Tales of Pet Peeves

Let’s all take a deep breath and engage in some healthy venting about those things that just aggravate the living tar out of us.

Alright, enough already, let’s take the foot off the gas on the blasts into the past. Let’s take on the present!

As regular readers know, I have strong predilection to visit old school Royal Oak and use a fancy word or two that demonstrate I know how to use the thesaurus function, but not today - no sirreee!

For no reason in particular, it seems like a good idea to declare today Pet Peeve Day. Let’s all take a deep breath and engage in some healthy venting about those things that just aggravate the living tar out of us. If done calmly and without specific malice, I find that a general declaration of life’s annoyances and idiots can be far better than blowing a gasket at the actual hapless customer service agent. You know, the one that inadvertently hangs up on you after being on hold for 20 minutes. That actually just happened to me yesterday.

The incident sets up my No. 1 pet peeve. I have begrudgingly begun to accept that I will have to go through three to five electronic “menus” for every customer service call I make. I don’t mind half as much as I used to that it usually requires more than one time through the stinking menus. I’m even OK (almost) with typing in my name, account number and PIN number into the phone keypad even though I have to repeat it as soon as a human being finally answers. Nope, where my eyebrows start to twitch uncontrollably is when I finally get an agent and they don’t know diddly squat about my question.

Case in point

A week ago I called my cable company, after I installed a new cable box, because an unintelligible message came up on my TV screen that would not go away. It was something like, "Vbr-Mxtyplyx Warning! Your Pbr-jxl gizmo is on the fritz."

I don’t know about you, but that message might as well been a poem in Serbo-Croatian. My broad interpretation was, "Give up any hope you will be watching the Spartans game tonight!"

The agent started by telling me she was having a lousy day and the last customer had been very rude to her. I assured her that I was a gentle soul intent only on getting a geek language specialist to help me get my television picture back.

She asked me to read the screen message, which I did. There was a long pause of silence before she asked, “Would you mind spelling that out for me?” That was the dentist visit equivalent to hearing your DDS say, “Oops!”

What ensued was a 10-minute hold, as the lady tried to find a technician to talk to me. I had to listen to Muzak in the background telling me over and over that the Daytona 500 was rescheduled for tonight, which was accompanied by the sounds of roaring engines. I finally gave up. I felt guilty for thinking really rude thoughts about this lady.

In fairness to the cable company and most customer service agents, I called back one hour later and the new agent knew exactly what the message meant and explained very nicely that I had installed a cable backward without making me feel like the technology nimrod I am.

We’re just getting started

My wife, the lovely Kathy, wonders why the same folks don’t ever shovel their walks, even in this non-winter, for those of us who walk year round. How about the folks who blow their leaves past their curb, into the middle of the street over onto the neighbor’s lawn? Or for that matter, the Lone-leaf Ranger that chases one leaf with his high-pitched hand-held leaf blower for what seems like a half hour?

An entire column could be dedicated to "road peeves." I’m pretty sure that our civilization started unraveling when we allowed right turns on red lights. My theory is that one little bit of excess freedom started a general decay in road etiquette leading to rolling stops and feints instead of full stops at stop signs. It began a wave of chaos!

It’s sort of like when the Catholic church implemented Vatican II and the nuns we feared from our cowlicks to toes came back to school one fine September day with “habits” that showed their foreheads and legs. We finally understood that nuns were people, not just nuns! Things were never the same with the fear factor gone.

Where was I? Ah, I was grumbling about right turns at red lights. How about those drivers who pull up just past the sign that tells you "No Turn On Red," crane their necks rapidly like dicky-birds and then swoop right like they’re oblivious. No one’s buying it, folks!

My colleague, Rachel Dixon, who is calm as they come, starts to steam when a parking spot thief swoops in and steals a spot you’ve obviously been waiting for.

It’s clear we could go on and on, but please feel free to join the fun. It’s therapeutic, a venting yoga of sorts. I just have to remember, one man’s peeve is probably another man’s habit!

Become a peevster and leave a comment on your pet peeves in the comment section below.


My much younger brother David, a Dondero High School graduate, has written a food column in his town of Encinitas, CA, titled "Lick the Plate" for several years. He recently started a series of radio spots with talented chefs in the area. The website link is www.lick-the-plate.com. It’s very cool to see David’s success, along with his marketing firm Artichoke Creative, do so well. We’re all proud of our youngest brother

It’s Monday: Let’s go!

Gerry Boylan is the author of the novel Getting There and the short story collection Gerry Tales. Both can be found at Amazon or at the on 12 Mile in Berkley.

Jan Smith March 05, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I still find it annoying when people talk on their cell phones in stores, waiting rooms and other public places. If the call is so important, stay in the car or go outdoors. If it's not, hang up. Parents who ignore their children in order to talk on the phone should be spanked. Who is most important here? Hint: It's your kids. I agree on the turn right on red. When the law was passed, it specified that a turn was allowed only if no traffic was coming. Some drivers have interpreted this to mean "If I gun it, I can make it before the cars hit me." Wrong. Some drivers cannot read signs and will honk at the car in front of them when its driver is obeying the No Turn on Red sign. 12 Mile and Woodward is an example. Uncontrolled dogs who run free and/or bark incessantly suggest that their owners need training and perhaps hearing aids.
Ernie Mahar March 06, 2012 at 12:46 PM
My number one peeve is being on the road when a good samaritan driver in the opposing lane stops for no other reason than to let me turn left in front of them, causing a back-up behind them, and general chaos and trepidation on the part of the reluctant turner, moi. Didn't these people go thru drivers-ed? Does nobody know the right-of-way rules anymore? (Actually, out here in N.E. Pennsy, they really didn't and don't!!)
Tom Wurdock March 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM
One of my pet peeves is the driver in front of me at a corner trying to make a left turn. I appreciate being a careful driver, but these people will not carefully move into the intersection allowing other cars behind them to move up. As as result, he is the only one to make a left turn before the light changes. AAAHHHHH Tom Wurdock
Gerry Boylan March 06, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Yes, it's a tale of many peeves! Thanks for sharing all of yours and may all readers have a peeve-less week!
jack MARWIL March 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Gerry; as is always the case, your insightful reflection on daily happenstance is truly the antidote to the daily malaise that we all face. My most recent conquest of a long standing pet peeve is the following; How many times have you come out to the parking lot, only to find your vehicle damaged, with a nary a note to be found? I had the opportunity last week to catch someone in the act of leaving the scene, as though nothing had happened. Made a police report and notified the owner of the car inside the restaurant that was our destination. The good news is that all parties are now happy, with the exception of the miscreant. Hope this gives all some level of vindication for being a good citizen routinely. Jack.


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