By February, probably everyone has broken his or her New Year's resolutions. So perhaps it is time to create a new resolution. Here is a suggestion. How about turning February from "Presidents' Month" into "Getting Rid of the Things That Irritate You" month?
Psychologists claim that if you write something down, you will get it out of your system. Then whatever has irked, dismayed or hurt you in the past will be gone. Taking the experts' advice, I am disclosing what irritates me. After this list is completed, these annoying foibles of others will no longer bother me. So, in order to enjoy the spring that is coming in a few weeks, I am purging myself of my pet peeves. Here they are:
1. People who push the pedestrian walk button and then proceed to cross the street without waiting for the walk signal.
2. Receiving emails that tell you to keep sending the email on to 10 or more people.
3. People who do not say "thank you" after you hold the door open for them
4. People who do not hold the door open for those who come after them.
5. Those who do not wipe down their exercise machines after using them at the gym.
6. Garbage collectors who back down the driveway making an awful beeping sound at 6:00 in the morning.
7. Anyone who litters anyplace.
8. Persons who do not pick up litter they see, even if they are not responsible for the litter.
9. Newspaper and magazine editors who allow their writers to misuse the possessive form of the pronoun "it," allowing them to write "it's" when they are supposed to use "its."
10. "Conversing" with people who talk all the time and never ask a question, especially at a dinner party.
11. People who talk on their phones on the train, except for those who are giving arrival times to family.
12. Those folks who make movie trailers that show all the violent scenes in the coming attractions.
13. Supposedly intelligent people who misuse the personal pronoun, as in "between he and I" or "he is not as smart as me" or "John and me are coming."
14. Those who say "You have to come visit us sometime," but never set a date.
15. Anyone in a high income bracket who complains about paying taxes.
16. People who expect you to know who they are when they telephone.
17. Overnight guests who don't remove the sheets and pillow cases from the bed.
18. Those who expect you to love their pets as much as they do.
19. Restaurant owners who make their noisy restaurants even noisier by cranking up the "background" music.
20. Those who think that their opinion on any subject is the only correct opinion.
21. People who forward political emails without fact-checking.
22. People who give advice freely to those who don't ask for it.
But then I recall that some psychologists also claim that the traits that bother us in others are the same traits that we ourselves possess. Could that be true? I can't believe that I have any of those personal annoying habits -- but I will have to ask my husband if my assumption of innocence is correct. My husband, I am sure, will tell me the truth. The trouble is that if I do exhibit my own pet peeves I will have to get rid of them. That may take a lot of work. But perhaps by next January, I will have reformed everyone, including myself.
What do you think? Sit down, write out your pet peeves, and discuss them with someone during the doldrums of winter. Try it, you may like it.
Then in the spring, your spirit might soar.
Ann Caron is an author of books on adolescence and a parent-educator. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.