Give Peeve a Chance

(Eric Shansby)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, December 14, 2008

Y'know what I find annoying?

1. Numbered lists

2. Of pet peeves.

I get these lists all the time from readers who think that their personal grievances would make a great idea for my column. Usually, I have to read only one or two ("1. People who fart in elevators. 2. People who get in the '12 Items or Less' lane but actually have ... ") before I hit "delete."

But the other day, reader Kerry Ahern sent in a far more eccentric list. It included: "When someone holds a door for me but I'm more than two steps away," "the sound of a person eating a bowl of cereal," "when I find a great song on the radio but it's in its last five seconds," "when I hold the elevator door for someone and then they push a floor that stops before mine," "when another driver motions to me as if to 'ask' if it's okay to cut in front of me," and "when someone observes that the events in the song 'Ironic' by AlanisMorissette do not, in fact, exemplify irony."

This list persuaded me that it is possible to find straight-forward grievances that still seem original. With a little help from friends and colleagues, here's my list:

1. People who, when searching for information, fill in the silence on the phone by saying "ch-ch, ch-ch, ch-ch, ch-ch."

2. When a customer service rep does not solve your problem, then asks if there is any other way he can be of service today.

3. Any iteration by any politician, at any time, in any context, of the whole "Main Street/Wall Street" paradigm.

4. That disorienting half-second of darkness between the time you flip the wall switch and the time the fluorescent energy-saving bulb goes on.

5. Commercials for diamond merchants in which women are portrayed as materialistic ninnies ("He went to Jared!").

6. When you are walking around the house in socks and step in a bit of water.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company