Readers unload tons of pet peeves

John Kelly
Columnist July 10, 2011

I do not consider myself a hatemonger. Yet there is no denying that in my column of June 20, I catalogued numerous things that I dislike, including sunglasses worn backward on men’s heads and “creative” public marriage proposals.

Would it be any less incendiary if I called myself a pet peevemonger?

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

Whatever I’m called, when I invited readers to share their annoyances, I was inundated. Many of the pet peeves were wonderfully specific. Those are the ones I will be sharing over the next three days. (Yes, three; we are nothing if not perfectionists in Washington.)

But before we start, there was much common ground. Can we agree that the following things — mentioned by multiple readers — have no place in a civilized world?

Flicking a cigarette butt from the window of a moving car. Driving slowly in the passing lane. Not using your turn signal. Leaving a shopping cart in a grocery store parking lot rather than returning it to the corral. Playing the car stereo so loudly that the bass rattles everything for blocks. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Speaking loudly on a cellphone in a room full of people. The complex packaging of simple items: “You shouldn’t need a pair of wire cutters and a Phillips-head screwdriver to release a Barbie doll from her box,” wrote Jonathan Carter of Bristow. Waiters who say, “You still workin’ on that?” as if your meal were a patch of broken asphalt that needed to be jackhammered. Visible underwear on men. Parking in a handicapped space when you’re not disabled. The overuse of the word “literally.” Using atrocious grammar.

And now to some more personal pet peeves.

Bethesda’s Luzie Nahr hates the constant announcements at Reagan National Airport that intone, “The moving walkway is ending. The moving walkway is ending.”

“They don’t serve a purpose, except to annoy travelers and to contribute to the noise pollution there,” she wrote.

Woodbridge’s John DeLucca hates subway riders who ride up the elevator and hold their palms up to see whether it is raining. “Can’t they tell just by looking?” he wondered.

Bob Splain of Bethesda can’t stand it when he’s driving down the road and sees that the driver next to him has a little dog in his or her lap.

“The dog is in total charge, looking out the window, and the driver is rubbing its head,” wrote Bob. “I can just imagine if they were to have an accident and the air bag went off: one very squashed Fifi.”

George Hoskin of Burtonsville doesn’t like hearing the word “niche” pronounced neesch instead of nitch. Wrote George: “Yes, an unabridged dictionary will list that pronunciation — neesch — as a third choice, but that represents only a way that some (not many) people pronounce a word; it is not the preferred choice. Using neesch reflects either ignorance or an affectation, neither of which enhance communication.”

Michael Suritz of McLean hates “the idiots who yell as loud as they can, ‘Get in the hole!’ every time a golfer hits his drive. That may be all right on a Par 3, but oh so stupid on a Par 4 and even more so on a Par 5. These are people who have never played a round of golf.”

Leesburg’s Kelly Kerr hates the expression “That being said.” Wrote Kelly: “If you just said it, why do you have to say you just said it?”

Burke’s Jo Ann Pinney is tired of seeing women’s chests. “Women bend over to do some inane thing like tie their shoe, and it looks like their breasts are going to jump right out and land next to their feet,” she wrote. “Won’t someone please inform the general public that this is not appealing but appalling?”

Sorry, guys.

Send a Kid to Camp

I have another pet peeve: not reaching our goal in the annual fundraising drive for Camp Moss Hollow. Luckily, we still have three weeks left, and we’re making good progress. Our goal is $500,000, and our total so far is $226,657.38.

Please help. To make your tax-deductible gift, go to www.washingtonpost.com/camp. Click where it says “Give Now,” and designate “Send a Kid to Camp” in the gift information. Or mail a check payable to “Send a Kid to Camp” to Send a Kid to Camp, P.O. Box 96237, Washington, D.C. 20090-6237.

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