3 Antidotes to Seasonal Affective Pet Peeve Disorder

An alternate title for this website was “Mamma Mia: All the Pet Peeves of Christina,” but I recently read an article that advocated for recognizing your pet faves as an alternative (and antidote) to pet peeves.

“If pet peeves draw on a shared humanity by recognizing how annoying people are or how frustrating the details can be, pet faves are what connect us through appreciation and acknowledgement of simple sweetness.”

While writing this I discovered that in the UK they say pet hate (Way harsh, Tai. Is that why you voted for Brexit?). Meanwhile, I find that the Italian translation of pet peeve lacks spunk:

pet peeve; n. avversione (aversion), cosa che si detesta/odia (thing you detest/hate).

It doesn’t quite capture that a pet peeve is typically a personal, sometimes irrational, annoyance that may be unoffensive to others. For example, a pet peeve of mine is when coworkers start an email thread without a greeting (Hello to you, too) or a sign-off (Thanks for nothing, Barb). On the other hand, there are those who enjoy shuffling through the world as heartless robots.

Backspace. Backspace. Delete. Delete. Must stop typing additional pet peeves and remember why I’m here…

Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones:


1) The radiator warming my robe while I shower

I worked damn hard to get that radiator functioning again. I had three visits from 1-2 plumbers (I didn’t realize they were twin brothers until very late in the game), learned and forgot the translation for flat-headed screwdriver, scrubbed mud and acid from a white floor, and burst into the kitchen every five minutes when one of them (who knows) would sputter Porca troia! Vaffanculo!

“Stai bene? Are you ok?” I’d exclaim. Yeah, just burned and/or shocked myself on your medieval water heater. Don’t worry. Faced with my peripheral hovering, they referred to me amongst themselves as la ragazza, the girl.

In true Italian fashion, they “parked” their vehicle by eyeing six feet of partially unobstructed asphalt and deciding that it was a parking space. I found this out via HONK. HONK. HONK. Indistinguishable yelling in the distance. Andrea/Alessio rushes out on the balcony, waves his arms and shouts toward street level, “Ooouu ehhh ouuuu! Vengo! Aspetta!” They’ve blocked someone in. “Anyway, your water heater is hopeless. We’ll come back on Friday to try to fix it again.”

Mario and Luigi saying Haters gonna hate

2) Dogs who don’t know that you don’t know what you’re doing with your life

It’s not easy to make friends when you’re an adult (in a foreign city with an unfamiliar tongue where everyone is always in a rush yet also always late), but when I uttered a barely audible “Ciao” to Lulu (I imagine), she welcomed me with open arms, launching herself onto my lap, relishing in ear scratches and baby talk as we rode to the next subway stop.

Then there was Gruff (I suppose), who nudged my hand while I sat drinking prosecco in a bookstore that was hosting a one-man blues band. Then there was Vivica (probably), who, on another 1-2 prosecco binge, scoured the bar for potato chips and snuggles. Then there was Estee (surely) in Sephora, a yellow lab or golden retriever who lay on the ground beneath the lipsticks, face between paws, while her mother tested out eye shadows in another aisle.

I asked the wrong woman for permission to approach her pup, “Posso…[forgets the verb “to pet”]?” No, no, it’s not mine. I turn to another nearby lady. “Posso…?” Sì, sì! “Ouuuu. Sei così belllllla,” I coo, caressing the fur between her eyes. “Boopitybooo. Avevo una così. Che bella.” I leave the store with a free skin mood correcting sample.

Dogs: they don’t care if you’re bad at verb conjugations or anxiety management.

Golden retrievers bond over a tennis ball

3) The intro jingle to a podcast, sponsored by increased household chores

We Americans like our clothes dryers. They save us time and make our fabrics fluffy. We miss them when they’re not there. These tumbling wonders aren’t very common in Europe for a variety of lightly researched reasons like 1) Lack of space 2) Higher energy costs 3) Fancy Milanese clothes must be air dried 4) Tourists wouldn’t be able to take pictures of quaint Italian streets with undies hanging above gargoyles.

Just as our apartment does not have a dryer, it came without a dishwasher. The latter is much more commonly seen here, but we have a relatively tiny kitchen that was meant to be occupied by a single woman who instead chose her own destiny. But, I have turned the potential pet peevishness of stiff socks, moldy-smelling towels and fried-egg-coated knives into an opportunity for audio enlightenment in the form of podcasts.

SNL Schweddy Balls sketch with Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon. Quote: Good times.

As I re-hang the damp jeans on day three and wonder if they will ever be wearable, I listen to Michael Barbaro investigate the overlooked scandal of nun abuse. Then, for a much-needed tiramisù (Fun fact: tiramisù means “Pick me up”), I turn to a comedic ginger with Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. Later, as I handwash delicate china €2 IKEA drinking glasses, I’ll suddenly feel disconnected from my homeland’s 2020 election, so I’ll listen to some Pod Save America, but then the episode title turns out to be “Organize the rage,” so I have to calm down with some sage storytellers on Longform.

And then someone will share a story about sexual harassment in their Italian workplace, so I have to listen to Women in Charge while I hang fraying socks as if they were delicate lingerie. I’ll feel inspired enough to subsequently lean in with an episode of Tilted. Alas, later I receive a pitiful job offer despite my leaning, and I’m right back to fuming with a dose of No Man’s Land, which covers “women who were too bad for your textbooks.” Might you recommend a podcast for my fury-delight playlist?

What are your current pet faves? Are they influenced by your access to modern appliances?

“What would it mean to pay more attention to these small reminders, to put the sadness and cynicism in the back row, and to let my faves outnumber my peeves? I imagine it would feel like the spiritual equivalent of a cold glass of water after eating something sweet.” -T. Wise

Matt Damon gulps water as Brett Kavanaugh on SNL

4 thoughts on “3 Antidotes to Seasonal Affective Pet Peeve Disorder

  1. You always jump start my day. Love the plumbers. Not much different than here ( they have to come back) only in English. Twins… who’d a thunk??
    I share the brrrrr syndrome. However, it can’t be climate change cause it’s cold here.

    Liked by 1 person

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