The Star-Herald

Things that drive us crazy

Pet peeves. We all have them. Some of them are minor inconveniences, while others are of the flat-out-ruin-your-day variety.

Over the years I have struggled with a number of things that annoy me. In my younger days, something as trivial as getting a scratch on my vehicle would be enough to send me into a tailspin for days.

In years past, co-workers who whistled on the job were another one of those things that would set me off for no particular reason. I’m unsure why, but I equated the sound to fingernails on a chalkboard and try as I might to block it out, nothing seemed to work. I tried headphones playing soothing nature sounds, but it never seemed strong enough to drown out the infernal racket of high-pitched whistling.

As I have gotten older, I like to think I have mellowed somewhat. But that does not mean that I am immune to things getting under my skin. That pile of clothes on the floor of my daughter’s bedroom or the sink full of clean dishes that have yet to be put away because they were “drying” are still enough to cause a little bit of exasperation for me so I still have some things to work through.

Poor drivers, however, seem to be one of my biggest annoyances. Apparently I am not alone, as the website, lists poor driving etiquette as the No. 3 pet peeve with people. Some days it seems like every driver on the road is out to get me, either by cutting me off on turns or quickly taking “my” parking space as I pull into work.

While on the topic of automobiles, nothing can ruin a day more than getting into your vehicle, turning the key and seeing the glowing orange “check engine” symbol stay illuminated on your dashboard. Seriously, with today’s technology couldn’t automobile manufacturers come up with something a little more specific other than “check engine?”

For example, we have sensors that tell drivers that the air pressure is low in their left front tire, yet we can’t have something more specific for engine problems? The light in my Jeep has come on twice now in the past three months and both times it was for an “EVAP leak.” Apparently I either did not tighten the gas cap enough at the last fillup, or the seal in said gas cap has become so worn that vapors are now escaping.

Is such an ominous warning light needed for something so trivial? I don’t think so. Perhaps future automobiles will have customizable display screens, or better yet, a fancy computer voice like Alexa (or better yet K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider) to let us know there is an issue with our vehicles.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think if my vehicle could say something like, “I’m sorry Joe, but I have detected a leak in your transmission,” it would somehow be less irritating than a glowy, orange submarine-looking symbol. At least then I would know exactly what needs to be fixed. A British accent would be nice, too.

Joseph Cyr is the assistant editor/senior reporter for Northeast Publishing, a division of Bangor Daily News.  He can be reached at 532-2281 or via email at

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.