Category: pet peeves

pet peeve: kids who call adults by their first names

pet peeve: kids who call adults by their first names

you can thank my mom for this one. well, mom and my old friend jen.

awhile back, my beloved pal jen pointed out how bent she gets when she hears kids calling adults by their first name. she will actually correct friends of her children if they call her by her first name. it’s a respect thing, and she feels that it is part of what feeds into the whole entitlement society that we’ve somehow grown.

i couldn’t agree more.

i don’t know whether it’s a southern thing or just something that happens now, but my kids call people they know well, like our neighbors, for example, mr. joe or ms. laurie. adults they don’t know well are mr. smith and ms. jones. authority figures end up here as well — their teachers are obviously known by their last names.  and for my very close friends, like the aforementioned jen — well, she’s aunt jen to my kids. i truly don’t appreciate it when other people’s kids call me by my first name; historically, i have let it slide because my name is complicated to begin with (i kept my name when i married, so kids get confused and call me mrs. mykidslastname, which i also let go. i even prefer that to just my first name.)

when i was growing up, i think my mom would have bodyslammed me if i had had the temerity to call any adult by his or her first name. to this very day i call jen’s mom mrs. lastname for fear that she might wash my mouth out with soap. (you see, jen’s mom and my mom apparently went to the same mom school. this we’ve known for over 40 years now.) another one of my old friends’ moms told me to call her by her first name. i have known this woman now also for about 40 years, and i must say it doesn’t fall trippingly off my tongue. but as she wants me to call her by her first name, i will try my best.

yes, old habits die hard — which is why i hope i’m getting my kids into really good habits now so that they’ll remember them always.

pet peeve: people who aren’t thankful on thanksgiving

pet peeve: people who aren’t thankful on thanksgiving

no, really. thank you.

sure, i picked the leitmotif of pet peeves this month. but that doesn’t conceal the fact that i am very, very grateful for a lot of things. i could list them for days and years. i’ll just list a few off the top of my pointed head.

1) thank you, BC: for being an awesome daughter who somehow gets me in a way that no one else does. you forgive me when i probably deserve a tween shriek thrown at me. you are one of the two greatest gifts i have ever been given, and i never forget that.

2) thank you, jools: for being an incredible son who picks and chooses the strangest moments to change from a delightful little boy into a wizened old man and provide me with a perspective that i sorely need to hear and grasp. you are one of the two greatest gifts i have ever been given, and i don’t ever forget that.

3) thank you, BS: my eternal partner in crime, the statler to my waldorf. you put up with me no matter what. you like me in spite of me being me. you make me laugh. you are always my personal bulldog. and you’ve got the most beautiful eyes i have ever seen. i am so lucky that mark wintle dumped a beer on you and therefore brought you into my life for keeps.

4) thank you mom and dad and aunt barbara: you have always been in my corner, and you have taught me the power of unconditional love. i’ll never be able to tell you fully how much you mean to me, but somehow you always know what i mean when words fail me.

5) thank you to my brothers, who never treated me like a girl but who always treated me as someone who needed to learn to be as tough as nails. i learned so much from both of you; and while i know i continue to get on your nerves in a huge way, i do it because i love you. (you’re welcome.)

6) thanks to my mother-in-law, my dearly-missed father-in-law, and all my husband’s family for treating me like one of your own. i know i’m a little bit odd in comparison to you all, but you’ve always welcomed me with open arms from the word go.

7) thank you to my friends, who seem to like me still. i treasure you.

8 )  thank you to america for taking my great grandparents in. my family has always been fiercely proud of our nation.

9) thank you to the Beatles for making the best music ever.

and last for today, but not least:

10) thank you, gutenberg, for inventing the printing press. for i do so love to read.

happy thanksgiving, everyone!

pet peeve: people with no follow-through

pet peeve: people with no follow-through

why don’t they do what they say? say what they mean?

years and years ago, my sister in law inadvertently came up with a nickname for the kind of people my parents, my brothers, and i are. she called us boomerang people. what she meant: when we say we are going to do something, we come right back at you with whatever we said we were going to get or do.  it’s ingrained into our psyches. and it’s just how i thought all people operated. i’m fortunate i’m married to BS, who also always keeps his promises.

unfortunately, as i got older,  i learned that not everyone in the world was trained by my mom and dad.

i’m sure you have experienced that disappointment at work, at school, or with friends: people who just don’t do what they say they will. you were depending on john or jane to deliver, and he or she doesn’t. and you’re screwed. or disappointed. or both. sure, everyone has an off-day of course– sometimes, competing priorities win out.

but particularly if you are a parent, you simply must follow through. if you promise your child you’re going to the park, you go to the park. if you promise your child you’ll help with homework, you help with homework. and if you know you can’t or don’t want to do those things, very simply put:  don’t make those promises.

otherwise, you end up with one messed-up kid. and the consequences will boomerang back onto you and society, and probably not in a pleasant sort of way.

pet peeve: people who think DC has a low cost of living

pet peeve: people who think DC has a low cost of living

well, relative to san francisco it does, i suppose.

i belong to a few email lists where occasionally, you get a post along the lines of this:

hi! i’m moving to DC from (NY/SF/LA/pondunk) and i need to find a place to live. i’m hoping to find an apartment for under $700/month, utilities included, that is on the metro line and is also near a park.  i’d prefer not to share.

yeah, and i’m looking for my fairy godmother.

seriously, people. if you move to a major city, not to mention the CAPITOL OF THE FREE WORLD for christsakes, you can expect that the costs here aren’t exactly cheap. and depending on certain criteria, it is just as expensive as the cities that generally top the lists of most expensive places to live in the US of A.  it has hit the point here in the Commonwealth that you really need to go faaaaaaaaar out to find reasonably inexpensive digs — and we’re talking Front Royal near Skyline Drive. (yes, virginia: people actually commute to DC from there each day. they also commute from West Virginia. as in the state.)

i’m frankly a bit ashamed that developers have essentially priced most non-upper middle class folks out of the people’s republic without a lot of shrieking from the populace. that’s simply not the arlington way.

but arlington isn’t alone here. look around the beltway and you’ll find a lot of pretty damn costly places to live. even the places you really would prefer to avoid aren’t cheap.

so set your expectations appropriately before you start asking me to find you a place for so little money; that is, unless you help me build a time machine which can transport you back in time to, say, 1940 or so.

pet peeve: american actors attempting british accents

pet peeve: american actors attempting british accents

yes, virginia. there are american actors who succeed at using the queen’s english. but for every one, there are oodles of others…

UK actors, like EastEnders’ Michelle Ryan, have a tough time getting the american accent to work. apparently, though, plenty of US actors are pretty pathetic at verbally crossing the pond. my beloved dick dan dyke’s accent is so awful in mary poppins that the term van dyke accent has actually emerged as an insult to those attempting an east end accent.  demi moore’s accent in flawless simply isn’t. and i’m not sure what sort of accent misha barton is channelling in st. trinians.

empire magazine did an article on the worst british accents in film. see if you agree.

pet peeve: people who say “whatever”

pet peeve: people who say “whatever”

yeah, you heard me.

i will be the first person to tell you that i hate arguments. some people adore conflict and can’t wait to jump in, fangs bared, to tear into a topic. that person would not be me.  as tori amos once sang,  i believe in peace, (bitch). i never think of the truly clever thing to say in such situations until hours or days afterwards. i fumble. in short, i need time to think before i speak. i know that once the words are out of the mouth, it is nearly impossible to take them back.

but i also realize that there are times when one must  put her big girl panties on and deal with uncomfortable situations. and when i have taken the trouble to talk to someone, calmly, about something that really disturbs me, one of the worst things you can say to me back is whatever. it’s as if my very existence  is being discounted, tossed away like a used kleenex.  and then, watch out. i won’t be as careful with my words since you apparently didn’t appreciate what i said. you don’t have to agree with me, but you do have to respect me. and since i have been disrespected, well, hell hath no fury like a woman whatevered.

i often hear plenty of people do this, particularly younger folks. when did it become okay to be fresh in conversation? it’s as if they’re done, and they don’t care about resolution — their ideas are the only important ones. a big thank you goes out to the mostly baby boomers who have somehow allowed their kids to shut down others in a thoughtless way.

maybe i ought to burst out into song the next time someone says the W word to me. my singing is punishment enough, i suspect, especially when attempting to sing along with aretha.

pet peeve: abuse of the word “unique”

pet peeve: abuse of the word “unique”

you are one-of-a-kind. unless, of course, you are schizophrenic.

to me, unique is an absolute term, meaning unparalleled or without an equivalent. it is nonpareil (and not to be confused with the yummy chocolate candy that features such little white beads.) and when people state that something is VERY unique, it makes me CRA-ZY! and no, i am not some pedantic asshole who looks down from on high; i’m just a person who appreciates proper word usage.

advertisers have trumpeted the word unique, making it mean extraordinary. and yes, something can be extraordinary if it is unique. but being extraordinary doesn’t necessarily mean something is unique — two different concepts. i mean, i think plenty of things are out-of-this-world, but they are also reproducible.

but unique? ah. there’s the difference. the only one.

like this guy:

and, since it’s november 18, there’s another special guy who completely fits the bill:

happy birthday, BS!

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