You know, last week's column caused a bit of a stir. And I received a good bit of feedback from it, which I always appreciate!
Some of you really liked the column about runners and our idiosyncrasies. Hee!
Now, others of you (the non-running sort) were disgusted with the entire notion of runners and walkers being on drivers' roads.
A few even mentioned that having runners in the road was a bit of a pet peeve. That got me to wondering about what's really bugging folks. So I started asking around.
"Tell me about your pet peeves," I began to ask various folks circling my orbit.
I started getting some pretty standard answers.
"Sunday Drivers ... on a Tuesday ... with their left blinkers on ... for 15 miles," said my brother Dan.
Hmm. Well, I suppose that could get to you after a dozen miles or so. Some recurring comments included:
"When people read over my shoulder," "Boys whose pants fall below their beltline, revealing their underwear," and "Parents who are mean to their children-especially in public."
Note: I promised not to name names this week, in order to protect both the confessors and those by whom they are irked. Here are some of the other random comments I received:
"When I'm trying to leave Target with a 2-year-old and a buggy and it's 4-degrees outside and snowing and no one will let me cross the lot to get to my car." Oh, the not-so-good Samaritan complex; I've been that mom many a day.
Yep. And, on the flipside of that, how about the guy who sees the 48 "Road Merges Ahead" construction sign and speeds up to it alone in the fast lane then has the nerve to expect one of the 85 cars he just whizzed past to let him merge in front of them? I hate that guy. But I usually let him in, anyway.
And, while I continued to get run-of-the-mill replies from several respondents ("When a song is going through my head over and over and I can't get it out!" etc.) - what I truly wanted to get at was the little things.
So I re-phrased the question.
"What is it that makes you insane? Not outright moral or social injustices that make everyone see red, but the tiny smoldering embers that light an inferno within you - things that are seemingly insignificant and inconsequential on the surface but yet make you so irritated that you're almost ashamed to admit they chip you off so intensely?"
Now, that's a question.
I got the ball rolling with my own irritant.
"Oh, I absolutely cannot stand it when um, people don't re-secure the top or the lid of something after using it," I thought aloud.
You know what I'm talking about - when the top of the soda bottle or mayonnaise jar is twisted back in place only midway. It invariably results in flat soda pop or a smashed jar of spread spattered about the kitchen. PUT THE LID BACK ON, PLEASE. Kerry, this means you, sweetheart.
And then the floodgates opened.
"Oh, I can't take it when someone uses the same knife to scoop out peanut butter and jelly for a sandwich and gets jelly in the peanut butter. Really? You can't wipe off the knife in between?" said, er, let's call her Jen.
True that. Blech.
"Well, there is this one thing my dad does that makes my mom upset. He'll take a drink of water before bed and then set the glass back in the cupboard instead of the sink," said, um, Sally.
Ew, Sally, I'm with Mom on this one. That is gross.
"When someone eats a meal while talking on the phone with me. Ugh!" said, uh, Callie.
"Or when they call me but continually carry on a conversation with another person," chimed in, um, Cindy.
"When my husband won't clear the microwave timer and it blinks :45 for two days. Dude, clear the timer!"" said "Penny."
One last one:
"Toilet paper. Either put it on so that it rolls out from underneath or just leave it off altogether. Grr " said Jenna. Easy, girl.
But, you know what? I'm more than grateful that we all have the time, ability, and freedom to wax over the list. It means we're healthy and wealthy enough to have such "problems" - and we're tolerating them as citizens of the greatest country on earth. Not too shabby.
Don't sweat the pop top, people. S'all good!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle correspondent. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.