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     Volume 9 Issue 43| November 05, 2010 |


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Straight Talk

An Assortment of Pet Peeves, Bugbears and Mild Irritations


Right now I have a migraine, my throat is sore and I have a sniffle which seems to indicate that I am coming down with a cold and the kids are being....well kids and making me irritable. In other words I feel like a bear with a sore head – literally, and feeling grumpy and rather sorry for myself.

The thought then occurred to me that if Julie Andrews in the film 'The Sound of Music' could sing a song about 'a few of her favourite things' such as 'raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens' – then I could write about a few of my not so favourite things like 'people with no manners and those who are fake, wet winter days, and lizards and snakes'! Okay maybe I will not indulge myself as far as boring you with my pet hate of lizards (I suffer from an unnatural fear of tiktikis) nor will I impose upon you a detailed account of my dislike of snakes but I do hope you will not mind too much while I air some of my pet peeves. The list may be rather extensive so I will keep it to a bare minimum, who knows some of you might even agree with me!

I think age definitely has a way of making some people less inhibited. Take myself for example, even a few years ago, if someone had said something to upset me or somebody had been rude to me somewhere, I would never have thought to say anything to them. I would have seethed internally and in my head would have thought of a hundred cutting things to say but never actually voiced them. But these days if I find myself in a situation where I feel that people are being impolite or discourteous, I have no qualms about expressing my opinions and it is usually the little things that really irritate me. For example, I find it exasperating when you are walking down the street minding your own business and someone shoves you or barges past you even if it is accidental, and then do not even bother to acknowledge that they may have winded you or say sorry.

Also, why is it that some people find it so hard to say the words please and thank you? No one is asking them to perform complicated brain surgery and it does it not cost anything nor require a huge amount of effort to mouth these few syllables but it can make a difference to the person it is directed at. You would be surprised at the driving etiquette that people try to maintain in England. There are specific do's and don'ts when you are on the roads. For example, if a car lets you onto a main road from a side street you would be expected to wave your hand or flash your hazards lights to say thank you. That is a definite 'do' and when people are remiss about it there is often gesticulation and head shaking. When I feel that I have been particularly considerate about my fellow motorists and they fail to acknowledge it I find myself shouting 'you're welcome' to them although I am aware that not only are they unable to hear me but my sarcasm would be lost on them.

Talking about inconsiderate behaviour, when I am walking into a shop or a building, I tend to hold the door open if I see someone behind me to allow them to pass through and some people just walk past me and don't bother to say thanks as if I was their personal doorman! Even a smile would suffice. As for people who find it hard to smile at others – don't even get me started on that topic.

Another bugbear of mine is that I really find it hard to deal with individuals who are pretentious, hypocritical and fake. Have you ever found yourself in the company of someone who constantly feels the need to tell you how good they are at something or the other or have a tendency to inform you how everyone adores them or has a penchant for name dropping? My instincts usually tell me to put on my metaphorical trainers and run before I get sucked into a world of self adoration and smugness. Although narcissists can be generally rather irritating, they are on the whole harmless and not malicious.

Sadly there are also some people we come across in our daily lives who smile sweetly and speak softly to you and then waste no time talking behind your back. Some are also more than happy to give unwanted advice and pass judgment on others without being encouraged and sometimes are themselves guilty of the transgressions they accuse others of. They must be the followers of the saying 'do as I say not as I do' and definitely on my list of 'not so favourite things'!

Trust me grumpiness is a terrible affliction and one that should not be taken lightly. All you have to do is read my article to realise how it can affect one's mind. I am sure that when my migraine has subsided, my throat cleared up and my sniffles gone, I am going to be mighty peeved and highly irritated at myself for having subjected you to this diatribe.



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