Friday, February 26, 2010

Princess and the Peeves

Falling asleep early has never been an easy task for me. On weeknights, I drag myself by the hair into bed before midnight, only to lie there, wondering why the traditional workday still begins at the crack of dawn. We’re not farmers anymore, so what’s the point? And don’t tell me it’s because the majority of people want it this way because I see them all in their cars at 7 am, and not a single one of them look happy to be out and about. Their faces all have that same I want my blankie look as they nurse a hot cup of chemical stimulation.

I am nocturnal through and through, and once I’ve tied up the uncounted sheep and forced Mr. Sandman into a submissive choke-hold, that’s when I let down my hair and bask in the moonlight. During those enchanted night hours, I usually ruminate on theoretical nonsense while knitting or writing. Sometimes I toss around catchy titles for new blog entries. Oftentimes I wrangle plot ideas and conjure up quirky characters. Still other times, when the creativity wanes, I make mental lists and categorize them by topics.

My pet peeve list covers a lot of ground—so much so that I could probably do individual blog entries for each one and have a full year of material. I’m no whiner, that’s for sure, but once a month or so I indulge on a good rant or two. Allow me to humor you with just a smidgen of what drives me batty.

Shirt tags. Even the softest, most innocent tags that barely brush my hyper-sensitive skin send me reeling around the room in search of scissors. If no scissors can be found, I will rip these itchy, scratchy little devils out with my bare hands, sometimes leaving a gaping hole where the diabolical tag once dwelt. Thank God for Old Navy, et al, who have learned to print the needed info directly onto the inside of the shirt.

Garment hanging straps
. An annoying cousin of the shirt tag, these ridiculously long pieces of synthetic fusion are designed to help your dress not slip off the hanger. The problem is that they rarely ever stay in the dress while you’re wearing it. Or they get tangled in your bra and make you squirm all night (sorry men, you’ll have to just imagine this one).

Mechanical pencils
. Someone’s making a fortune out there. The lead breaks every time I press the pencil to the paper. Refills are never to be found when I need them, and I need them constantly because those pantywaist pieces of lead only last for but a few words. I can buy 48 regular old #2 pencils and a sharpener for the price of one mechanical disaster of a pencil, and I’m set for life.

Chalk. For the first ten years of my teaching career, I had to use chalk every day, and every day, I had to shrug off the urge to throw my piece of yellow lung dust across the room, not only because of that scratchy sound it makes, but because it’s so…ewww…chalky. This was also a major problem during my gymnastics years, when I had to cake my hands with the ultra-dry stuff before mounting the uneven bars. Ew.

Dry erase pens. Oh these are much better than the chalk they have superseded, but what I discovered after my first day of teaching at a dry-erase board is that these multicolored felt wonders make me really HIGH! I remember a classroom full of bedazzled students, spinning and contorting after I wrote out a long Asimov passage on my brand new sparkly white board. Twenty-two faces all merged into one big academic blur and a crashing headache followed. Now they make “odorless” versions, which (perhaps psychosomatically) still give me an occasional psychedelic moment.

. Thank God for the Internet! No more blackened fingers, ink-driven sneezes, and funky folding and unfolding of those large, awkward sheets of newsprint. No more annoying Sports sections assaulting me with those creepy escort ads. Thanks to my Mac, advertising pop-ups are never an intrusion, and I can juxtapose the L.A. Times with the Honolulu Advertiser in a few seconds flat. The only part of the actual newspaper I still handle with my bare hands is the crossword puzzle, which absolutely must be done old-school, with a pen—never at a keyboard.

Cling wrap. First of all, it’s dangerous. Those razor-sharp teeth are always primed to take a chunk out of my thumb while I’m picking around the roll trying to find the beginning, only to tear some off and salvage whatever isn’t clinging to itself. Foil may be more expensive, but it always does its job more efficiently, and it’s sparkly.

Spiral notebooks. Designed for right-handers, these torment us lefties when we write in them because the harsh metal loops dig into our delicate wrists. On rare occasion, I’ve been able to find one designed for troubled southpaws, but they cost way more than they’re worth.

Phony radio voices. Come on, do they really have to talk that way?

Phony anything. With the exception of faux fur and some silk plants, everything else that is not genuine makes me cringe. I especially loathe digital pianos, lip-sync-ers, and plastic stuff (especially faces and/or body parts).

One-sided communication. It’s like hitting the ball over the net and never getting it back.

. The only thing I like about them is when I get the delighting opportunity to see them slump when their negative predictions are derailed.

Snobs. Except for a few dutiful grammar snobs, all the rest should be forced to watch videos of themselves in action.

Political correctness. This oxymoronic phenomenon has sent everyone reeling into a verbal quandary that has caused more controversy than the issue itself.

Auto correct
. This over-zealous digital task-master forces me to indent when I don’t want to and refuses to allow me to write e.e. cummings in lower-case. Trying to disengage Auto-Correct requires a PhD in Microsoft.

Lap-tops. Don’t get me wrong, I love my lap-top. It’s just that along with this handy portable wonder come three annoying conditions:
  • iburn. Caused by placing lap-top directly on bare lap. Symptoms include itchy, burning red spots that may last up to two hours.
  • ipinch. Caused by opening lap-top on bare lap. May result in a 12-inch blood blister.
  • icramp. Caused by spending hours on the lap-top, especially with excessive use of the itsy-bitsy mouse pad

Alarm clocks.


  1. I absolutly love it Mrs. Tenney, lol

  2. I totally agree with the spiral notebooks Mrs. Tenney, us lefties are left with so little!
    I once went to an SAT practice test thing at this university, and all the desks were meant for right handed people (the arm rest was only on the right side), and, believe me, it was extraordinarily uncomfortable.
    Need more pro-lefties people making more leftie products :D

  3. That's an awesome list right there.

    My personal pet peeve is when people chew their food audibly, with the mouth open. I'm one of those odd ducks with sensitive ears, who gets annoyed at a repetitive, pervasive sound. Loud chewing, constant tapping (save for the keyboard) never fails to annoy me in no seconds flat.

  4. Yes...noise in general takes its toll on me too...especially a whole classroom full of pencil tappers and pen clickers...argh!