Warrior Words

My big fat column of pet peeves

Teenagers are inherent complainers. If I were to calculate how much of the time teenagers complain throughout the span of one day in school, I’m fairly certain that about 60% of all communication between friends begins with the mention of a complaint. For any students reading this column, think about how many times a day we complain about school, teachers, homework, friends, enemies, your phone, your schedule, your boss, co-workers, etc. The other 40% is divided between gossip and actual conversation that consists of neither complaining nor gossip. Obviously these projected “statistics” vary from person to person. Nonetheless, it is my opinion that much of the things I complain about are appropriately justified. In order to suitably discuss my concerns and objections, I have compiled an abridged version of my list of pet peeves. When I read this list out to my friends, they laughed, usually agreed, and said, “I hate that.” Hopefully I get the same reaction from my current readers!

1. When the wi-fi doesn’t want to work. Wi-fi problems seem intentional. I will be in my bed, ready to turn on The Walking Dead on Netflix streaming, and as I get ready to turn it on, a big hazard icon pops up on my screen saying: “Session timeout expired.” OK, first off, what’s a “session timeout?” And second, I don’t want or know how to fix it. After about three minutes of debating who out of my family will be the one to fix the wi-fi router on the first floor, I volunteer for the sake of The Walking Dead and meander down the stairs into my dad’s office. Out of all the questions I have about the wi-fi, the one I ask myself most often is, “IS THERE A WI-FI FAIRY THAT IS TORMENTING ME?”

2. Teetering plates in the sink. There is always a better way to do things. One of those things is piling dishes in the sink. Some people in my family, who shall remain nameless, have a tendency to put big plates with forks, over bowls with spoons, on top of small plates, over cups, on top of Tupperware and so forth. This causes the tower of dishes in the sink to look like a wobbling Jenga tower ready to fall. Beware the teetering plates!

3. When people talk really close to my face. This one is very simple. I can hear and understand someone from the reasonable distance of about two to four feet. I fear a little for my safety if someone is talking to me a few inches away from my face. And for those coffee drinkers out there, this next one comes hand in hand.

4. Coffee breath. I can very easily smell coffee breath when someone chooses to get close to my face. It’s hard to ignore such a putrid smell. I feel like interrupting the person, moving them over, and popping a big piece of Bubbalicious in their mouth. I’m a coffee drinker myself, but thanks to Starbucks, I have been able to purchase and use their Spearmint Coffee Breath Gum. Perfect for anyone who doesn’t know that critical people like me are backing away, very slowly.

5. “Um-ing” at the menu. I can’t quite imagine how frustrated some waiters or waitresses must get when people “um” at the menu when they don’t know what they want. A simple, “Could you come back in two minutes?” saves the server about 30 seconds of wasted time. Either that or get the house salad, I’m sure it’s simply delicious!

6. Rudely answering the phone. This is a shout out to my good friend Simone who takes no shame in yelling, “WHAT?” into the phone when she answers my calls. This is something that can so easily be fixed. After it happens say, “Well you’re obviously not in the mood to talk so why don’t we try again later!” [End call].

Thus ends my column on pet peeves. Hopefully, some of you are now thinking about your personal pet peeves. One of them might be when people complain! But I’m sure you can justify that. For now, you can expect the complete version of this list in volume one of my soon-to-be-published book entitled, The Big Fat Book of Pet Peeves. (That’s my new million-dollar idea. I thought of it while I was writing this column. It will probably be sold at those book counters at cool artsy stores like Urban Outfitters.)

Terrence McLaughlin is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.