Tuesday, 3 July 2018

30 Day Writing Challenge 3/30: Pet Peeves

Day 3: What are your top three pet peeves?

This list could go far beyond three pet peeves. Plenty of things annoy me on a daily basis. There's a reason that the first word in my blog name literally means 'filled with bitter criticism or malice'. I'd like to think that I'm a peaceful person who avoids conflict at all costs, but there are certain things that get me so riled that I want to put my fist through a wall just thinking about them.

Actually, since I'm British, my reaction to my pet peeves is more along the lines of disapprovingly pursing my lips and sighing heavily. That sounds more accurate. Wouldn't want to cause a scene, after all.

Anyway, here are some pet peeves:
  1. Rudeness towards people who are just doing their jobs. I am always always ALWAYS sympathetic towards retail/hospitality staff and people who work with the public in general, simply because working with people is so draining on days when you get all the bad customers. When the customers are good, your day is great. But when a bad one comes along...oh boy. I've been on the receiving end of stuff like this before at many of my previous jobs. Customers complaining about prices is a particular favourite of mine. My first job was behind a till in a local cafĂ©, and people would frequently confront me at the till, asking why they were paying upwards of £6 for a sandwich. Like, I don't know what to tell you, mate. The prices are clearly displayed on that board over the counter for you to look at when you walk in. I'm not trying to con you, I'm just doing my job. I don't make up the prices, I just put them through the till. If you have a legitimate complaint about prices, take it up with someone who can do something about it. DO NOT take it out on nervous teenagers who are giving up their weekends to work a minimum-wage job. That's just not cool. This peeve of mine goes far beyond these sorts of jobs (I remember an old friend once describing the abuse she received from patients while training to be a nurse, which is a very different work environment in which patrons are scared and uncomfortable, but where the people who are working hard to help them should not go through such things), but I can only really speak from my own experiences. I've been reduced to tears by awful customers in several of my previous jobs (mostly my first job when I was learning how to adapt to the world of work and build confidence), and I would not wish that on anybody.
  2. Littering. This is a biggie. There is literally no excuse for this, and I'm baffled as to why it still happens. Walk down a street in a city or a town, and just look around at how much rubbish there is on the pavement. Walk down a country road and see how many people have flung empty coffee cups and fast food packaging out of their car windows because they can't simply hold onto their garbage until they get home, where they can throw it in a bin or - even better - recycle it. I'm not exactly a role model myself when it comes to recycling or even keeping my place clean, but at least I'm not an animal who sticks chewed gum on the underside of tables or drops crumpled wrappers two feet from a bin. If you buy a drink in a disposable cup, for example, it is then your responsibility to find somewhere to dispose of said cup when you have finished it. But the worst part of littering is that it's so hard to confront people about it without sounding like a goody-two-shoes or getting an angry response from the litterer. Chances are, if someone is ignorant enough to litter, they're the type of person who will get overly-defensive when confronted about it, and will most likely cuss you out instead of obediently picking up their rubbish. It's a polite and civilised thing to do, disposing of trash, and not nearly enough people do it.
  3. Grammatical errors. I'm a former English & Creative Writing student, and although spelling and grammar is not the most important aspect of writing, you can bet your ass that grammatical errors annoy the hell out of me. Although I'll grudgingly admit that my grammar is not always 100% accurate, it's frustrating to still see people using the wrong form of 'your/you're', 'there/their/they're' or 'to/too/two' on social media. It's extra frustrating when you can tell that someone is trying to use the correct grammar and is putting apostrophes where they don't belong. Misplaced apostrophes are probably one of my biggest pet peeves all on their own, and the worst part is that they're everywhere. I even saw one misused in BBC News subtitles once, and I immediately pointed it out while my family members rolled their eyes. Typos and errors are everywhere I look, and let me just say that I know that the English language is tricky and annoying and that pretty much nobody has perfect grammar or spelling, especially not in this day and age where autocorrect and hasty typing can result in some pretty weird results. I feel as if my writing skills are competent, but even I Google words or grammar rules to make sure that I'm writing everything out as well as I can. Not everybody takes the Internet as seriously as I do, however, and places like Facebook are littered with grammatically-incorrect, misspelled, sometimes incomprehensible posts. It's beyond frustrating, especially since some of the rules are so easy to follow, and yet somehow, they are so easily forgotten. It's always people who I feel should know better who commit the worst errors, at least in my experience. Teachers and managers and people who are native English speakers who have learned these rules since they first attended school. Maybe it's just me projecting onto others, but I cannot understand why people would post a body of text on the Internet that is so full of errors, making them look so foolish, when I have literally had nightmares about putting out grammatically-incorrect tweets. It's a genuine fear of mine, maybe because I pride myself on my writing ability, and if somebody found even a simple misspelling in one of my posts, it would be humiliating. And yes, there have been times when I have misspelled a word in a Facebook post simply due to poor proofreading and typing too fast, but that's what the edit button is for. Take care with what you post online, folks. There are Grammar Nazis like me everywhere, silently judging everything you type. 
So, in direct contrast to Day 1 of this challenge - making a list of things that make you happy - why not make a list of things that irritate you? Doesn't that just sound like so much fun?


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