Bra straps, insincerity and stupidity - the area's pet peeves

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

The concept of a pet peeve is fascinating. People actually manage to narrow the field down to one irritating thing when there are so many happening around us every day.

But the nature of a pet peeve is that there's only one -- a single thing that irritates a person more than anything else without really mattering in the big picture.

The best pet peeves are in the Jackson USA, a sister publication to this one. The newspaper does a quick, fun profile on a different Jackson-area resident each week and asks his or her pet peeve.

Here they are for December and January:

1. "When people act stupid to try and get attention." You are so right!

2. "Seeing the words 'a' and 'lot' written as one word." Very specific. I like that.

3. "People who don't get involved in their children's lives." This isn't so much a pet peeve as a national problem.

4. "Insincerity." This is a woman, of course. A man would never have this pet peeve.

5. "When people don't give you a chance." As a former vacuum saleswoman, I must agree.

6. "Drivers who talk on cell phones." Ouch. I am one of those drivers.

The most interesting submitted pet peeve of all time was in the Jackson USA a few months ago. It was "women whose bra straps are always showing," submitted by a guy.

My bra straps aren't always showing, but I'd say they show 50 percent of the time in some fashion. I don't think you can dislike women for this foible because it might be genetic, something to do with narrow shoulders. On Tuesday, for example, I wore a modest sweater and tank blouse underneath. While discussing an important project with the co-president of this newspaper, I looked down to find my bra strap somehow peeking through a gap between the blouse and the sweater. This happens to me constantly.

That leads to the big question: Yank it up or act like you don't realize it? What if my boss' pet peeve is women who go around yanking on their bra straps?

Pet peeves are as varied as the people who have them. A quick survey of the office produced "women who nag," "people who don't rinse out their soda cans before recycling" and "people who talk with nothing to say."

And Speak Out is full of pet peeves: people who vote without knowing the candidates, drivers who don't understand who goes first at a four-way stop and impolite police officers, to name a few.

All of these are valid to a point, but everyone is missing the most meaningful and rational pet peeve of all time:

Customers who don't have their deposit slip information ready when they reach the ATM, the bank drive-through or the cashier.

I sat behind a guy in a truck at my bank for NINE MINUTES on Sunday as he performed several ATM transactions. In between, he appeared to be chatting with his passenger.

When you are at the ATM, there is no reason to chat with anyone. Put in your card, receive/deposit your money and move your tail.

Because of that man's laggardly pace, I was late for the Sunday matinee. ("The Royal Tenenbaums." Go see it.) I missed the previews. Missing the previews is very irritating.

It's almost a pet peeve.

But not quite.

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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