The car came up fast behind me on the highway. The driver left little room between us. With a tractor-trailer in front of me in the left lane and slower traffic in the right lane, I was driving as fast as I could and had nowhere to go. One urgent stop, one quick change in our pace, and Speed Racer would be joining me, whether I wanted him or not, in the front seat of my car.
I gently let up on the gas to open up the space between the truck and myself, better to be safe than sorry with the car behind me. Despite the change, the guy behind me stuck tight to my tail lights.
Fortunately for me, the aggressive driver’s exit came on the highway and he was soon veering off the exit to bother someone else. I’d like to say that this experience is a rarity, but I come across crazy, reckless drivers like the one I’ve described all the time in my commute to work.
It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. To help me calm down the final 15 minutes of my commute the other day, I came up with a few other pet peeves:
–People who are chronically and inconsistently late, meaning they’re late five minutes today, 30 minutes tomorrow. You can’t plan around them.
–People who cut in line. It could be waiting to get on a ride at Walt Disney World in Orlando or simply at the DMV for a new driver’s license. Their actions say that you don’t matter, they’re more important.
–People smoking or vaping in non-smoking areas. Hence, my previous comment, you don’t matter, they’re more important.
–Car engine lights. When the light comes on, it’s never wanted and rarely a good thing. Yes, it can help prevent bigger problems, but you never say to yourself, “wow, isn’t this great.”
–Slow walkers. My luck. I’m late to a meeting the other day. I race down the hall, I’m race-walking. You can see the stress in my brow. Of course, the one time I need to get somewhere quickly, I get stuck behind a large group casually heading off to an early lunch. I try to jump around them, but the hallway is narrow. My choices are limited, risk being late or excuse myself, trying not to be too rude, and rush past them. Of course, I rush past them, barely making it in time for my meeting. Oh brother.
–People who let their dogs run free at the park or in the neighborhood. I’m slow as mud, but I love to run. I also love dogs. I get that you say Fido is a cute dog and harmless as can be, but here’s the thing, when Fido is off his leash and comes running full speed towards me, legs churning, muscles pumping and teeth out, I have no idea if Fido means well or thinks I’m lunch. Little dog, big dog, it doesn’t matter. I can’t tell you the number of close calls I’ve had over the years. One day I’m not going to be so lucky.
–Bullies. I hate bullies whether it’s at school during recess or in the work conference room. I hate when someone tries to intimidate or force their way simply because they have more money, power or authority.
–People who talk over you when you’re clearly in the middle of a sentence. Did you want my feedback? Did you want to have a conversation? If it’s a one-way conversation, just keep talking, I don’t need to stick around to hear what you have to say.
–People who don’t know the difference between its/it’s and they’re/their/there. I get that everyone doesn’t love the written word like me. I get that it can even be a little confusing, but words have meaning. Words have power. People should still try to put some effort into their writing.
–People inconsiderate of others. I don’t fly or take the bus much, but guaranteed, when I do, I get stuck in front of the little kid or inconsiderate adult who constantly kicks the back of my seat. Just what I want.
We all have our pet peeves, but, throughout my day, I thought about all the things, big and small, that still give me hope. Here’s ten things I love:
–Fridays. TGIF. No explanation needed.
–Ice creams. Who doesn’t like being a kid? Everyone’s a kid at heart when you’re eating an ice cream cone.
–Prompt responses. It could be response about the weather, but a prompt response says so much more. It says: You matter to me, your request is important to me, how can I help you!
–People who offer you a strong handshake and look you straight in the eye.
–A new calendar at the start of the year.
–A book. New or used, big or small, fiction or non-fiction, it’s all good.
–Crisp, clean water. If you’re not appreciative of clean water, travel to Flint, Michigan or Uganda or Cambodia, outside of the United States. In Uganda, nearly 40 percent of the people need to travel more than 30 minutes to access safe drinking water. It doesn’t end there. More than a quarter of the world’s population, about 2.1 billion people, lack access to clean water, according to a report released two years ago by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Clean water matters.
–A bright sunny day. “The sun always shines after the storm.”
–A clean bathroom.
–A surprise call, text or email from a friend.
The loves far outnumber the pet peeves. I’m not even touching on family. Life has its ups and its downs, but if you keep fighting long enough and you’ll find something to keep you going.