A Pet Peeve Which Makes Me Want to Burn People

Sometimes, I try to set people on fire with my brain. It doesn’t work, but if I learned anything from Christmas tv specials as a kid: it’s the thought that counts. And I think about burning people with my non-existent brain powers.

I’m trying to be more like this

I am not as patient with other people as I could be. I get frustrated when people I work with don’t live up to the same standard as me. I get annoyed when people fail to realize they are acting within a world in which they are not the absolute center, like when they take up too much room on the sidewalk because they just cannot fathom that someone might be in a hurry behind them. I am outraged consistently by people who try to chat in the checkout line at the grocery store. When it comes to dealing with people, I err on the side of anger, and that’s just one of my big character flaws. Sometimes I try to be better. I put effort into being a little kinder, a little more patient, to give people the benefit of the doubt.

But I’m a lot more like this

With one exception. I do not know what exactly possesses people to repeatedly press the button at crosswalks so it beeps over and over, but if I had a flamethrower and no witnesses, I would immolate these loud, unnecessary people with all the sadistic glee of a child who has just discovered their body spray is flammable enough to roast anthills.

Behold the reason I may go to prison

Yesterday as I was going home, I was stuck at a crosswalk with a woman who looked like the personification of the smug feeling people get when they do yoga. I got to the light first. I pressed the button. She was right behind me so she definitely heard it beep. It’s a loud beep. I heard her walk up behind me. Then, I heard something else, something that–for me–would completely justify chaining her to the side of an active volcano. A beep. And then another. A whole parade of beeps, one after the other, a panic of beeping as this woman pressed the button again and again.

Why? Why do this? What can possibly be gained from pressing it so much? Did she think she could persuade the light to change faster? Did she think there was a little person in a control tower just for that intersection who, upon seeing her frantic beeping, would stop traffic because clearly, she has got places to be? I let her cross the street ahead of me because I liked the thought of throwing a rock at the back of her head.

Imagine one of these that is just absolutely furious

At a later light, in the same day, on the same trip home, I was stuck at another crosswalk. This time, the culprit was across the street. He was a larger man with tattoos coating his arms and chest. He was wearing a black tank top and black jeans. I wonder if he would color code the same if he was wearing lime green. He had his arm around a woman dressed similarly but with fewer tattoos. I hope they called ahead so they would dress to match. They walked with his arm wrapped around her shoulder until they reached the stop light. The man, ever the gentleman, pressed the button. Then he did it again. He started really leaning into it while looking at his companion with a face twisted by what could have been rage or maybe his face was just naturally wrinkled like a furious raisin.

Again, I had many questions. What did he hope to accomplish by attacking the button in this way? Did he think he could intimidate it? Did he think that he could press it hard enough that the lights would all turn and traffic would screech to a halt for him and his muscles? I wanted to shout across the street “It’s not afraid of you! Try reasoning with it!” but, based on how angrily he was pressing a button to cross the street, I also assumed reason wasn’t his go-to solution for things. The light turned. He stopped pressing the button, put his arm back around his companion as if to say “I told you I’d get it, baby,” and they crossed the street together. I’m glad those two have each other: one who needs to fight buttons and one who can look thankful that buttons have been fought on their behalf, a timeless love story.

Everyone has pet peeves, but this is not a pet for me; this is a roommate, and it may one day lead me to a psych ward. I may crack completely, unravel and let my mind drift into itself. I’d live out my days whimpering “you only need to press it once.” I would baffle new doctors, and the old ones, the ones who will have been my caretakers for years, will say “this is patient NES5046, and the only way to make the crying stop is put on some sitcoms and leave the light off.” Then, they’d close the door to my cell and leave me to be broken in peace.

22 Replies to “A Pet Peeve Which Makes Me Want to Burn People”

  1. You just made me remember Fire Starter by Stephen King. According to this fictional portrayal of your fantasy it is not a good power to have. Poor little version of Drew Barrymore in the classic film. I sympathize with your irritation about the crosswalk button. It morphs into many forms: repeatedly pressing the elevator button, ringing the doorbell too many times…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Dude, I remember when I was a kid and saw Fire Starter I wanted to have that special power, even though it destroyed the poor kid (spoiler!).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ” Did she think there was a little person in a control tower just for that intersection who, upon seeing her frantic beeping, would stop traffic because clearly, she has got places to be?” – Are you telling there isn’t one in there?!

    ” I let her cross the street ahead of me because I liked the thought of throwing a rock at the back of her head.” – Hahahahahaha.

    You need to move to the UK, this problem never occurs because when you press the button nothing audible happens, just a small area lights up. Now this light which appears tells the ‘presser’ that the machine has acknowledged their request and they need not press again, but that doesn’t stop them, and many others from pressing away repeatedly like the morons they are. The bonus is that if you turn away, you don’t know they’re being morons because you can’t hear anything. People are the same the world over, we just need better ways to keep their idiocy a secret.

    – Esme nodding and feeling his pain upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I dearly wish there was a person in the control tower. Then I’d know who to bribe to make sure the light never changes if people press it more than twice. A silent button sounds fantastic, but I’d know they were behind me pressing it. I can’t decide if that would be worse. I’d know they were being stupid right behind me, but I wouldn’t be able to see them, like knowing there’s a murderer in your house but not where.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “like knowing there’s a murderer in your house but not where.” – Yes, it’s just like having a murderer in your house and not knowing where they are. Uncanny similarity. Murderer you can’t see verses annoying button presser you can’t see, that age-old dilemma. Hahahahahaha.

        – Esme blaming British humour and pegging it laughing upon the Cloud

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The list of things that can send you off to prison grows every so slightly! It’s almost impressive you’re still out and about! Imagine if there was a person who took your chair and was waiting for you while pressing a button. Good god!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. …What if I told you the wasps in your barbecue were the fiends behind such an act of unmitigated savagery? Seems like the answer to a lot of problems!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so funny. ‘A timeless love story’ really got me. The traffic light buttons where I live don’t beep when you press them, so I haven’t experienced this, but it does sound extremely enraging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “I told you I’d get it, baby,” and ‘timeless love story’ …..it’s like telling them that I would mind my sarcasm if only you could mind your stupidity!!! Hilarious as always JK5046 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. or you’re standing waiting for an elevator or cross walk and you’ve been standing there alone for a bit. Someone walks up and pushes the button repeatedly because, obviously, I’m too stupid to have thought of pushing the button or can’t make up my mind on up or down or I enjoy just standing on a sidewalk in front of the crossing lights. Oooo..look at the pretty lights change. Thank god that person showed up or I’d be standing there all day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anyone who pressed a button you’ve clearly pressed is either self-centered beyond reason or totally unaware that the world works when they’re not around to drive it. Either way, I’d love to strike them with a shovel

      Liked by 1 person

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