There’s a thread in the Trout Nation Forums called “Things you can’t justify being annoyed by,” and when I read it, I felt like I had come home. I get annoyed by so many things that I cannot justify in any way, including but not limited to:
- People thinking a food is spicy when I do not think it is spicy
- When people ask for prayers on Facebook and don’t elaborate what people are supposed to be praying for
- Those photoshopped book ads where someone puts their cover into a picture of a billboard or a bus stop ad to make it look like they actually purchased major advertising and their book is a really big deal
so it was gratifying to read that other people have the same weird feelings about weird things that they can’t explain. But I also have three pet peeves that I feel like I can justify, and I would like to bitch about them now.
The cat double standard. In my life, I have lived in houses with cats more than I have not. Growing up, I had a cat named Panther. When I was high school, we got a second cat named Sherbert. My first live-in boyfriend and I had a cat named Jupiter. A roommate had a cat named Gabrielle. When we met, Mr. Jen had a cat called Smudge, who ate shoelaces out of your shoes and humped everything. And in 2006, I got a kitten I named Her Majesty. So this is a lot of cats, right? A pretty good sample size. All of these cats? Every single one of them? Peed on stuff.
This is the point where I’m sure some of you are going to rush to the comments and say, “My cat has never peed outside of the litterbox!” And I am going to tell you: you’re either lying to protect your a-hole cat, or you just haven’t found the spot your a-hole cat is peeing in yet.
Her Majesty is possibly the worst offender. No matter how clean her litter boxes are–litter boxes, plural, for one cat, in an attempt to correct this issue–she will pee on something. Piece of paper gets dropped on the floor? Better pee on it. Did Mr. Jen leave his work shoes poking just outside the cubby? Buy new shoes, dickhead. Jenny, I noticed you’re doing laundry! While you’re standing literally three feet away, I’ll just squat here in front of the washing machine and pee.
This is the point where I’m sure some of you are going to rush to the comments and say, “If your cat is peeing outside of the litterbox, it means she’s sick!” And I am going to tell you: this cat has been checked for numerous conditions, numerous times, by three different vets. This cat? Is not sick. This cat is an a-hole.
So, back in the day, I stupidly, stupidly turned to people on the internet for help. I joined a forum in which cat owners traded stories and concerns about their cats. There were videos posted of cats grieving for their canine companions who’d passed on, or cats greeting service members returning from deployment. People were telling stories that proved how human cats really are, how they think and feel as complexly as we do, and that, without any doubt, cats were capable of love and devotion to human companions on a scale far greater than any love the universe has ever known.
But the second you say, “My a-hole cat is peeing on stuff, how do I fix it?” suddenly cats have absolutely no emotions. “It’s just an animal! Cats don’t have feelings the way we do, they act on instinct alone! Get out of the dark ages, you cat-hating monster!”
Then I remembered that the internet has a very skewed ratio of dummies to sensible people, and called my friend Bronwyn Green, who at one time had nine cats or something totally berserk like that. And she said, “Sounds like Her Majesty is just an asshole.” But the point of this story is, for some reason people will ascribe human emotions to cats to make them seem like the most wonderful, perfect, easy to care for species in the entire pet kingdom, but are fully willing to paint them as wild idiots whose love of destroying human property with their foul urine is just an instinct nature gave them.
“You totally have to watch this show, even though you don’t like it!” I recommend shows all the time. I mean, I can’t hide that. This is my blog, you already know. But I feel like there is a distinct difference between telling someone that a show is cool and they should give it a shot (as people on Tumblr and Twitter often do for me, and which I appreciate!), and stopping just short of actual physical torture to get someone to like it.
No television show in the history of the medium has ever embodied this type of annoyance like Firefly. On the surface, I totally understand why people who knew me thought I would like it. It’s Joss Whedon. I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel and Toy Story. And I love Star Wars and Star Trek and Doctor Who, so this was obviously going to be a home run for me, right?
I didn’t like it. Maybe it was because I mistakenly watched Serenity first. It was on HBO or whatever, and I thought that was what people were telling me to watch, so I was like, “Sure, I’ve got a couple hours.” And while I had a good time watching the movie, it wasn’t OH MY GOD THE BEST MOVIE EVER. Then I found out that I’d basically watched the end of the story, and I was like, “Well, guess I don’t need to watch the entire series.”
Lots of people I knew disagreed with me, usually loudly and at parties. It would start out like, “Have you seen Firefly? You would love it.” Then I would say, “You know, I watched Serenity and I can see why people like it, but I’m just not into it.” And they would say, “But you watched it out of order! You have to start from the beginning!” Then I would go, “I don’t have to do anything, I’m a goddamn adult!” and take a swing at them, because like I said, this was usually happening at a party and I was still drinking back then.
Eventually, my brother-from-another-set-of-parents-entirely, Warnement, convinced me to watch the first episode. And you guys, it was soooooo boring. I think I suffered through like three episodes, all of which I found boring and offensive. Magical girl who needs constant male supervision to survive? Check. Joke at the expense of a person of color’s hair? Check. Mish-mash of cultures from Asia, but no Asian people anywhere? Check. I didn’t watch the rest of the series. Surely now that I’d watched some of it, I was off the hook, right?
No. I was not off the hook. I was not off the hook by a long shot. Now the conversations were going like, “Have you seen Firefly? You would love it.” And I’d be like, “You know, I watched some of it, and I just didn’t like it.” And they would be like, “Wait, you only watched some of it? Then how could you tell you didn’t like it?” I would then explain, “It’s boring, and I found some of the stuff pretty racist, colonialist, and misogynistic.” They would demand I elaborate on these points, then give me excuse after excuse as to why I was being too sensitive, why all of those problematic elements were okay, and why I really had to watch the entire show and Serenity all over again, because then I would get it. Then one or two other people in the vicinity would be like, “Are you guys talking about Firefly?” and the cycle would start all over again, until all the Firefly fans would veer off into quoting lines and singing about the man called Jane or something.
These occurrences have sharply declined now that Firefly isn’t shiny and new, and also I stopped going to parties. But it started up again a couple of years ago with Sherlock, a show whose popularity I cannot grasp on any level. I tried to watch it. A friend asked me where I was in the first season, and I was like, “Episode eight, I think.” She goes, “Jen, there are only three episodes in the first season,” and I realized that I was so bored while watching it, it literally had felt like an eight hour binge watch.
Men who take up too much space on airplanes. As I have previously mentioned, I recently travelled to Las Vegas, and since I live in Michigan, I had to get on a plane to go there. I hate flying. I used to think it was about crashing and dying, but for the most part, it’s about having to be around people. Many times, it’s about having to be around male people. On my flight home, the plane was full as fuck. They were asking people if they would take a later flight for three hundred dollars. And of course, nobody wanted to do that. Worse, everyone seemed to have one of those giant, wheeled carry-ons. The flight attendants at the gate asked for volunteers to check their rolling bags, which would be unloaded plane-side upon arrival. Basically, rather than sticking your carry-on in the overhead, they would stick it under the plane, and not charge you the $25.00 bag fee. And of course, nobody wanted to fucking do this.
It took almost an hour to complete the boarding process, because everybody was fighting for space in the overhead bins and we could physically not get on the plane. And the worst offender was a guy I can only describe as a “dude bro,” who had not only a fully expanded rolling carry-on that was clearly larger than the ones allowed in the cabin, but a giant backpack that protruded at least a foot from his back (I don’t know if this genius thought we were hiking to Michigan or what). And guess who refused to check either bag? Guess who also made a snide comment about the fact that a woman in front of him had a much smaller rolling bag she did not want to check?
On the flight to Las Vegas, I overheard a man grumble, “Great, I’ll probably end up next to some bitch who’s three hundred pounds,” to his traveling companion. Then this asshole sat with his leg fully in the aisle for the entire flight, and acted annoyed whenever anyone had to walk to the bathroom or the flight attendants had to bring the drink cart down the aisle.
A few years back, I made a torturous flight to New York next to a guy who set up an entire home office in our row. I was flying first class, so there was a lot of extra room, but the guy put down his tray table and got out his laptop and an accordion folder full of documents that he spread all over his lap. He spent the entire flight with his elbows in my personal space as he worked, and when the in-flight refreshments were served, he put his hot coffee on the corner of my tray table. Excuse me, dude? You didn’t ask if you could put that there, and if anyone is going to spill hot coffee in my lap, it’s going to be me.
Now, I’m not saying that a woman might not do the same thing, but seriously? Why do men take up so goddamn much space in the world? I know there has been a lot of derision over women’s vocal condemnation of “man-spreading” on public transportation, but it’s a symptom of a very real problem, and that problem is that a lot of men seem to truly believe they are entitled to as much space as they can fill, and everyone else just has to deal with it. I can’t imagine living my life that way, just walking around, blithely inconveniencing everyone because I’m simply not thinking of anyone but myself. I bumped into the arm of my own couch yesterday and said, “I’m sorry.” How do you just not care how your body is affecting other people?
So, there you have it. My three biggest pet peeves, which I can totally justify, unlike the spicy food thing, or the fact that I became irrationally angry at woman who repeatedly flip their hair in public. What are your totally justified pet peeves? Share in the comments, and hit the forums to share the annoyances you totally can’t explain.