Pet Peeves: Stupid vs. Relevant

Whoever is pet peeve free shall cast the first stone. But who among us is pet peeve free? Indeed, what the hell is a peeve? Apparently it is, “a source of annoyance or irritation.” It’s no wonder we make them pets.

I believe there are two types of pet peeves.

Type I: Stoopid Pet Peeves

Stoopid Pet Peeves are in regard to things that are harmless and inconsequential, and being both harmless and inconsequential, we’re ultimately being stupid for having them. For example, I get annoyed when people from out of state refer to freeways by putting “the” before them as in, “I’m on ‘the’ I-5,” or, “To get to Ikea first take ‘the’ I-84.” “No mother fucker!” I knee jerk react, “It’s just fucking I-5!” Does it matter if people use the prefix “the” before referring to highways? Absolutely not. It’s harmless, as in it doesn’t harm me or anyone else, and it’s inconsequential, as it’s a pointless waste of my time to say anything much less care.

Note to self: it’s interesting (to me at least) that not being particularly tribal (what was it Groucho Marx said about not belonging to any club that would have him?) I have this pet peeve that at its core is about identifying us vs. them, separating someone into another team or tribe, or more specifically, identifying people who aren’t from Oregon based on this one trait, then railing against them.

Type II: Relevant Pet Peeves

Relevant Pet Peeves are ones that pertain to something that is either consequential or harmful and something most people don’t necessarily notice or care about. For example, I can’t stand it when people leave shopping carts in parking lots after shopping. In my mind it denotes two character traits. First, it means someone is lazy; even while I suffered enormous pain while undergoing a decade or so with undiagnosed Lyme I always put my cart back so I don’t buy the bullshit excuse someone who pushed it out full of, say, groceries, can’t walk it back to the store. Does laziness make the act of leaving a grocery cart in a parking lot consequential or harmful? Not really. But it is consequential: it has an economic cost to businesses having to bus parking lots. And it’s potentially harmful: at the very least they can cause superficial when slamming into vehicles and at worst, if they end up rolling for any reason, be the cause of a real vehicular accident.

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking this last one is just silly and I’m being judgmental. But that’s sorta what a pet peeve is, isn’t it? And the whole shopping cart is one of mine that a lot of people don’t care about but others do—it just happens it’s an example of something that annoys the fuck out of me because it falls into that “relevant” category, i.e. something some people do that they could easily not do that has potentially harmful consequences. And I think that’s important to ask ourselves. Are our peeves ones that are just plain stupid, irrelevant, and inconsequential, preventing us from connecting to others when we otherwise would, or are they on some level said, valid criticisms of something in the world around us that could be changed and as a result has the potential to make life a little better?

Something to think about.


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