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.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

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.

My bad.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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Whether big or small, something that bothers one person might go completely unnoticed by other people.

Then again, there are certain things that seem to bother everyone. Ticks, smelly socks and mean relatives come to mind.

But we all have that unwritten list of things we either don’t like dealing with or get annoyed by (OK, so maybe someone wrote their list down, but that’s pretty rare).

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

The common term to describe an item on such a list is pet peeve. They’re things you find hard to understand, hard to justify or in some cases hard to take. They might not be things that stand to affect the space-time continuum, but you have no problem offering three reasons why they’re just plain irritating.

Some of my pet peeves stem from the intersecting of my overly active, overly analytical imagination and my inherent, natural grasp of language and grammar. Try as I might, I can’t help but notice the way words and punctuation are so widely misused and the way simple sentences and statements are often butchered as a result.

I think my favorite example of that is the widespread incorrect, inappropriate and seemingly random use of apostrophes.

The concept of the apostrophe is really not that complicated. An apostrophe is used in a word that denotes possession or is a contraction of two other words.

An apostrophe is not used when a word is spelled in its plural form (never, ever, no way, no how plural).

If the hat belongs to Bob, it’s (it is) Bob’s hat. If Bob has more than one hat, he has some hats. Adding an ‘s’ to the end of a word doesn’t necessarily mean also adding an apostrophe.

Again, not complicated. Nevertheless, apostrophes are slapped in places they don’t belong with amazing regularity.

I marvel when I see something like an advertisement that contains the words “shoes” and “price’s” when both times the reference is simply to more than one of the item.

And when I see a plywood sign on the side of a road painted with blue lettering that says something like “Johnny’s transmission’s,” my eyes sort of automatically roll. Johnny’s transmission’s what? There’s something missing; something that belongs to Johnny’s transmission has to follow for that statement to be complete.

At a prior job, I became known as the apostrophe police. Inter-store messages would show up at the bottom of the computer screen and inevitably contain plural references like day’s and number’s. I loved replying with little “no apostrophe in…” reminders.

The quick-minded ones would come back with “thank’s Davison.”

Then there’s the commonality of incomplete information when complete information would be easy to provide.

I’ve read entire news articles about events and been left wondering when the thing happened. I’ve tuned into high school baseball games on the radio and heard the announcer repeat the score numerous times but been left wondering who’s ahead. And when “space is available,” I’m sometimes left unaware of how much space costs.

It’s like, are we not deserving of the rest of the information? Is this some kind of conspiracy?

So close and yet so far. You can see the ring at the merry-go-round but it’s just out of reach.

One non-English pet peeve of mine has to do with the inexplicable actions of many people employed in jobs that involve dealing with – oh, no – other people.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why some folks feel it’s OK to act so detached, bothered or downright rude when you approach them as they work a job in which they are 100-percent guaranteed to be approached.

You’ve seen it: a convenience store clerk with their back to you as you step to the register, two clerks discussing the last customer’s ignorance for several minutes as you stand waiting to purchase a gallon of milk, or a clerk involved in a personal argument on the phone as the coffee you want to pay for gets cold.

You’ve heard it: a receptionist who speaks to you in a sarcastic, condescending tone as you try to get in touch with the boss, a mechanic who talks like you should already know what’s wrong with your car as you try to describe the pinging sound it’s making, or a time-share salesperson who talks to you like you’re an impoverished peasant if you don’t shell out five figures on a vacation package “like everyone else.”

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it make more sense to just be nice to people you come in contact with at your job? I mean, you’re going to be there from x-o’clock to x-o’clock doing whatever you’re paid to do – why not be nice and enjoy?

It boggles my mind; someone works with the public, but takes an attitude like “great, another person.”

Of course, none of these things apply to anything or anyone local. I’m simply describing my experience as a whole – all of the convenience store clerks and everyone else who comes face-to-face with people on their job in this community display nothing but exemplary behavior 100 percent of the time.

Did I mention that another of my pet peeves is blatant exaggeration?

Doug Davison is a writer, copy editor and advertising representative for the Houston Herald. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.