Things That Annoy Me Essay

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Annoyances are a version of hassles, I think, and they too may be deleterious.

Maybe hassles take a toll precisely because they are annoying. They prevent us from paying attention to other things.

by science writers Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman (2011).

The book is a free-ranging and intelligent discussion of what is known about the things that annoy us: what, who, when, why, and how.

A one-time explosion on the street surprises and frightens us, but it is not annoying.

Our neighbor's music, played over and over, night after night, is highly annoying. A coworker who constantly badgers us, belittles us, and bullies us is a bad person, but he is not an annoyance. In contrast, a coworker who tells us the same joke hundreds of times is not a bad person, but he is an annoyance, and his laughter after each telling becomes like a fingernail on a blackboard, not life-threatening but certainly life-diminishing.I suspect, though, that annoyance as a private experience nevertheless occurs.Epidemiologists have long known that major life events - like divorce or job loss - can lead to poor physical and psychological health (Holmes & Rahe, 1967).And the fact that we only hear one side of it (what is called a makes it especially distracting and thus highly annoying, as it goes on and on and on. But to extrapolate from Darwin's proposal that negative emotions like fear and anger are warning signals that lead to appropriate actions to avoid or undo pending danger, perhaps annoyances galvanize an appropriate reaction to whatever distracts us from what paying attention to what really matters, not a bad skill for people to have in their repertoire.Maybe the human tendency to make sense of the world is coopted by hearing half a conversation more than it is by hearing both sides. Along these lines, Palca and Lichtman speculate that annoyance alerts us to a violation of our expectations about the way things are supposed to be.A more recent realization is that mundane hassles - like having to take care of a neighbor's pet - also put people at risk for poor health (Kanner, Coyne, Schaefer, & Lazarus, 1981).Indeed, because hassles are usually more common than major life events, the damage they do in the aggregate may be greater.Indeed, if you complain about a blister, you risk becoming an annoyance yourself. Our own wind chimes strike us as beautiful, whereas those of our neighbors are annoying.Along these lines, the authors cite other people's acronyms as annoying, at least when they are unfamiliar to us, whereas our own acronyms are efficient, entertaining, and even elegant*. Apparently there are cultures - like Yap or Japan - where one simply does not express annoyance.The unprompted smiles or giggles of our children would qualify.Given that the origin or the word annoyance is from an Old French verb meaning perhaps anything that provides a solution to a minor problem would also qualify, like parking spaces that appear when we most need them. Relevant research has just begun, but the answer appears to be yes.

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