I was at a diner, sipping Irish coffee while I listened to two friends complaining about the world.
“You know what bugs me?” said the wife. “We’re just back from a doctor’s office and I want to know, why is it that they always put their offices in buildings with doors you can hardly open?”
She’s a rather tiny little person. She continued, “Are they making a point about how weak we are? Do they want us to pile up, exhausted at the doorstep, like salmon who died attempting a waterfall?”
“It might have gone better,” said her husband, “if you had noticed the little sign that said ‘Use other door.’”
“Or if you had simply opened the door, for me!”
“You asked me to park the car, remember?”
“Oh. That’s right. Which reminds me — coming home, when I was in the passenger seat waiting for you, it wouldn’t let me turn on the radio or the air conditioning. Your greatest-thing-since-melted-cheese electronic key insisted that I get out, run around, sit in the driver’s seat, and turn on the engine, just to have some music while I waited for you. Our old car never bossed me around like that — I could just lean over and turn the key. Those electronic keys are highly annoying.”
“You know what bugs me about my doctor’s office?” I joined the discussion. “I really hate how they have this enormous voice mail menu, but they say, ‘Listen carefully, as our choices have changed.’ Those choices have never changed! They haven’t changed since the Year One. And what if they have, would it really matter? So why do they say that? It’s one of my Top Ten peeves.”
“Peeves! I love that word,” said my friend. “I’m feeling peevish myself.”
“So OK,” I say. “Let’s list a few more.”
“What about those voice mail systems that make you speak the number you want — say, to get a bank statement or for your credit card — and then say they can’t understand what you’ve said?”
“Yup — a quality Peeve.”
We each got another drink. I took a break to use the restroom.
“You know another thing I hate?” I said when I got back. “How your sleeves always get so wet when you wash your hands.”
“And how the front of your shirt gets so wet,” my friend said, eyeing mine. “There’s almost always a little puddle of water waiting to get you.”
“I hate those stalls — they’re so narrow sometimes, you can hardly turn around to shut the door. Who designs those things, anyway?”
My friend and I both looked pointedly at her husband.
“Don’t blame me,” he said. “I’m not an architect — I’m a software guy.”
We kept glaring at him. “I don’t do voicemail either, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“You know, you haven’t helped us very much with our Top Ten list.”
“Oh, is that what we’re doing here? OK,” he said, “Here’s one: I hate it when meetings have whiteboards, but they’re already covered with notes from somebody else’s session, years ago.”
“Well, you know why that is,” said his wife.
“It’s because all the whiteboard markers are always all dried up. So what are you supposed to do? You’ve got a meeting to run, so you use a regular marker, and become that guy whose notes are up for all time. A plain old chalkboard would be much more useful.”
“Good one,” I said. “I think we’re done.”
“Nope,” said the software guy. “By my count, we’ve only got nine.”
“Nitpickers!” I answered. “My biggest peeve! And that makes 10. Thank you and goodnight.” Then we all paid up, and my friends gave me a ride home in their wacky new electronic-keyed car.
If you have some pet peeves to share, please let Judy know at JudyEpstein411@gmail.com. Perhaps she’ll have enough to publish another list.