Friday, November 6, 2009

Life's Little Irritants

It's the little things that get me all riled up.

When I was growing up my parents were always on my brother and I about being polite and having good manners. We learned to chew our food quietly, and never talk with our mouths full. When we visited other peoples houses we were read the riot act in the car, where innocent bystanders were brought into the mix. Rainbow Brite would be sleeping alone in the garage, WITH NO LIGHTS, if I didn't behave. The thought of banishing my precious doll (who had done nothing wrong, by the way) to the dark, damp, forgotten corners of the garage was nearly enough to make me swear off my My Little Pony sheets. SERIOUSLY. We knew that going ANYwhere, regardless of whether our parents were with us or not, meant we had to be on our best behavior. OR ELSE.

Now, my parents weren't monsters who enjoyed watching us cling to our beloved toys for fun. In fact we rarely had actual punishments, as the threats of them were scary enough. Our house was one full of love and music and books and baked goodies. One where crafts were created, and artwork hung on the fridge like a collage of Picasso's earlier work. Suffice to say we had a normal childhood, but our parents made us keenly aware of our behaviors and, thus, extremely aware of the behavior of OTHERS.

Now, as an adult (I'm an adult, right?), I am keenly aware of other people's behavior, much to my dismay. There are things I wish I could ignore, things I'd love nothing more than to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to. Things that I'm sure only bug me, and sometimes I swear I'm the only one to notice them. Mom and Dad's constant desire for us to be respectable, well-mannered, thoughtful human beings has turned me into a respectable, well-mannered, thoughtful, NEUROTIC human being, who has a major list of irritants. Ones that I typically find residing in others. What are those irritants, you ask?

1. Chewing with your mouth open. I can't stand it, which is why it's my number one pet peeve. Hearing someone crunch and salivate and slurp and make guttural eating noises is so obnoxious to me! In fact, if you're around me and are eating like a cow chewing it's cud, I will shoot you dirty looks subconsciously. Yes, I'm aware that it's passive aggressive to do this, but I can't help it. Blame it on my parents who also taught me that you don't have to say EVERYTHING that comes to your mind. Unfortunately, my eyes don't lie EVER and I can't hide my irritation at your noisy noshing. Please resist the urge to slap that look off of my face, and maybe instead focus on chewing with your mouth closed.

2. Clipping your fingernails. Okay, so this isn't an ALL the time irritant for me, but it is when it's not in the privacy of your own home, where ALL PERSONAL GROOMING should take place. Sure, it's one thing if you broke a nail and need to trim it quickly, but to cut every. single. nail. while you're at work? Weekly? Gross! What's next, are you gonna yank your sock off so you can get to the toenails next time? Having worked for 6 years as a licensed nail technician I'm used to the sound. Just not at an office job! It's hard to concentrate or talk on the phone when all you hear is clip! clip! clip! for 15 straight minutes. Plus, if you knew how dirty your nails are, you might think twice about subjecting innocent bystanders to your bodily waste. Make them perfect at home, people.

3. One-uppers. You know what I'm talking about. Or, rather, who. Those people who, no matter what you're talking about, have done the same exact thing only BIGGER! And it took them longer! And it hurt WAY more! And now it's all about them. I guess I could be that polite person my parents raised me to be and realize that maybe this person needs the constant attention, but somewhere in me a fire starts burning and before I know it I'm irritated with that person. Not just the behavior, but the actual being, and it takes me a while to shake it. It's not that I don't want to hear people's similar experiences to what mine are, because I love comparing stories and seeing things from other people's perspectives. It's when they forget that I'm a part of the conversation that I begin to lose it.

4. Talking during a movie/TV show/the news. Does this really need further explanation? I find nothing more frustrating than having someone talk over what I'm watching, and then ask me "What'd they say?" If you'd shut up long enough, you would have heard it! But neither of us did because you had to tell me that your left sock was on inside out. And before you ask, NO, we don't have a DVR, so we don't get to rewind a TV show to see what they said. Unfortunately, some of us just aren't so lucky. Kind of makes me wonder what people did before DVR or TiVo were created... Have we become inconsiderate as technology has grown? Hmm...

5. Unnecessary Anger. I've known people who are angry at everything. The sun, the rain, their job, their spouse, their child, their life. And then they yell. Or get mad at stupid little nothings. Or overreact. I just wish that people would find the positive things and focus on those, instead of finding something that they are unhappy with daily. That constant disappointment must be a heavy load to shoulder.

That's it for now. I had to get those out, because I come across the majority of those things on a daily basis. I couldn't continue to keep it all inside my head because I was getting angry. Angry with the loud chewers, nail clippers, one-uppers, over-talkers, and the pissed off bunch. Being able to write it all out on here helps me to put things into perspective, as well as to let go of other things that I really don't need to hold onto anymore.

So there Internets, I'm shedding that anger cloak and walking away a much happier person.

Happy Friday, all!

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