Let it be known that we have five adopted pets that I adore with all of my heart. All of them are currently of the feline species, but contrary to the title of this blog entry, none are named ‘Peeves.’
I think though, that in the future, I’ll consider calling a kitten by the name of Peeves, simply because the term ‘pet peeves’ is not only a humorous play on words, it’s my favorite way to describe those itty bitty details that annoy me to no end. Not to say that a kitten would add to my level of annoyance. Not at all. I am a complete sucker for kittens. They’re cute, they’re playful and I’m proud to say I’ve bottle-fed my share of kittens and rescued and still have a couple others. I just think it’ll be kind of cool to refer to an actual pet as ‘Peeves.’ I like to think I’m creative that way.
On a serious note, let it also be known that cats are the most blunt little assholes you’ll ever come to know and love. They don’t sugar coat anything. They let you know when they’re pissed off. They knock shit off of the countertops while looking you in the face at the same time. They challenge you. They take chances. They turn any room in the house into their own personal playground, regardless of how many times you’ve tried to offer them alternatives. They take turns playing ‘chase me!’ in the middle of the night when everyone else is trying to sleep. By now we know that any random crashing or shattering of objects during the wee hours is the likely result of having five nocturnal children who have no idea the difference between a dollar-store figurine or that vase passed down by your great grandmother from Italy. Buy them a thirty to fifty dollar scratching post only to find they prefer to scratch the side of the $1200 couch, instead. Order them a fancy-schmancy cat toy, they’ll show you gratitude by demonstrating that they prefer the plain old cardboard box it arrived in, instead. Cats are highly intelligent little shits that KNOW it annoys you when they do these little things, and frankly, they don’t give a damn. You can holler all you want at a cat and in return, you get a view of their behind when they walk away from you. They simply don’t care.
I think these little jerks are onto something, though.
One male cat we have is highly temperamental about his back paws being touched. We can pet him anywhere and he will purr like there is no tomorrow, but when we get anywhere near the back paws, he’ll give us that look that tells us that if we proceed, we WILL require stitches. Another cat we have is very apprehensive in general about any new people he encounters, but absolutely loathes my ex-husband. Which, of course, we don’t blame him for. He’s not our favorite person, either. My ex has tried to pet him, only to be rewarded with the full-on, ears-back hiss that would make even the lion tamers at the circus think twice. Then we have three female cats that each have their own specific quirks of their own. One of them, a rescue, doesn’t like to be touched at ALL. She will however allow you to pet her for no more than two seconds before she decides that she’s had enough of the likes of you and she’ll saunter off. There’s one who will sit at the table thinking we will give her food (and she’s usually right, we end up tossing her some scraps) and there’s our oldest girl, that doesn’t care if you have had a hard day or are simply too tired to pay her any extra attention…when she wants affection from you, she will demand it by plopping herself on whatever pillow she wants, even if your head is already on it.
I think, basically, what I’m trying to say is - a cat will effectively let you know when it’s time to back off, and they have no fear of making you aware when something bothers them. They don’t care if they offend you in the process. It is after all, not about you at all.
I think this is something I need to teach myself. I never want to offend anyone, especially when I know that to be bothersome is not the initial intent. I’ve done a lot of apologizing over the years for times I’ve reacted unfavorably to something done by someone else. I’m also of the belief that some of these little peeves are as a result of my history, leading me to the creation of this entry/post.
Here’s an example of one of my personal peeves…
My lovely wifey, J, and I go bowling twice a week. When we go bowling, it’s mostly just to get out and have fun…but at the same time, it’s a league so there is the competitive element behind it all. However, it’s not that competitive that we can’t show decency, respect and sportsmanship. When someone from the opposing team throws a strike, the nice, sportsman-like thing to do would be to hold your hand out for them to ‘five;’ it’s a league thing and simply a nice thing to do. Every league I’ve been on has this unwritten rule, or a code, for lack of a better word. Anyway, I’m fine with showing sportsmanship even if my team isn’t doing well at that time.
So, that being said, let’s rewind to last Friday’s bowling night. We were getting slaughtered. Not only was the other team bowling WAY higher than their averages, we, in turn, had forgotten that the purpose of bowling was to knock down all ten pins. None of us were marking (getting a strike or spare = 'mark') and we were all kind of thinking to ourselves why we sucked so badly. Anyway…I hold my hand out next time one of the guys on the opposing team throws a pocket shot. He comes back and instead of the traditional quick hand tap, his ‘five’ seemed more like a ten or a fifteen. His hand kind of lingered on top of mine. Now, I know that’s not something that would normally bother someone (or is it?) but I didn’t like that at all. Still, I’m certain the guy didn’t mean anything by it. If anything, he was being overly friendly.
If I was a cat, though, I probably would have hissed and let them know with a unexpected swat that that didn’t please me. But then that would have raised the question of my sanity above all.
Instead, the next time he threw a strike, I decided to change things up a little. I still held my hand out, but decided that I was going to call the shots. A five is a five. Not a ten or a fifteen. Not a caress. Not a palm reading. Not a let’s-hold-hands-now moment. Nope. A five is a five. And that’s IT.
So my hand is out. He goes to tap it. As soon as his fingers touched the palm of my hand, I pulled it back and did not afford him the opportunity to make it last any longer than the second of contact. Done. I am all done, sir, and so are you.
I am entirely comfortable with sharing little pet peeves with J. In fact, she does this thing with cutting her nails with the little metal clipper we have in our end tables. The noise it makes…I don’t know. I guess while some have issues with nails on a chalkboard, the clipping of nails has the same effect on me. No idea why. Being avid bowlers, we aren’t long-nail type ladies, so we both trim regularly. I’m not bothered when I cut my own; maybe because mine aren’t as thick as hers. I don’t even hear it when I do cut my own fingernails. But when she does hers and I’m nearby enough to hear it, I literally want to break something. She’s gotten around to apologizing when she cuts her nails. I’m sure it’s because she knows I’m trying to suppress the urge to walk away. She knows I love her with every fiber of my being though, and if this is the only thing she does that annoys me, then I can live with that.
But this is even more important to take note of - this little peeve is something she thoroughly knows about as opposed to the days where I’d say nothing whenever something bothered me. It should be always okay to share what bothers you. I also feel that now, I am able to share without fear of offending her. I know that because she has made me aware of things that I do that irk her, too. Even if they’re not things that cause her discomfort, she can find the humor in the situation and we can laugh comfortably about it.
For example, my obsession with having TOTAL, PITCH BLACK darkness when it’s time to go to sleep.
Huh? Okay, let me tell you about that, too.
I’ve NO idea where this even came from. My mother knows about this, as it’s been a thing of mine for as long as I can remember. She refers to it as light-sensitivity. I don’t know if that’s even a thing. Is Count Dracula my father? Because when it comes to light, even the littlest dot of light (like the power button to the cable box that even when the cable box is off, remains illuminated) I need to NOT see it when I’m trying to fall asleep. I need to see nothing. NOTHING at all. It’s gotten to the point that sleeping somewhere else where I cannot control where any/all light may be coming from, is a nightmare. I will go to lengths to avoid sleeping anywhere other than my own bed. A visit to my mother’s house or even to the in-laws’ house is always dreaded, even if I have two or three weeks’ advance notice. I’d sooner stay in a hotel, I think partially because I always feel nothing short of complete and total embarrassment having to do this nightly darkening ritual on someone else’s turf. You can ask J about the time we went to Disneyland and I had to stand on a chair to cover the light on the smoke alarm. It didn’t matter then because I wasn’t in someone’s home and I didn’t have to worry about them waking up to discover a well-placed sock on top of their DVD player.
Even at home before bedtime, I’m going around the room, draping t-shirts or other items of clothing over the cable box, over the clock, over any little teeny tiny red or green dot that I can find. This is of course, in addition to the drapes being closed, the blinds shut, any and all lights in the hallway turned off. In the event that a hallway light is left on for whatever reason (a guest, kids still being up, etc) I will resort to blocking the light from underneath the door by laying a pair of pants across the floor at the foot of the door. J will sit in bed and wait patiently while I do all of these things. There are times when I’ll THINK I got them all and ten minutes after crawling into bed I’ll realize, NOPE! There’s a little light on my cell phone flashing and I’ll get up and cover that, too. I know she laughs at me, but that’s okay. Is there anyone else who is like this? I mean, I know there are some who prefer a little night light but this? I don’t like bright lights. I kinda feel like that cute, but skittish little Mogwai dude from Gremlins. Bright lights! Bright lights! No bueno. I prefer the soft ambient lights to those damn brights, any day.
Sunlight is not my friend, either. I’m known to chain-sneeze whenever I step outside after being inside/unexposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time. That’s not a peeve, though, that’s a fact. It’s called Achoo Syndrome. And believe it or not, it’s actually a thing and it’s supposedly genetic. My son and nephew are also sufferers of such a syndrome.
Mmm…I am also reminded that somewhere in Long Island, there is a nail salon that employs an Asian woman who was accidentally kicked in the face because she made the mistake of trying to massage my feet and toes during a pedicure. I think it was one of the first times I’d ever gotten around to getting my feet done and it would also be the last for a very long while. And fortunately for this poor woman, it was the last time I ever showed up at that particular establishment. I did leave her an extra tip for her troubles, though.
I guess I don’t like my back paws touched, either. Let’s add that to the list, while we’re at it. I purposely avoid pedicures now, to protect other manicurists from suffering the same fate.
As I write this, my cats are asleep at the foot of my bed. They’re such fascinating little creatures. So full of personality. So honest. You know when they’re happy. You know when they’re sad, scared, nervous. You certainly know when they’re hungry or thirsty. And you damn well know when they’re pissed off. I admire how these cats fully grasp the concept of conveying their feelings. I wish it was that simple for the human race. Ever think about how much more simple life would be if we were all masters of that thing called communication?
How do you guys reckon a peeve is even born? How does it develop? How do you work through them? (That is, assuming you don’t hiss, bite or scratch. If that’s your way, then my cats have already explained that part to me.)
Just a few things to ponder for tonight. Hope everybody’s doing well. Time for me to go cover some lights.