My friend has started a Facebook tradition called “Frustration Fridays” in which she encourages her friends to air their weekly grievances on her Facebook page. I am having an exceedingly cranky week – I am mad right this very second about so many things, including the continued existence of pants and societal constraints that require me to wear them, the fact that the coffee shop next door sells biscuits for $3, and even more so at myself for buying the $3 biscuit despite my outrage because I was so hungry. I am mad at paper clips. I hate paper clips right now – they are OK in some instances, but they always snag on something or end up in some huge useless paper clip chain, and if you have a stack of paper-clipped papers and you tap it on the desk to straighten it up, all the clips get wonky. Just staple your pages or better yet use binder clips. Even in my bad mood, I have nothing but love for binder clips.

In the spirit of my grumpiness, I am going to air my Four Friday Frustrations. Yes, there are many, many things more deserving of my wrath than these four things – I’m looking at you, ruling on Louisiana’s gay marriage ban (to say absolutely nothing of literally thousands of other horrifying things happening here and around the world).  I don’t have the brain space to tackle those right now. These are little things, silly things that nevertheless are driving me bananas.


You’re invited to join me in the comments.


1.     Spelling. Look, I’m an editor. I am a stickler for spelling things correctly. I want to bang my head into a wall when I see “per say” instead of “per se” or when someone mangles the word “accommodate.” (Easy mnemonic: It’s big enough to accommodate two C’s and two M’s!) That said, I have to admit that the way we spell words sometimes makes no sense. I didn’t realize it until I was drilling Ruby on words for her spelling test and she spelled “pick” “pihk.” Her way looks wrong, but it actually sounds right. And let’s not even get started on homophones, homonyms, and homographs. There is no way to explain this to a child because there is no way to explain it, period. That’s just the way it is.

2.     Recycling. I love recycling. I have been recycling everything since I was a kid. Throwing something in the trash that could be recycled actually makes me feel dirty. I hate that you can’t recycle glass here, and before the city started offering recycling again, I paid Phoenix for the privilege of recycling. But while we were having some shoring work done on our new house, the workers filled our recycling bin with construction waste. The trash people won’t take it because it’s in a recycling bin, and of course the recycling people won’t take it because it’s not recyclable. We need to shovel it out into contractor bags or something, but in the meantime, I tried to put out the recycling in just a simple plastic trash can. They wouldn’t take it. So I left it for the trash people the following day; I hated the idea of throwing it out, but I really just needed it gone. The trash people did in fact take it the next day – but they also took the trash can it was in. They threw away my trash can. I don’t even know how to feel about this, except annoyed.

3.      Sharing names. I had Ruby’s name picked out for years. More than a decade, even. Ruby was the woman who was like a grandmother to me, and I always knew I wanted to honor her. Plus, I think it’s a beautiful name – not common, not trendy, not too weird. I feel very protective of this name, and even before I had a child, I would get kind of possessive if I saw the name “Ruby” in print. One of my biggest fears was that I would give my kid a name that required her to use an initial after it. Well, Ruby is now Ruby C. In fact, there are four Rubys at her school, three of whom are in the second grade. I think it might be the single most popular name in her grade. I legitimately felt sick when I heard that there were so many Rubys now. I am also extremely possessive of my own name. I don’t typically like meeting other Eves. I kind of pretend to – like we might have this shared appreciation of how annoying it is when people always say, “Hey, Eve – where’s Adam?” – but secretly I am thinking, “Go away, Other Eve. There is only room enough for one of us here.” And the coffee shop next door, with its stupid $3 biscuits, has only one daytime barista and her name is Eve, and that coupled with the biscuits (which aren’t even good) is enough to make me avoid going. She’s actually very nice, but seeing my name on someone else’s nametag is too much for me, and yes, I realize what a narcissist I am.

4.     Pumpkin spice anything. First off, I don’t like autumn, which I know makes me sound like a monster. Who doesn’t like autumn, right? But I hate it. I hate it because I had never experienced autumn before I went to college in the Midwest, and at first, I was utterly charmed and captivated. The leaves were so pretty! The air was so crisp! The sky was so clear and blue! So when autumn turned into winter and the trees were all naked and brown and the air was so cold it made my jaw ache and there was absolutely no color in the landscape for five freaking months at a stretch, I felt betrayed. I take weather personally (which, again, I know sounds maybe a tad bit insane), and I felt abused by winter. I felt like autumn had wooed me only so winter could smack me around. It doesn’t help that I am the kind of person who is paralyzed by dread and pathologically unable to enjoy the moment without panicking about the future. The only fall I ever enjoyed was my first one – every single fall after that was spent dreading the winter. So the appearance of pumpkin spice whatever fills me with a sense of impending doom, even though I am now back in the land of 70 degree Christmases. On top of all of that psychological baggage, though, is the fact that pumpkin spice anything is horrible. I kept hearing all the excitement over the pumpkin spice latte, but I never tried it until last year. I was pretty excited. I like pumpkin. I like the spices that typically accompany pumpkin. I adore coffee. And yet when I tried a pumpkin spice latte, I nearly spit it out. That shit tastes like melted votive candles. And now it’s everywhere. I saw Pumpkin Spice M&Ms in the drugstore yesterday, for Pete’s sake! Pumpkin spice belongs one place: in a pumpkin pie, covered with whipped cream.


I hope by next week, I’ll be less grouchy. Maybe I’ll share Four Fabulous Friday Facts or something. But until then, tell me what little things are annoying you this week.