The United States of Annoyance

There are things in life that maybe shouldn’t really matter: people who don’t use a turn signal when they drive, those who are texting one of their other friends when you are trying to have a conversation with them, and those who talk through an entire movie in the movie theater. Of course, I’m talking about pet peeves.

It’s always the small things that seem to bug us. For me, being exposed to dreadful odors at school is quite painful. I find that every sound, touch, and scent is enhanced at school, but the smells, I find, are the most obnoxious. I have a great hypersensitivity to these things.

Another thing that annoys me is when I see people stick their gum on the bottom of their chair or desk at school. This especially annoys me when my hand or arm nicks the bottom of the desk and I accidentally touch it, feeling its gross yet soft texture.

Home has its hazards as well. For example, I do not like people to drink directly from a carton of milk, return it to the fridge, and cause me to go through my morning milk-less and quite disappointed.

I’m not quite sure what the “code of conduct” is for dealing with these things. Do I tell the person that they reek of body spray or yell at my brother who always leaves the soiled jug of milk in the refrigerator? Or am I just supposed to let it be, suck it up, and move on? What is even the point of having these pet peeves? Are they doing anything good for us? Is it just a way of coping with our angers or spite?

Take the mild discomfort to insanity causing phobic disorder misophonia. Misophonia is simply being severely bothered by annoying sounds. These sounds could include breathing, lip-smacking, and loud or bothersome eating sounds. In the presence of these tragically annoying noises, someone with misophonia can be driven into an all caps rage. This is not a thing you would want, especially if they are a person who could beat you into the ground.

So, what options do we really have left? Worse yet, what if we’re a cause of irritability, which, come on, we probably are to someone. I think the best option we have is to simply stand together in our mutual botherations and pet peeveshand in hand … unless you have sweaty palms, which bothers me.

Editor’s note: Theresa Hermann, 15, is a freshman at Marquette Senior High School. She is a member of the 8-18 Media Senior Team and she plays trumpet in the high school band. In her spare time she likes to write and make movies. She is a daughter of James and Gail Hermann. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 906-226-7874, or email at