We all have a few things that just get under our skin and drive us crazy, like nails on a chalkboard. I think most of my pet peeves concern grammar, and although I’m not always concise and precise when speaking, I do make every effort to use proper grammar when I write. Driving abilities, or inabilities can also irritate me. While I have been known to speed on occasion (rarely more than 5 mph over the speed limit), and run a red light every now and again, the majority of my driving would be considered safe and law abiding. So, just what are those things that make me scratch my head, grit my teeth, and clench my fists?
Let’s start with me, myself and I. I’ve read many business letters from upper level management when I worked for Coca-Cola, and was shocked by how many of these so called, highly educated people made basic grammatical errors. Of course, their assistants could be responsible for the errors, but as the person whose signature appears on the document, you’d think they would want everything correct. For example, “If you have any questions, please contact Joe Smith or myself.” Argh! Or same sentence using “I” instead of myself. And “Me and Joe will answer questions.”
One my grandmother drilled into me dealt with phone etiquette. Always identify yourself first before asking for Lauri, not, “Is Lauri there?” And the correct answer is, “This is she.” Not, “This is her.” And NEVER call someone and greet them, “Who’s this?” My answer is either, “Well who is this?” if I’m in a snotty mood, or, “To whom did you wish to speak?” And while slightly off the subject of grammar, don’t hang up on someone if you dialed incorrectly, apologize for inconveniencing them. Also not related to grammar, but related to phone calls, are the unsolicited calls. I like to tell the caller I am very interested in what they have to say or sell, but need to call them back when more convenient for me. I ask for their home phone number. Most start to rattle off an 800 number, and I stop them and repeat that I want their home number. They usually hang up. The Do Not Call List has eliminated most of these calls, so I miss having that fun.
Always high on the list, they’re, there, and their; you’re and your; passed and past; lose and loose. One of my favorites, “He don’t have none.” A phenomenon I see more in writing involves the use of said and asked. If your character is asking a question, it isn’t, “Did you fix the flat? he said. He didn’t say it, he asked it. One would think having a Special Needs kid would make me more tolerant of grammar errors, but unless I know someone has a learning disability, I don’t have the patience. So sue me.
My biggest peeve about driving is when other drivers don’t maintain a constant speed. Granted, this has to be on a freeway where hills and engine capacity don’t have an effect. Nothing irritates me more than someone whose speed varies from 45 to 65. When you try to pass, they speed up, when you drop behind, they slow down. Second on the list is someone speeding up on my bumper when I am in the fast lane, obviously in the process of passing someone, but not safely ahead enough to return to the slow lane. Next would be tailgating on a 2 lane road; I’m going the speed limit or slower because of traffic in front of me, there is no place for me to go, or for you to go, so get off my tailgate!
The last peeve I’ll share concerns returning phone calls. If you tell me you will call me before the close of business, you better call before 5 pm, or other agreed upon time. Even if you don’t have the information I seek, call and tell me you don’t have it yet and reset my expectation. If you’ve passed me off to someone else, call me and tell me who that is with their number, so again, my expectation is changed.
Phew, I’m not sure I feel better after relating my pet peeves, or if I’ve just agitated myself unnecessarily. Oh well, maybe you’re entertained at least. Feel free to share some of your pet peeves!