I don’t have all that many “pet peeves,” but there are a few things in life I do find a bit bothersome.
Although they all amount to little of nothing in the big scheme of things, here are a few (in no particular order):
• Inconsistent restaurants.
You and you wife eat at an establishment a time or two and both think it’s absolutely wonderful. You want to share your discovery with friends or relatives, so you brag about the place and set up a date to go there with them.
When you do, the wheels come off. The rib eye steak is chewy, the sauce on the chicken marsala has nowhere near the same zest as before, the deep-fried green beans are soggy, the spinach and romaine lettuce in the salad is limp and the sweet tea tastes a little like the Ajax wasn’t adequately rinsed out of the glass it’s in.
You feel let down and you’re left with nothing to do but apologize. You also don’t feel like going back.
• Apostrophe abuse.
I touched on this before in this column several years ago. At a past job, I sort of earned the reputation of being the “apostrophe police.”
But you can always count on the little buggers to be frequently used when they’re not needed. It’s not really that complicated; they’re used to denote possession (like the car is Bob’s) or a contraction (a word that combines two words, like don’t, which of course means is do not).
They’re never used to signify plurality. Like to indicate there’s more than one transmission, the word is simply transmissions. It always cracks me up when you see a sign or an ad that contains both correctly and incorrectly spelled plural words (for example: “Special’s on shoes,” or “Burgers and sud’s”).
• Honk-happy drivers.
I’m always amazed when someone honks their horn at me when I’m driving and make a move that’s 100-percent normal or necessary. On my way home from work the other day, I slowed down to turn from one highway to another. It’s a 90-degree turn, so negotiating it without ending up in a ditch requires slowing down to a virtual crawl – as would be the case with any 90-degree turn.
As I began speeding up after the corner, a horn sounds long and loud from a vehicle that was apparently right behind me. I didn’t see whether it was a man or woman, but in my experience, it could have been either.
To you who honked: I’m sure you’re a far better driver than me and you’re able to make your gigantic SUV fly around 90-degree corners at high speeds without so much as skidding an inch. Please forgive my incompetence and I’m sorry for being in your way.
I forgive you for your pompous impatience.
• Drivers who speed up when you try to pass.
Speaking of annoying driving habits, I can’t stand it when you go to legally pass someone on a two-lane highway who’s been sauntering along at about 10 miles per hour under the speed limit and they speed up significantly while you’re in the oncoming lane trying to get around them before the passing section ends.
Come on, really?
• Beginning an alphabetical “list” in a conversation, but never getting past the first letter.
For example, someone says, “I did it because, A, I wanted to make sure that blah blah blah, and boy, was I glad I did.” What about B? There was no need for A if there’s no B. The same goal would be accomplished by just saying, “I did it because blah blah blah” without leaving a listener hanging and wondering what could have been.
The bottom line is, if you “A,” you must then “B.” But never go beyond “C” (just sayin’).
• Starting every statement in a conversation with the word “so.”
I don’t get it, but you hear it all over the place now, from TV and radio interviews to small talk at local fast food establishments.
“So, the reason the machine works so well is…”
“So, there are many aspects to the group’s actions…”
“So, you start with a pinch of garlic…”
It’s like beginning a written sentence with the word “well.” It has no purpose – and it’s just plain weird.
I realize none of this affects the economy or world peace, and there’s nothing here that it will help anyone survive a natural disaster. And come to think of it, it all amounts to more material for a newspaper column “about nothing” (like the Seinfeld Show, as I always say), so I should probably be thankful rather than peeved.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: email@example.com.