I totally overuse the phrase “That is my biggest pet peeve.” I mean, I probably say it in conversation at least once a day (which tells me that I need to stop being so uptight probably) and it’s usually about stuff that doesn’t really matter.
For instance, when I’m sharing a bowl of queso with someone and he dips and then scrapes the chip on the side of the bowl making the excess cheese drip down the side of the bowl, I get really irritated.
I also get jittery when I see someone in jeans and tennis shoes with their pants tucked into the tongues of their shoes. I have been known to lean down and pull the person’s pants back over the tongues. I mean, I always introduce myself first. To be polite.
I have a hard time taking someone seriously if I hear her say “I could care less.” After that, no matter what comes out of her mouth, all I hear is “I say things that don’t make sense blahblahblahblahblah.” I really can’t go down this road any further because if I start talking about the things that drive me crazy about people talking or writing, we’d be here for DAYS.
How about this one? When I’m playing Monopoly with an adult and they count out the spaces, I want to scream. It’s ten spaces to the end of each side. How hard is it to figure out without taptaptapping across the board? (I know, you’re like--what a yotch! Why would anyone want to hang out with her?)
So, now that I have effectively proven how shallow I am (and driven off potential friends by the droves, I’m sure), let me share with you something that is a LEGITIMATE pet peeve of mine. Like, I just want to punch someone every time this happens.
A couple of years ago, a friend and I took our kids to see the Backyardigans Live! here in North Charleston. There was dancing and singing and adults dressed in giant foam costumes--all the things necessary to entertain children in the under five set for an hour and a half. We were beebopping along, enjoying our time when the characters started talking about how people are different all over the world. Feeling a little proud that my child was being exposed to a lesson in multi-cultural dynamics, I hoisted Will on my hip and said, “Did you hear that, buddy? They are talking about Germany! Oh, listen, we’re talking about Brazil! And Russia!”
At the time, Will was slightly obsessed with his globe (owing to the fact that we had nearly hourly conversations about where Daddy was), and at the age of barely three, he could identify close to 40 countries (again, see: smug suburban mom). Next, one of the characters said something to the effect of “I’m from China!” And we all applauded and reveled in our new knowledge.
And then it happened. Truly, my biggest pet peeve.
The next character said, “I’m from Africa!”
<Insert record scratch.> Stop the damn dancing. And count down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
Africa is not a country, people. Germany! Brazil! Russia! China! Africa! Let’s sing it together in our best Sesame Street voices, “Which one of these is not like the other?”
You have no idea how often this happens. It happens in kids programs all the time, but it also happens on adult programs from game shows to news programs. Because people know I have traveled to “Africa,” it also comes up frequently in daily conversation.
My cousin’s wife grew up in Kenya. Some of my best friends’ dad travels to South Africa on business on a regular basis. My mom used to work with a woman from Egypt. We know a couple of guys who have been deployed to Djibouti. Several friends have hopped down to Morocco during trips to Europe. Another friend traveled to Madagascar to (among other things) learn about vanilla beans. I have done humanitarian work in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Togo. All of those places? Yeah, those are countries.
And in the same way that no one would ever say, “I traveled to North America!” when they really mean Mexico, well, I think you get the point...
And climbing down from my soapbox...now.