Pet Delights

“What are your pet peeves?”

I was playing a get-to-know-you game with a friend as we walked around the lake in the park. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and the park was mobbed with families and small children all eager to take advantage of the mild weather. Meanwhile I was wearing all black from head to toe and carrying a parasol: doing my best to avoid bursting into flames at the slightest brush of the sunlight on my skin.

Having to wear damned sunscreen. I thought, but I didn’t say it. Instead I said: “People who open their driver’s side door wide into traffic and just leave it sticking out as long as they want.”

My friend concurred, and raised me with a “people who park in the traffic lane with their blinkers on at rush hour and just block up traffic through an intersection.”

I got the feeling that this was a specific peeve about a specific intersection and possibly a specific car, but I didn’t pry for details.

“People who walk three wide and take up the whole sidewalk.”

“People who don’t make way for other people on the sidewalk.”

Some of the peeves were readily available for experience on these particular sidewalks. More than once we went off-road to cut a corner to get around a slow moving clot or chaotic group, tossing small annoyances back and forth to prompt conversation.

“You know, people always talk about pet peeves, but they never talk about pet delights.” I pointed out after a while. It was easy to find more and more things to be annoyed about and I could feel my mental cycle beginning to gain momentum in the search for things that bothered me. And there were plenty: I didn’t need to go borrowing trouble.

“I think those are called kinks.”

I’d probably set myself up for that one.

“Ok, sure, for the sexytime ones, yes. But I was thinking more like little everyday delights like nicely bundled cables or a fresh, sharp pencil.”

It took a minute to change gears, but the game was easy to continue.

“I like watching the ripples in a flag.” I offered. “I find it soothing.”

“A perfectly ripe banana.”

“The smell of wood smoke- or bacon.”

“A pun that makes people roll their eyes.”

The momentum was even faster on this one- the more I thought of things I liked the more things I found to like. The sound of rain. The silence of snow. Hot black coffee. Cold beer. Neat whiskey. A clever turn of phrase. Finding exactly the right word.

I may have waxed poetic for a bit. Suddenly the world was full of delights. It made me start thinking of other people’s pet delights: the Curmudgeonly Lion’s love of good beef jerky or making something beautiful out of wood or solving a complicated technical problem- I’ve never seen a more dedicated problem solver or autodidact (someone who teaches themselves things).

It was nice to think about other people being happy and the things that give them joy. I thought maybe it was something I should do more often.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 28, 2019.

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