Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Would You Like to Pet My Peeve?

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.


  1. I hear this mistake often. I don't know why we do this!

  2. So ridiculous. I lived in Egypt for 2 years and none of my friends in Nashville can reconcile the two to save their lives. "Now, were you in Egypt? Or were you in Africa?" Although, in their defence, they still refer to my home in D.C. as Baltimore. Wait. Is that in their defence?

  3. It drives me crazy when people get Washington the state and Washington DC mixed up.

  4. I totally should have added this...

    PLEASE feel free to share your pet peeves. In fact, we should just turn this post into a venting session. Let's all vent about things that don't matter! It makes the things that do matter seem less annoying, too, I think...

  5. When we were expats it blew people's minds back home that my best friend was Bosnian. Most had no idea where it was...or if it was a real country!

  6. SO true!! That drives me crazy too! As does the, "I could care less." I can't write any more though - I have to print out a bunch of maps. E and I have some geography catch up to do tomorrow. :-)

  7. Here's a pet peeve I can share. We have a flap book called something like, "Animals in the Rainforest." The thing is...half those animals don't actually live in a rainforest (e.g. giraffe, elephant) and it drives me CRAZY! Everytime one of the boys gets that book out (Why haven't I given it away??), on every page, I end with "And that animal lives in the rainforest," or "That animal does NOT live in the rainforest." Then on the last page where all the animals are together we point out which ones DO live in the rainforest and which do NOT. Huff. Seriously book publishers, get your facts straight.

    Although...having written that, I'm not sure if I feel better or I'm more wound up. :-)

  8. @Jan, that whole part of the world is like a huge black hole for people, I think. My parents were in Muldova once, and one of my friends asked if that was in Georgia. She meant the state, not the country. Obviously.

    @Stacy, you should totally get an Odyssey interactive globe. I know you were kidding, but we have SO much fun with it. I saw it at Marcie Monaco's house one time, and we bought it for Will for Christmas (he had asked Santa for a globe...weird). We probably play with it more than he does. =)

  9. Having lived in Sudan, gone to boarding school in Kenya, and travelled extensively through out Africa that is also a pet peeve of mine. But then most people can't name the 50 states much less the continents, etc. Geography, sadly, is no longer taught in schools for the most part.

    On a different note, The Backyardigans is such a cool kids show! It is much better than Yo Gabba Gabba. I miss Nick Jr now that Charlie is moving onto stuff like SpongeBob (gack!).

  10. It used to drive me nuts when people would ask me if I still lived in North Carolina. Always North, never South. There are TWO of them, people! Both equally valid states.

  11. @Beth, thank you!

    @Elizabeth, thanks for visiting my blog! This age (5) for Will is so interesting because there are days he asks to watch Max & Ruby and others that he wants to watch The Spectacular Spiderman...weird transition. I'm just glad we haven't made it to The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. I'm just not ready for the eye-rolling and mo-omming that comes with that stage.

    @J, EVERY time we go home someone (if not more than one someone) asks, "Now, is it North or South Carolina where you live?" Every time.

  12. @J, P. S. I can only imagine if we move to WA that I'll have to answer,"Now do you live in Washington state or Washington D. C.?"

  13. I had an over-bearing professor from Argentina who cringed when I said "America" instead of "United States." i consider myself well traveled, decently educated (he was my PhD advisor at the time) so i blame laziness (multiple levels) for these repeat offenses.

  14. @T., that's probably the one I'm most guilty of, too. United States of America is just so long...