12: Current Pet Peeves

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Photo by David Klein on Unsplash

Pet peeves, the little annoyances of everyday life. We all know them all so well. I love the word ‘pet peeve’, by the way. The German language is usually pretty creative when it comes to making up single words that describe one thing perfectly (e.g. Schadenfreude), but I have yet to find a good, one-word translation for ‘pet peeve’. Suggestions, anyone?

Some pet peeves are pretty universal, some keep shifting (at least for me). Here are five of my most recent pet peeves:


In light of recent events, I have to admit that not voting is one of my major pet peeves. I know that the midterm elections just had a record voter turnout, even exceeding the voter turnout of 49.2% from 2018, but that’s still just around half of all eligible voters. I know it’s partly due to voter suppression (I get that), but I feel there are a lot of people out there who just refuse to participate in democracy, but then we can’t be surprised if we have leaders that were elected by just 25% of the population.

When drivers roll through stop signs and don’t yield to pedestrians/runners.

I can’t tell you how many times I have almost gotten hit by a car when I was out running because drivers just roll through the stop line. They’re busy looking to the left watching for cars, but they never look to the right to watch for pedestrians. It’s not a yield sign, it’s a freakin’ stop sign and you’re supposed to stop. 

Lonely Office Days

I switched to a hybrid work situation in May and have been going to the office once a week – every Wednesday, minus the summer break – since then. The ironic thing is: I am usually the only person in my office suite. Occasionally, I see a couple of people, but on most office days since May, I could have just as well stayed at home. I’ve gotten almost no interaction with co-workers from my research group when I was there, so what’s the point of coming in? (Disclaimer: I understand why they make us come in at least once a week, and part of me enjoys leaving the house and being in the office for a day, but I also like NOT having to deal with other people, especially since we’re still in a pandemic). As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about this.

When people respond to emails with text messages, chat messages, or phone calls.

Don’t be that person. If I write you an email, I’d like an email in response. I emailed you for a reason. I don’t know but this is something that has come up more and more recently at work, where people respond to my emails in Teams chats or they just call me. Sometimes that is fine if we have to talk something over, but generally, I like a response to a question through the same channel where I asked the question.

Trying to keep track of information between emails, multiple chat strings, and messages attached to project management platforms is getting increasingly difficult. How do you keep track of all the things?

When people block the grocery aisle.

I am usually a very patient and relaxed person when it comes to people around me. I can extend grace most of the time, but I can also get impatient when people are just “aloof” to what’s going on around them. When I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday (in the early afternoon on a Friday = bad idea), there we two ladies chatting it up in the pantry aisle and they were just blocking the complete aisle with their carts. Everyone was trying to squeeze around them and they made no effort of moving to a more convenient area for catching up, but also seemed annoyed that people were passing between them with their carts. THIS IS A GROCERY STORE.

Voice Messages

I know at least one person (HI TANJA!) who’s going to laugh and roll their eyes at me right now because I know a lot of people like sending voice messages. Okay, I guess they’re fine for quickly catching up. And don’t get me wrong, I like hearing people’s voices! But voice messages stress me out when they’re more than – let’s say – 5 minutes long. Anything longer than 5 minutes feels like a “podcast” to me that I have to plan and make time for (and as you know, I have a hard time with podcasts as it is) and then keep a list to remember everything that I want to respond to – most likely in a text message. Haha. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I am the only person who feels this way. Prove me wrong?

Your turn: share one of your current pet peeves with me!

  1. Haha… yes, do NOT leave me a voice mail! Texting is the greatest invention ever, so please use it.
    Ugh- grocery shopping, especially at Trader Joes- has turned into the worst thing ever. I think the aisles in Trader Joes must be extra narrow, and literally every single thing I want in that store, there’s someone standing in front of it blocking my way. Granted- usually these people are also just trying to navigate their way through the store to do their shopping- it’s not their fault. But it’s still annoying. I’m gearing myself up for a Trader Joes trip this week- should be fun (???)

    1. I am so glad I am not the only person who dislikes voice messages LOL

  2. I’m going to join you in a few of these…
    Non voters, esp those who just can’t be bothered. PLEASE, BE BOTHERED! IT MATTERS! I could go on a long tear about this and the Supreme Court and so on, but I won’t, not right now. Grrr.

    People who roll through stop signs (and red lights), making a right turn, looking to the left. I also have been almost hit too many times to count. I always make sure I make eye contact before stepping in front of a car, even if I have the walk signal, because they JUST.DON’T.LOOK.

    The grocery store thing…I mean, I can understand that they put those stupid displays in the aisles, and it makes it very hard to get by. But standing there talking, and then being annoyed by people trying to get their groceries? Come on. Find another spot to catch up!

    One of my own…hmmm…when my daughter wears a sweatshirt for an hour and then puts it in the laundry basket. (Like today, we went for a nice walk, then ran a couple of errands and had lunch…she came home, took a shower, and went for a nap. There’s no way that sweatshirt needed washing after that.) So wasteful of energy, water, and detergent. She will run the laundry and dry and fold, so it’s not that she is expecting me to be her maid or anything like that. It’s just the waste of it.

    1. I am with you on the “putting clothing that is perfectly fine in the laundry”. My kids are champions in this and I am working on some improvement (how often do you have to say something for it to set in?).

      1. I’ll let you know if it ever sets in…my daughter is 26, so may be beyond hope.

    2. Oh that would be a pet peeve of mine, too, if someone in my house would wear clothing for an hour and then put it in the laundry. Maybe when she lives by herself, she’ll change her ways?

  3. Oh, I will frequently reply to an email with a phone call because the phone call will take two minutes and typing it out would take fifteen. I am that person and I make no apologies for it. If it’s necessary to have some sort of written record, I’ll follow-up with an email, but I’m definitely a phone call lady.

    I find it maddening when entire families go to the grocery store. I’m never really too bothered by single people with children (maybe they’re single parents and they can’t afford a sitter), but if a mom, dad, and several kids are there, I am irate. Just send an adult and leave the other adult at home with the kids! Why do we need five people at the store when one could do the job?!

    1. Yikes – we definitely do the grocery store as a family (40-50% of the time?). It’s more efficient and, quite frankly, it helps fill some hours in the day. Sitting in a car with kids (if we’re running a set of errands) is horrible. I mean I do it all the time if we only need a few items and my husband will run in alone…but it feels like forever, the kids start fighting, someone needs to pee, the car gets too hot…it’s a gong show.

      Also, when we go in as a group we can divide and conquer. And my kids LOVE the grocery store and having a say in picking things out, learning how to shop sales, look at price tag, etc. I have honestly never thought it would upset someone!

      I PREFER to go alone, but it just works out that we do often end up going in as a family (though we tend to split up into groups of 2 to get items).

    2. At my company, they prefer us to make a call if it will be faster, which it usually will. I do like that added step of a reply email, however, because I will completely forget WHY we decided to do things one way vs. another, but if I have an email there I can put it in a folder and there is some hope of referencing it in the future. In that case I will send an email that says, “As was decided in our call, we are doing x, y, z, which solves problem 1 and 2.” Something like that.

      1. That’s exactly how I feel about emails/phone calls, J. I like to have something to refer back to.

    3. There are definitely situations where a phone call is helpful or even warranted, but sometimes I like to have something in writing (for the record and to refer back to), and I do the same, I follow up with another email :)

  4. The laundry comment by J above is spot on – this frustrates me to no end. My kids will “clean” up their rooms by dumping things into the laundry basket. But the joke’s on them – when our daughter turns 12, she’s getting a laundry basket for her room and will be responsible for her own laundry moving forward!

    I HATE phone calls of all sorts. If I could only communicate via text or in-person forever, I would do this. I cannot stress how much I dislike speaking on the phone. And, for some reason, listening to voice mails is something I despise even more than talking on the phone. I think because I no longer have a home phone this bothers me more – I can be in the grocery store when a call comes in and so I’ve just been conditioned to feel irritable everytime a call comes in? Or maybe I’m just anti-social…sigh.

    I am a voter (!!), but obviously living in Canada have no impact on the US midterms!

    1. I am so glad I am not the only one that dislikes voice mails – haha.

  5. Ha! I love these!

    I try to be a really careful driver and I definitely come to a full stop at stop signs, but my biggest fear is one day hitting someone crossing the road. Ugh. Fills me with terror.

    I agree with you 100% about responding to a message via the same medium it was sent! Like NGS, sometimes the best follow up is, say, a phone call, but I will email/text a response saying that is my intention (or asking if it’s okay to call).

    Sometimes I want to email back and forth because I want a written record of our convo, lol!

    1. That’s exactly why I often prefer email – because I like a written record of our conversation. Obviously there are situations to talk things over in person sometimes.

  6. Non-voters get fined $300 here because we have compulsory voting, so that’s pretty much a non-issue.

    Sometimes I wonder if some of the drivers here don’t realise that if they’re coming out or going into the side street they have to give way to pedestrians as well as cars. Maybe they just don’t care.

    Yes, blocking the grocery aisle is a pain. Although I used always to be the person who ran into someone I knew at the supermarket and got chatting. We also stood to the side and kept an eye out for shoppers who needed us to move.

    1. Do you have a problem with uninformed voters in Australia, when it’s compulsary and fined if you don’t vote? Because while I kinda like to make people vote, I also don’t want people to be completely uninformed when they cast their ballots.

      1. There are probably a fair number of uninformed or disinterested voters. To avoid the fine, you just have to go and get your name ticked off and put the ballot in the box, so there are also protests and donkey and reverse donkey votes. Overall I’m in favour of compulsory voting because the result then represents the will of the people, not just a small minority. Also, I wonder whether this results in less extreme policies because the major parties must capture the middle rather than rely on the highly engaged extreme left or right voters. Most Australian policies would occupy the area in the US of the centre-left. I just voted early in our state election because we are going to be away on election day. I think our current premier will get back in, mainly because the opposition was gutted at the previous state election. They won’t stop doing stupid things, which is unfortunate because the party in power needs a lot more accountability. My biggest annoyance with our current politics is that they spend more time playing politics and trying to cement their own power than governing. Also, they need to learn that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is ethical and STOP ACTING DODGY!

        Generally, finding information on the representative’s policies is fairly easy. The major newspapers will run comparisons before voting with an analysis of each. Candidates will often mail out information, or it is easily accessed on their websites and at the polling booths; each candidate will have volunteers handing out how-to-vote cards that will have a rundown of their major positions on one side and the way they want you to number the boxes on the other. We have preferential voting, which means you number all boxes on the ballot paper in order of your preference. This allows better opportunities for independent candidates, as your vote isn’t wasted if you vote for someone that might not have a real possibility of winning. First preferences are counted, and the candidate with the lowest number of votes has their votes redistributed to the second preference. This keeps happening until one of the candidates receives over 50% of the vote.

  7. Sometimes I am the person replying to an e-mail with a phone call especially at work. It annoys me to no end when I have to send 20 e-mails back and forth to solve a problem that would be solved with a 5 minute phone call – so I guess that counts as a pet peeve of mine? Yes, pet peeve is a great word! I have the feeling there should be an equivalent, but can’t think of one either.

    1. Oh, I totally agree – sometimes a quick phone call can solve a problem in 5 minutes and definitely makes sense, but I often want a record of a conversation and information that was shared so I have something to refer back to .

  8. I prove you wrong. I hate voice mail. And often times I don’t listen to them and reply sorry can’t listen send text. If you want to talk instead of typing _ I get that it’s faster – use the fracking dictate function and then quickly scan the text for major spelling errors. easy, done, every one happy.

    And I also have wondered repeatedly on translating pet peeve.

    1. I am glad I am not alone in disliking voice mails :)

  9. Hahahahahahahahaha – I knew it!!! But you have to clarify that I’m mostly replying via email and my “road reports” aka voice messages are always “important” and rarely to never hit the five minute mark.
    But I get it – if it’s a voicemail with questions you’ll have to answer or what not …. How the XX is one supposed to remember all of them without having to listen to the VM again and again (and to take notes).
    Sorry, but not sorry, I do not like people blocking the aisle in any store and Cars just ignoring stop signs. I try to get eye contact with the driver before even attempting crossing – I’m just to afraid to get hit again.

    1. I told you many times that I can deal with your voice message (aka road reports) very well… but that’s because we walk through other means all the time, too.
      What I dislike the most is that you can’t “skim” the message (like you could with a text message) but have to listen to the entire VM again.

  10. There’s no German equivalent for pet peeve? That’s my one and only complaint about your native language.

    My reaction to your peeves:
    #1 back in my dating days, I once said to a beau in a very lighthearted way “I don’t think that we vote the same way”. During our breakup I found out that he was very upset that I thought that he voted.
    #2 yep.
    #3 I’m very passionate about remote work and I don’t understand why companies mandate in person office time when it’s not necessary for the job. But I also wouldn’t say that in person has no value. I’ve been meeting up with old coworkers for lunch lately, and I don’t think that I would have stayed in touch with them if we’d only known each other virtually. Mixed feeling for sure.
    #4 OMG YES THAT IS SO ANNOYING!!!!! I especially hate it when I email or Slack a coworker and they text back.
    #5 yes and it’s been happening to me a lot lately.
    #6 related peeve: when someone leaves me a voicemail and my phone can’t transcribe it so I have to actually listen to the message.

    1. Haha, the dictionary actually translates pet peeve as “Lieblingsärgernis”, which means “favorite annoyance”, which I guess is not really capturing the essence of a pet peeve. I will have to come up with a better term.

      I am so glad to hear you can relate to most of my pet peeves, esp. the one about voice messages. I feel much better after reading that other people dislike them too :)

  11. We are required to come into the office 3 days/week but our team has decided to come in Tues-Wed. I am glad we have specified days because if I am going to come into the office, I want to see people. Otherwise, like you said, what is the use in coming in? I have heard that they are being more strict in other areas, like our portfolio managers absolutely have to be in on 3 days a week so if they stay home for an appt on Tues-Thur, they need to come in on M or F to make it up. It sounds like my area isn’t that strict so far and I hope it stays that way!!

  12. Couldn’t agree more about the voice messages!!! There seems to be a trend towards video/audio instead of text/visual also when it comes to communication and I really dislike it. I always prefer a video call with a friend instead of a normal (boring) phone call, now that we have the technology for it. But a voice message instead of text really makes me cringe and I usually don’t listen to them (sometimes just because it’s a friend I care about) because it’s too annoying! Like you said, text messages is a fantastic invention.

  13. Oh gosh, that would be so annoying to have to go into the office but not interact with your coworkers. What’s the point?! I only go into the office when I know my work buddies will be there, too.

    I admit that I am someone who leaves long video calls with one of my friends. She’s the only one I do that with, and it’s a fun way for us to keep each other caught up on each other’s lives. Plus, I feel like I can be so much more honest with her on the video chats because it’s a one-way call. So I can leave a video without being interrupted! I left her a 15-minute video today OOOOPS.

    One of my biggest pet peeve is impatient drivers. I had some guy behind me honking his horn because he thought I was taking too long to make a U-turn. Slow your roll, man. I’ll make the U-turn when I feel comfortable!

  14. SAN! You missed the obvious one – replying all when it is not needed. OMG, my head gets all explody when people do this. It happened this weekend – someone replied to a list serv email about not being able to find the link for abstract submission, which needed to go only to the person who sent the original email to the list serv. And then – THEN! – all these other techie idiots (sorry, but it’s true) replied all to say that they did not think that they were the intended recipient. No! You weren’t! Just delete it! Gaaaah…

    All of the others, I’m totally on board with. ;)

    Oh, and can I also add people who drive at least 5 mph below the speed limit in perfect conditions? And yes, this includes my brother, whom I love dearly? Speed limit, fine, but 5 mph under – also Gaaaaahh….

    Thanks for letting me vent. ;)

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