30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: What are your top three pet peeves?

Rudeness: I can’t stand it when people are rude and/or inconsiderate. Or just outright assholes.

Exhibit A: Say please and thank you. It doesn’t hurt you. It doesn’t hurt anyone else. It doesn’t even take much time out of your day to say these simple words. If you can’t bring yourself to be polite, then don’t ask for any favors from me, thank you very much.

Exhibit B: Acknowledge that everyone is a person. I’ve spent a lot of years in the service industry in some capacity, and you know what happens to everyone, regardless of whether they’re a dishwasher or a district manager? They don’t get treated like human beings. I showed up to a friend’s baby shower once straight from work, in my Pizza Hut uniform, and her mother (who had met me several times) tried to shut the door in my face because she hadn’t even looked at me. “We didn’t order pizza,” she told me. And I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked someone how they’re doing only to be told “I’m just looking.”

Exhibit C: Don’t deliberately be an asshole without reason. This includes driving, parking, walking, shopping, talking, booger disposal, you name it. Just be nice.

Exhibit D: Handle up on your responsibilities. Pick it up when your dog poops in my yard. Remove your child from the store when they’re throwing a screaming fit after you told them that you’d leave if they screamed again. Don’t drop someone else’s book in the bathtub and give back a waterlogged phonebook of a paperback, buy them a new one.

Hovering: Don’t stand, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me.

Exhibit A: Let me write. If I’m trying to write a story in the suspense genre for a contest, back off, please. I don’t write suspense, I don’t want to write suspense, but that was the luck of the draw.

Exhibit B: Let me poop. I need my bathroom time. I don’t even want to talk to you through the door.

Exhibit C: Let me cook. That’s just great that your mother doesn’t make it that way. I’m not her. I know what I’m doing, thanks.

Exhibit D: Let me watch. If you want to watch this show/movie/YouTube video with me, come around the couch and have a seat and please be quiet. Don’t lean on the back right behind me dropping potato chip flakes in my hair like chunky dandruff. Don’t tell the characters what to do. They can’t hear you.

Hypocrisy: Practice what you preach, brother. Don’t throw a fit when I do something that you do. I have far too many exhibits to list for this one. So I won’t.

What about you?

If You Can’t Say Something Nice

I’ve always been so afraid of people not liking me. I’ve always been scared of not fitting in. I was never the one to speak up when something wasn’t right. I was so painfully shy and the whole world was so big and scary and mean.

Last year I lost a job along with a friend of mine because we dared to say something wasn’t right. I still joke and call her ‘whistleblower’ every now and then. That was a good job, but it wasn’t worth the price our supervisor was asking us to pay, our integrity. Since then, I have tried harder than I ever have in my life to do the right thing.

Cliche, I know.

But I want to stick up for the little guy. Because I know that I’m a lot stronger than I ever believed I was. Because I know what it’s like to sit idly by while others judge and degrade and just treat other people badly. I know what it’s like to feel too paralyzed to say anything. And I know what it’s like to feel guilty afterward, knowing that I could have said something, knowing that I could have smoothed things over, knowing that I could have done anything besides just let it happen.

I like to tell myself that’s a good thing, that it’s admirable, because I know I would have looked up to someone able to do that when I couldn’t bring myself to. What can I say? There will always be that shred of doubt deep inside me, that little voice whispering don’t even try, you can’t do anything right anyway, you’re wasting your time. I don’t have to listen, but the whisper’s always there.

So I fight it.

When I see someone struggling, I want to help them, especially when it’s an emotional load that’s just too heavy. Or when it’s an unpopular opinion, but still an opinion that isn’t hurting anyone else.

It doesn’t matter how you candy-coat it, beating someone down is beating someone down. You can dress it up all you like with your ‘buts’ and your ‘sorrys’ and your ‘I don’t mean any harms,’ but if you really didn’t mean any harm, you would have kept your fool mouth shut. If you really wanted to offer sympathy, you wouldn’t dress up ‘you deserve this’ with a pretty little bow of fake commiseration. If you really wanted to show you cared, you wouldn’t try to one-up someone’s suffering.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel that someone deserves what they get, or that it’s wrong to think they’re just being a baby because you’ve been through worse. I’m saying it’s a pretty crappy thing to tell someone in their darkest hour that they shouldn’t have done something, or to buck up, you’ve had it worse.

Just keep it to yourself.

Nobody needs their pain belittled by someone outside the situation. Let it go.