A few years ago, as we were going over homework, my daughter grabbed a piece of paper out of my hand to explain what was on it. I told her that someone grabbing something out of my hand was one of my pet peeves. She hadn't heard the term before, so I told her that peeve was a word for something that annoys you, and a pet peeve was something that annoys you but not necessarily anyone else. She then decided that little sisters were her pet peeve. Or, more particularly, her little sister. I told her I wasn't sure she understood the concept.
Meanwhile, my wife has recently been reading a book about sounds that aggravate some people to the point of rage. Not just nails on a blackboard, but something as innocuous as a person turning the pages of a magazine. Or the sound of a clock ticking. She is truly bothered, for example, by the sound of people eating too loudly. I’m just not sure how she measures that volume.
The sound of water dripping bothers her way more than it has ever bothered me. The sound of my alarm clock also sets her off. It’s one of those that loudly goes "BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP" until I hit the snooze button. It sounds as much like a fire alarm as it does a clock, but it does the job of waking me up. Her alarm -- so called -- is a pleasant melody that emanates from her cell phone, and that I would sleep right through.
The sound that inevitably bothers me is that unique note that squealing little girls can hit when they are gathered together for a sleepover. You might as well be drilling an icepick into my brain. And, because I was born predisposed to be a grumpy old man, the sound of kids being just generally loud (as kids are) gets on my nerves more easily than it should. We had a house full the other day, and my wife was calmly going about her business, oblivious to the racket that was engulfing us. I don't know how she does it. This is, after all, the same woman who once yelled at a kid to get out of our yard -- just like the crazy old ladies do in the movies.
And it’s not just sounds. She cannot, she claims, remove food from a strainer in the kitchen sink because it grosses her out, and she is unable to plunge a backed up toilet. And she's freaked out by the idea of water draining out of a bathtub.
For my part, I can't deal with vomit. I've tried to convince my wife that if I see vomit, I also vomit. So, instead of cleaning up the mess, I add to it. She thinks it's a ruse, but it’s not. It’s the smell. The smell of regurgitate (if that’s a word) is unbearable. And while I’m at it, the smell of rubbing alcohol makes me light-headed, even when a shot is not imminent. I also get sick at the smell of liver frying in a pan.
Other than that, I'm in good shape. How about you?