per hour under the speed limit, so now they're leaving him (and me behind him) "in the dust," as it were. Soon there are large gaps on the right. So, surely he will pull back over into one of them, right?

The answer, of course, is not unless I do so first.

In my head I realize such idiots may cost me (at worst) 5 minutes' worth of extra commute time. And I would gladly suffer 5 minutes for a fool if I met them in the supermarket. But hey, that's 5 minutes I will never get back. And now, I'm fighting back expletives which I later must repent for. Or worse, if my wife is with me, I'm getting a lecture about the physiological benefits of calming down.

But, I've saved the biggest pet peeve for last. It's not a person ... it's plumbing.

Plumbing seems like it ought to be so simple. It's not like electricity, which can kill you if you touch something in a moment of stupidity (of which I typically have plenty) ... right?

Electrical problems don't frustrate me. I know my limits. I call for professional help.

But plumbing is another matter. No one should have to pay in excess of a hundred dollars an hour to a guy with a wrench and a "snake," whose pants ride so low that my wife wakes up crying every night for a month thereafter.

So I attempt plumbing repairs myself. Which invariably involve multiple trips to the hardware store. (The first trip is no problem, but on every one thereafter I am using successively more and more expletives.)

And, as soon as you fix whatever it was the problem was, something else not originally the problem immediately becomes the problem.

By the way, did you know that the only thing separating that stuff you flush down the toilet from your nice luxurious shag carpeting is wax? And that using a blowtorch on said wax in a wholly genuine attempt at creating a more effective union can not only cause it to fail, but can light your entire house on fire? Incredible but true.

I'm sure by now you're wondering, "Why did he become a web guy instead of a plumber? He really seems to have such a firm grasp of the trade."

Which brings up another pet peeve: People who call themselves my friends who can more effectively wield sarcasm than I can wield a wrench ...


Jackie said...

I too am plagued by the scourge of telemarketers. I'm a receptionist, who has to be somewhat of a gate-keeper. You would not believe the number of SPAM calls I get in a day, it's ridiculous.

There was this one guy who, no matter how many times I've given him the "DO NOT CALL" schpiel, would keep on calling us back. It got to the point where we had to block his number!

I asked my supervisor if I could play a sound clip of Gandalf the Grey bellowing "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!" if he called back, but she said no.

Leslie said...

We used to get a lot of telemarketing calls, trying to sell us upgraded phone service. My husband would say to them, "Well, thank you, but we don't have a phone." They would usually say something like, "Wow!" and then they'd say "Oh, sorry to bother you!" and my husband would say, "No problem. Have a great day!"
He'd hang up and we would die laughing at the fact that none of these telemarketers ever said, "What do you mean you don't have a phone -- I'm TALKING to you, ON THE PHONE!" Nope, they never said that. They all apologized for bothering us, and then politely hung up.
Too funny.