Monday, January 5, 2009

My pet peeves

I have been thinking about this post for a while and didn't really want to post it as seems a bit whiny I guess, but I really need to just get this off my chest so that I can maybe start to move on or at least not think about it as a blog post. My first pet peeve is whiny people, hence why I didn't want to post this I do not want to sound whiny myself. There is this one person at work in particular who always seems to be whining about something. She whines because the kids in the classroom are not perfect angels and just sit and listen to the teacher. Well I hate to tell you sweetheart, but you work in a special education classroom, those children are in there for a reason. I know that she is a teacher's assistant and she did not exactly get to choose the room she is working in, but you are in there for this whole year, maybe you can work on getting moved to another classroom for next year, but the constant griping that the kids do not sit and are active i not going to change things. If you want things to change, than work with the teacher or better yet learn yourself, how to access these children at the level they are at and then find ways to help them to have better control over their bodies so they are not running around. Then she whines about the weather, it is too cold, it is too windy and worst there is snow on the ground. She hates to drive in the snow and in most cases refuses to do it and tells everyone over and over and over that if it snows on a particular day, she is calling in sick because she is not going to drive in snow. Well, guess what, no one likes to drive in the snow and yes it is damn cold outside and yes it is windy at times, but YOU LIVE IN FUCKING CHICAGOLAND, it is cold in the winter and it snows, get over yourself. If you want no snow and warm weather move to Florida, California or better yet the tropics. It is going to snow here so learn to deal with driving in it or not, but don't tell me every 3 minutes you are not coming tomorrow because there might be some snow on the ground. I do not care.

Second, it is a pet peeve when people use inexact language. As Horton said in Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss, " I meant what I said, and I said what I meant." It drives me nuts when people say something and then when I try to get a clarification, they say ohh that is not what I meant. I know this drives GG crazy, she says I am being too literal. I do not try to be literal, but language is power and so when you say something you need to say what you mean and mean what you say. A great example of this, for me, over the holidays I was visiting with my parents and my mom was talking about the increase in the Latino population in the town that I grew up in. She was mentioning that there are a lot of little restaurants in the downtown area. So I asked if they were taquerias, little taco restaurants, that are really popular around us and in other highly Latino areas. Because if they were, I was excited and really wanted to try one. I love little taquerias, although they can be hard if you do not eat meat, but the whole little family restaurants are always really cool to me. So then she got annoyed at me as I was asking a lot of questions, something else I do that I know drives people nuts at times, and she went on to say that they were little grocery stores, what I would term a bodega. Well this is a whole different thing, a grocery store is different than a restaurant (sorry mom for using you for this). The other inexact wording that consistently annoys me are the signs in grocery stores that say things like Oriental food or Latin food. It is Asian Food and well, I am not sure exactly what the term for the foods of Latin America, maybe Latin American food, but not Latin food. Latin is a language and the area that the Latin language originates is Italy and that is not really tortillas, tortas or Mexican sweets. It is just that I try to use words exactly for the concept or idea that I am trying to convey and so when others use words or language inexactly, it bothers me. Most of the time I can get over it, but occasionally I just need others to be more exact. I am working on the whole not being as literal thing, as GG calls it, but language has power and correct language has more power and conveys your idea better than inexact language.

Thank you for letting me vent.


Tengrain said...

Thanks for this - it bugs me too, Boxer.

Maybe it is because in Silicon Valley we have so many people from all over the world converging here, but I find my skin crawling when people say oriental when they mean Asian.

And again, because this is such a diverse community, we do not shy away from saying Mexican, Guatamalan, or any-other-specific-country-of-origan-an. It makes decisions on where to eat a lot more interesting - do you want Mexican, Peruvian, or Columbian? And yes, there are differences.



Lisa said...

You're right about language, Boxer. But I couldn't help but chuckle. We have a couple of Mr. Literals who live in this house. I guess a math brain may lead to that, huh?

They keep me on my toes, that's for sure. If I say something, I'd better be clear or be prepared to explain myself.

Mauigirl said...

I agree, inexact language annoys me too. And the tendency in English is to go from more exact to less exact; words that once had a specific meaning become more general. For instance, "notoriety" used to mean "bad publicity" - now it just seems to mean publicity or fame without the negative skew.

And to be non-sexist, actresses are now referred to as "actors." So if you're using the word "The actor" in a sentence you don't have a vision of who that person is and if you wanted to let someone know the person was a woman you'd have to say "female actor" which is what actress meant in the first place.