Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sweat the Small Stuff

“Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren't really that big of a deal. We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion.” -Author Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
The words of Richard Carlson can evoke groans of reluctant agreement. Yes, we shouldn’t “sweat the small stuff” and “it’s all small stuff”-- yet we are all susceptible to those little insignificant annoyances. You know, the thing your roommate does that makes you want drop-kick them off a balcony. And forget trying to bring it up- tactfully or not- it will unfailingly make them do it more boldly and more frequently. The more conscientious, or perhaps just pretentious, among us pretend not to have pet peeves, but we are all unjustifiably irritated at some point. Instead of trying to pretend that our pet peeves are insignificant, we should bring them into the light and wave the peeve flag proudly. I’m not advocating blatant recalcitrance, but pet peeves have been wrongly labeled as triflin’ matters. In an attempt to normalize pet peeves, I’ve included a list of mine. I realize this will open myself up to those who find it funny to purposefully aggravate me (hmmm this is strangely remeniscent of the “Five Texts You Should Never Send" blog-- after which I got massive amounts of “Are you mad at me?” texts, closely followed by “You there?”). I’m going to proceed, however, because someone has to take that first step. To be fair, I’ve included a list of things I do to annoy other people, just to show that no one is perfect. ;)
The List:
  1. On the top of the list, is people who chew loudly. It’s not petty when it incites violence. I had a very intense moment with some guy who tried to finish a bag of corn nuts during a test. Fortunately he put the bag down before the situation escalated.
  2. People who find out that I hate people who chew loudly and decide to become that person.
  3. People who refer to God as “that big guy in the sky”, “the man upstairs”, or any other variation that could also be used to describe a peeping-tom.
  4. People who literally pause for your laughter, forcing you to either A.) look like a jerk or B.) use precious energy trying to conjure up a realistic sounding laugh.
  5. People who say “That is SO funny” instead of actually laughing. If it compliments a genuine laugh, that’s one thing, but if it is used in place of a laugh--we have a problem. Like, was it really funny? Because if it was, I feel like you would have laughed. But you didn’t. At all. It’s the equivalent of saying “I know you can’t see it on my face, or in the tone of my voice, but I am so amused right now. Take my word for it”. (These people can be sympathized with if they are with “pausers” for an extended period of time.)
  6. People who tell you you look tired. I wasn’t. I just didn’t shower. Why do I look scary? Because now I feel scary-looking. If you have a pillow and a bottle of valium, go ahead and ask me if I’m feeling tired- because you came with a solution. If not, then assume I’m perfectly rested.
  7. People who will bypass the 6 open stalls in the bathroom and take the one RIGHT next to you.
  8. People who judge you for using the courtesy-flush approach. I’m sorry I wasted water flushing when I didn’t need to because I had stage-fright and didn’t want to spend 23 minutes waiting for the girl fixing her hair to leave. I hope mother nature can forgive me.
  9. People who clank the utensil on the bottom of the dish so they can scrape up a microscopic amount of whatever they used to be eating. Just lick the plate. Quietly.
Things I do to trigger other people’s compulsions:
  1. Put back the container with one sip/bite left. Yep. I’m that person. And um...technically, there is still some left...and you finished it... so you have to throw it away. . .
  2. Spend the night at your house and don’t bring anything with me. Can I borrow your pajamas? toothpaste? hairbrush? shampoo? ... toothbrush? Yeah. Toothbrush.
  3. Speed up when I see you trying to get over, then immediately slow down when you get behind me. I KNOW! But is so funny to watch the reaction in my rearview. I once played this game for a good 10 miles, much to the horror of my passengers.
  4. Use profuse “lol”’s while texting. Those of us who are not elitists, realize that just because you didn’t actually laugh out loud, doesn’t mean you can’t use it. A well placed “lol” really adds a level of friendliness, and smoothes the conversation along. Example:
“I think you’re a dirty”
5. Use texting language in real conversations, even if it is more invoncenient or is nonsensical.             Example:
>“Hey guys I need to answer this call, brb”
>> “ARG! don’t use texting language in a real conversation!”
**old people note: “brb” = be right back
This list serves to remind us all that pet peeves are just part of who we are-- a part of our unique makeup. So friends, the next time someone clacks noisily on their keyboard, taking breaks only to slurp up giant swigs of coffee from a never ending cup, don’t suppress your instincts to politely remind them that they are dangerously raising your blood pressure and need to stop immediately. I think if Richard Carlson ever heard how loud they were being he would sweat, profusely.

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