Service of Pet Peeves

May 27th, 2010

Categories: Accommodation, Courtesy, Indifference, Manipulation, Pet Peeves, Timing

Sharing a pet peeve with friends takes the edge off and allows me to move on quickly to important things. Here are 10 of my mine. Many of the circumstances have been changed to protect the innocent:

**I’m glad to lend you a pen when you come to a meeting without one–it happens to everyone–but please return it.

**Inform me privately of an important development that affects me rather than tell me in front of a million people. Example: A partner or boss announces major news–retirement, extended trip, sabbatical, operation, bankruptcy–to a client or table full of dinner guests. I don’t like to hear daunting information in a crowd.

**This is similar. If you want to give Aunt Mamie’s oil painting to a neighbor, don’t ask me if it is OK in front of the neighbor. Give me a chance to respond in private. The answer might surprise you.

**I take my coffee with skim milk. If I am buying the coffee, I want the cup I get to have the skim milk in it. I don’t want to put down my pocketbook, newspaper and tote to open the coffee cup lid, find the right milk container, pour the milk, replace the top and find a napkin to clean drips.

**Make it easy on volunteers. Don’t expect me to find the attachment you sent last week or remember from last month the phone and code numbers I need to enter a scheduled conference call. Send me all the info each time you want me to react.

**Don’t roll your eyes if I ask a question. There’s an equal chance that your instructions weren’t clear as that I’m stupid.

**If you don’t want to do something, don’t offer to do it and then forget.

**People crowd subway doors leaving a bubble of space in the middle of the car. When I politely ask to squeeze in to take the unused space, they stare at me in anger and don’t budge. If I don’t want to be late, I have to shove in.

**Drivers who pull out in front of me, just as I near their road, causing me to slam on my brakes, are an irritating and hazardous bunch. Most of the time there isn’t another car behind me for miles. I’ve asked taxi drivers about this. They tell me that it often happens to them, on a rain-slicked street, and the drivers, leaving a garage or parking spot, have the newest, fanciest cars.

**Municipalities that ignore countless dangerous intersections without taking steps to add traffic lights and/or signs or make easy fixes that would save lives and reduce accidents, flabbergast me. How come there is no money to fix or alter them but there is money to pay for funerals, hospitalization, body and car repairs or replacements?

I no sooner finished the list when an 11th   pet peeve happened. As I came in this morning, shoulders loaded with bags, balancing coffee cups and angling to free up a hand to pull open the door, I noticed a young man standing on the sidewalk less than two paces away from the handle. He looked at me but didn’t budge to help. Grump.

Boy, do I feel better just getting these out of my system! Please share your pet peeves.

9 Responses to “Service of Pet Peeves”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    A) I agree with your eleven listed PEEVES.

    B) Being a truly “Grumpy old man” in New York City (as you may imagine)
    there is not enough disk-space on any blog for MY LIST of Peeves!
    EVERY-THING and EVERY-BODY makes my list!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank, I am glad I’m not alone.

    However, I do not agree with your description of yourself. You are neither grumpy nor old. After Monday off, you will feel like a new person.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Must have been born old and cranky, since I’ve always found it so easy to grouse over just about everything that comes down the pike, starting with childhoods grownups who cluttered my life and stretched credibility with convenient and/or self serving lies, to many present day politicians and public figures who replace the deceased “grownups” in that role.

    To make myself happier, I have thrown these along with related and unrelated annoyances out of my life.

    One huge gripe remains: I’m in a doubled (bridge) contract destined to make overtricks, and the computer crashes. Just can’t seem to get over that sort of thing! Anyone for tarring & feathering Con Edison & running it out of town on a rail?

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Your overtricks sound complicated–might the program take up more space than you have left in your computer?

    I work at the library in a small town near our house almost every Saturday and its computers give agita as they lose copy or close down suddenly without warning. I can’t blame Con Edison..but the viruses the folks who use the computers introduce.

    My office computer crashes at times, but again, I think it is due to a site I may have visited and when it really got “sick” a few months ago after doing research for a project, I lost my hard drive and was out of commission for almost a week.

  5. Diane Baranello, C Said:

    Well, Jeanne, I have two peeves that really steam me … one, friends or colleagues who agree to join me for an event and then cancel at the very last minute. Do they consider that perhaps I may have refused invitations in order to honor our plans? Values are important personally and professinally.

    The other thing that irks me is all the free advice folks offer … when none is asked for. Sometimes, I just want to share a problem but am not asking for solutions. Well, thanks for your opinion.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In the first instance, I agree with you a million percent, especially if you haven’t been warned that the person is under the gun with a deadline or that they think they may be catching a cold. Sometimes, if I didn’t really want to go and it didn’t cost me anything yet, it comes as a relief because I’d rather go home and relax.

    And there’s a silly reason I hate last minute cancellations. I may have worn a better outfit that day that now needs dry cleaning or a suit I could have worn to another event that week and it’s too late to change because I am already at the office when I get the news or I ate a big lunch figuring I wouldn’t be back home until after 9 p.m. and now….

    Before I go on about the second instance, nobody can argue with a pet peeve. If something annoys you and it doesn’t annoy me, the WORST thing I can say is, “don’t’ be silly, so the guy didn’t open the door for you? Why were you carrying all that stuff anyway?” or “If you had a better relationship with your boss or partner, they wouldn’t surprise you with horrible information in public,” or “you are obviously a terrible driver if you blame blind entrances or exits for anything.” And if THAT is what you mean by your second peeve, I’m with you!!! You want to vent, so LET YOU VENT.

    However, if you tell someone you have a horrendous case of poison ivy they may, in good faith, share a grandmother’s remedy even though you didn’t ask for one.

    Let’s face it: Some people “get” what you need when you speak out and others don’t and never will.

    If I don’t have it right yet, I wonder if you are especially annoyed when the unsolicited advice shows that the listener doesn’t take into consideration your circumstance, when they know it, or the dynamic between you and the person you might be grousing about. For example, if you need a salary and you work for a horrible boss, to suggest you should quit tomorrow without another source of income is irrational. If your sister, whom you love, is currently driving you crazy by being aggravating to say, “You should never see her again,” is so off the mark and inappropriate that you are now more annoyed at the listener than you are at either the boss or sister. [Maybe they’ve done you a favor?]

  7. Ann L Said:

    One major peeve of mine is waiting for a person who you have planned to meet and is late. It is so awful.

    Last week, I waited for nearly half an hour for someone. I was getting ready to leave the restaurant when the person arrived. Her hair was still wet from her shower !!!!!

    I once flew on a very early flight out of New York for an early meeting in Cleveland. I arrived on time and was kept waiting for over an hour. When the client arrived he simply said “Sorry, I had a late start!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    The time issue is a huge peeve of mine………………….

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Ann L,

    I agree with you–wasting a person’s time is a way of stealing from them. One of the mentors I most respect “fired” the student he mentors because he was late too many times. The last time, the mentor waited for the student for 10 minutes and left. When the fellow called to tell him he was there five minutes later, the mentor said, “This isn’t working for me.”

    Further, that’s what cell phones are for. Letting the person you are meeting know what’s happening–traffic jam, that there are no busses or cabs, that a client called as you were walking out the door or a friend in distress–frees them to do something else or to cancel the whole thing if they need to get back to work.

    I had friends who kept us waiting at busy restaurants for up to an hour on Saturday nights. This was a habit with them. We finally got smart and agreed to meet them only at their house or ours for drinks first. Otherwise, the stress of wasting a table and feeling under pressure to drink more than we wanted to or to order appetizers we didn’t want spoiled the evening for us.

  9. Jeremiah Said:


    My biggest pet peeve has to do with Chicago, a city I’ve always enjoyed visiting and of which I have especially sad memories at this moment.

    I suppose it was somebody in Chicago who foisted off upon us “Chicago Style” as being the right way to write English. I was taught otherwise, am used to the way I was taught, and more importantly like it better. I find this Chicago stuff confusing, illogical, and impossibly difficult to remember in detail and get right. Furthermore, it also makes it harder for me as a reader to understand the nuances of an author is about.

    Then this business of not using Latin words like “circa” when they’re appropriate is also for the birds. I spent five miserable years trying to learn Latin and hated it, but long afterwards learned that it wasn’t lost time. Studying Latin taught me to appreciate how words evolved, acquired their meanings and became the rich things they are. Now those Chicago people want me to forget what Latin taught me?

    I live in New York. I don’t see why I should take orders from those parvenu upstarts in the Midwest when I write? Why don’t more people complain?


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