I consider myself an easygoing person. I do not get rattled all that often. I’m not much for complaining and am quite adaptable to most situations. You won’t see me displaying aggressive behavior or having temper tantrums in public. (But if you did, something would seriously be wrong.) In most casual social situations, I am as accommodating as an Asian can get.
That is, until I come across a pet peeve.
I’ve lived on this planet long enough to know what gets on my nerves and what I can do to minimize the impact of these annoying triggers. To be of assistance to you, dear reader, I want to share both of these phenomenons.
First let’s tackle the updated Official Pet Peeve List of 2020:
- People who leave shopping carts unattended in parking lots.
This is an annual fixture on this list and will likely stay on it until it becomes a felony for anyone to leave a shopping cart unattended outside. I suppose some people cannot be bothered to return their carts to one of the provided kiosks. Instead, they leave the cart hanging around to potentially roll around and hit another car or take up a perfectly usable parking space. Pardon my French, but these people are assholes.
- People who support President Trump.
Even though we live in a democracy in which people have the freedom to support any politician and platform they choose, I cannot continue to stomach any praise and backing for our current president. He is a racist, sexist, misogynistic, pompous, and shallow leader who prioritizes his own fame and power over the well being of the people. Despite appearances, everything he says and does occurs with the goal to singularly advance his selfish desires, and he is easily influenced by his handlers who have special interests and motives of their own. After 4 years of his administration, there are people who fail to see any of this. I can’t even.
- People who do not use turn signals when driving.
When driving, switching a turning signal on and off is among the EASIEST tasks. All it takes is a simple flick of the hand, and a notable sign of intent, consideration, and courtesy is given to other drivers. Even so, there are MANY people who do not do so. This aggravates me to no end when I am driving out and about.
- The high-pitched sound of squeaking sneakers.
Generally speaking, I will never hang out at an indoor basketball court. The floors of these places tend to be covered by a glossy hard wood surface that causes the rubber soles of sneakers to squeal frequently during a game of play. That sound drives me absolutely bonkers. Some have argued that it is no different than a flock of small birds chirping outside. As such, I shouldn’t get so bothered by it all. I believe that due to the resonance of sound in a large arena, this high-pitched sneaker noise becomes much more piercing and shrill. By contrast, the sound of birds chirping is much more nuanced and softer in tone because it occurs outdoors and is less resonant. Birds are awesome. Basketball courts hurt my ears. That is all.
- Men who mansplain.
Whether it’s been done to me or to someone else in my presence, mansplaining is annoying and uncalled for. For anyone who does not know what mansplaining is, it happens when a man assumes you do not know anything about a certain topic and starts to assertively explain all of the tedious minutiae of the topic in question, even though you already know everything about it. Mansplaining is presumptuous, sexist, and rude. Even though I’m a guy, it’s been done to me many times most often by older white men. As a younger person of color, do I look ignorant in some way to certain people? Possibly and annoyingly so.
- People who only talk about themselves.
I have been in conversations in which a person drones on and on about themselves and their lives without a moment’s consideration about how I am doing. It’s a one-sided experience that leaves me feeling shortchanged and resentful. To be fair, I am an attentive and patient listener, and perhaps people interpret this as being completely enamored of what they are saying. Even so, a conversation is a two-way street. Talking only about oneself the entire time is selfish and inconsiderate. It does not a good time (or a good friend for that matter) make.
Well then, how do I deal with these pet peeves? Here’s how:
- I take a deep slow breath.
Whenever I encounter one of my pet peeves, be it a rogue shopping cart or a mansplainer at a party, I take a moment to take one or often several deep, slow breaths. This calms me down and helps me to assess the situation better. It allows me to rationally respond instead of going ape shit crazy.
- If at all possible, take the active route.
If I have the opportunity to take action in these situations, then I go for it. If I see a shopping cart in a parking lot, I will take a moment to put it in a kiosk. If someone is talking about themselves, I change the subject to something else and share my personal opinion about it. From there, I keep charging through to other topics and take control of the conversation. My experience as a facilitator for a youth discussion group taught me how to do this smoothly. They never know what hit’em. With the mansplainers, I start to talk assertively about the topic and share my perspective. This shuts them down pretty quickly.
- Avoidance can be my friend.
Just about anyone who knows me personally knows about my aversion toward squealing sneakers in basketball courts. I avoid those places like the plague, and my friends know not to invite me. This works out perfectly fine. When it comes to Trump supporters, I may take a minute to hear their perspective, and then I leave. I’ve found that they often have no desire to listen to a different point of view on the issues. They have their blinders on and guns blazing against anyone who questions them. So, I generally avoid them unless they sincerely want to have a rational conversation.
That’s my pet peeve list for 2020. It could be a much longer list given the state of the world with a global pandemic, pervasive racial injustice, and devastating climate change, but all of that is too overwhelming. If everything was a pet peeve, all would be miserable. This serves no one.
I take time every day to be thankful for what I have and mindful of what I am doing. I exercise and eat nutritious food. I read excellent books and have meaningful conversations. There is very little in my life that is worth complaining about.
Nonetheless, pet peeves exist, and I am better off acknowledging them and how they affect me.
What are your pet peeves, and how do you deal with them? These are questions worth asking. Their answers will lead you to a calmer and more self-assured life.