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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Day 11: Those annoying people at school

June 19, 2009

Does this water make me look fat?

Does this water make me look fat?

The responses to my teen annoyance survey keep coming in, but I’ve got enough now to see a trend. Apparently, school is the most annoying place in the world. Why? Because so many of the other students are sooooo annoying. Here are a few of the choicest descriptions I received in answer to the first question: “What things at school annoy you?”

“I was on my way to class and a bunch of ignorant stuck-up girls had the nerve to just walk right into me without so much as using their manners to excuse themselves but only to keep on babbling their heads off.”

“When people leave the faucet on and water goes drip drip.”

“This girl insults people as if it’s just a big joke to her, but then when they lash out at her, she starts to cry or gets upset and insulted. But no matter how hurt she gets when people respond to her annoying not to mention retarded and immature teasing, she just goes on and does it again the next day.”

“There are these know-it-alls in my class who like licking up to the teacher every minute and not letting anyone get a word in.”

“I have a sorta friend who is always saying ‘I’m so fat.’ when she is not. And I know she does it just to make the rest of us feel fat. It’s really annoying!”

“The most annoying person in my school is The Dolt. He constantly says stupid jokes such as ‘That’s what she said.’ and ‘Your mom.’ And yes, is a junior in high school. In other words, he’s so insecure he feels he has to constantly make people laugh, even if it makes him look like an idiot. And did I mention he’s got a 2.0? He’s a real role model, alright…”

“‘The Everything-You-Say-Means-Sex’ People.  I know a guy and a girl like this. Everything you say when you talk to them has a dirty meaning. From ‘short bus’ to ‘what’s up’ to talking about how you had to water the garden. If a guy has girlish features, he’s a hermaphrodite. If a girl hates guys and kissing, she’s secretly a slut… at least to these two. They use the vulgar terms for everything sexual and only want to talk about sex and things related to it. It’s really annoying!!”

“There’s this girl I’ve known since I started 6th grade (I’m in 8th now). She was OK at the beginning but when we got close she started to become very clingy, annoying and a bit like a stalker. Since we have had an argument she has purposely been talking out loud to other people about me… so I can hear her. Grrrrrrrr.”

Wow! None of those people sound like much fun, but if you saw any of them, they’d probably look like normal. Shows what you know! From the point of view of the kids who sent in these responses, their behavior is sooo annoying that the very thought of them is enough to get under your skin.

If you’re no longer a student maybe you can recall some annoying former classmates of your own. Like the kid in my high school who used to come up behind some unsuspecting girl and wrap his arms around  her. He thought he was being charming. Today we call it sexual harassment. Or the girl in my math class who couldn’t wait until the tests were returned so she (of the 4.5 GPA) could ask everyone “What did you get?” Ah yes… school days, school days, good old golden rule days.

So at summer’s end when you’ve had it up to here with the annoyance of your kids being around all day and you ask them: “Are you excited to start school again?” Don’t be surprised if the answer is an emphatic no. In addition to returning to the joys of homework and sleep deprivation, they may very well be thinking of those annoying people they’ll be dealing with again. But hey, it’s all part of their life skills education, right?

Filed under: Annoyance Challenge,Teens — Tags: , — Annie @ 5:46 pm

Day 10: I don’t want to be here

June 18, 2009

Now that's a safe place to park

Now that's a safe place to park

My Annoyance Challenge continues. (Huff, puff, grrrrrrr, $#@%! ) David’s getting with the program too. The other day while we were driving, I was grumbling about something. What was it? Hmmm. Ah yes!  Well, now that I actually remember, it’s too embarrassing to mention…. too petty and infantile. You say you want to hear it anyway? Allll-riiiiight. Might as well. Otherwise my good standing in Bloggers for Ultimate Truth-Telling (BUTT) might be unseated. (NOTE: This sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but wouldn’t it have made a great image if it had?)

Here’s what happened: We were on our way to meet Ezra and Sarah to check out a possible wedding venue. We were early and had temporarily parked a few miles from the place while David fiddled with his iPhone (yes there’s an iPod app) trying to cue up the book on CD we were listening to. Because it’s got 211 tracks and lost the bookmark where we’d left off in the story we had a problem.

D: “Was this the place?” (narrator reads…)

A: “No, we already heard that part about the decomposed yellow dress.”

D: “How about this? Sound familiar?” (narrator reads…)

A: “Uh… Franks’ ex-wife the manicurist? I don’t think so.  No, wait. We did hear this.”

D: “How about this?” (narrator reads…)

A: “I dunno. Whatever! It’s fine.”

D: “No. No. I remember that part with the old guy’s coughing fit.”

A: “So we’ll hear it again!! Who cares, David?! Let’s just get going!!!”

A bit over the top, I’ll admit it… now. Then, I was just, you know, completely unconscious and irrational, like most of us are too much of the time. But my sweet guy didn’t get sucked into my nastiness. He just calmly looked up from his iPhone and said, “You’re annoyed. Why don’t you do whatever you do when you’re annoyed (so you can drop it)?”

His pointing out the obvious actually woke me up. I took a slow deep breath, then let it out slowly. (That diminishes my embarrassment after I’ve made a fool of myself.)

A: “Honey, I don’t feel safe parked here. I want us to drive to the wedding place… now.”

Telling the truth has a way of getting me back on track. Coincidentally, at that same instant David located the right track. With our story cued up, we pulled away from the curb and moved on into the next chapter.

Filed under: Annoyance Challenge,Parenting — Tags: — Annie @ 12:12 pm

Day 9: Asking teens to weigh in

June 16, 2009

Hey! Watchoo lookin' at?

Hey! Whachoo lookin' at?

Yesterday I expanded my Annoyance Challenge exploration by emailing a survey to one hundred tweens and  teens. The topic: annoying behavior at school. Here are the six straight-forward questions.

  1. At school what things annoy you? (Lots of details please but no names!)
  2. When someone’s behavior annoys you, what do you usually do about it?
  3. At school, what do you sometimes do that annoys OTHER PEOPLE? (whether you mean to or not)
  4. At school, what do you sometimes do that annoys YOU?
  5. How have you tried to change your own behavior so that it’s less annoying to others or yourself?
  6. If someone else’s annoying behavior didn’t get to you so easily, how would school be different?

So far I’ve heard back from twelve students. I’m thinking 12% teen response to a random email questionnaire is pretty good. This may indicate either that the topic of annoyance is a hot one and they’re eager to vent or that even though school’s only been out for a week, they’re already bored and willing to reply to anything that wafts into their IN Box. Maybe it’s a little of each. Anyway, I’ve already gotten some really interesting answers. I’ll be sharing the results over the next several days.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a 10-14 year old in your house and you can manage to get them to respond to these questions (anonymously, of course) I’d really appreciate it. They can email me here. If they’re not up for it, that’s cool. I certainly don’t want to annoy anyone!

Filed under: Annoyance Challenge,Parenting,Quizzes,Teens — Tags: , — Annie @ 6:56 pm

Day 8: Art = Annoyance Relief

June 15, 2009

Thanks, Leonardo and friends!

Thanks, Leonardo and friends!

Yesterday, the end of the first week of The Annoyance Challenge, was annoyance-free. Seriously. David and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Italian Street Painting Festival in the neighboring town of  San Rafael and everything about it was cool. The weather. The crowds. The music. And, of course, thanks to the artists who sat on the asphalt for two straight days drawing…  the street was transformed into a patchwork of glorious images inspired by Italian Renaissance Masters, the Impressionists, Mother Nature, portrait photography, animated heroes,  and pure imagination.

What a show!

I’d gladly give you the exact location so you could come check it out for yourself, but the annual Street Painting Festival, a fundraiser for Youth in Arts, is a bit like Brigadoon. At 8 pm on the second day, everything is washed away. Vanished into memory. I guess that could be annoying, except that’s the brilliance of the whole deal. 48 hours of totally  focused energy on the process of creating art for public consumption. And boy did we consume… walking through the space, drinking in the vibrant colors, congratulating the artists and sharing the whole scene with people who appreciate such devotion to art.

See you next year.

Italian Street Painting Festival

And away we go

Billie Holiday, Italian Street Painting Festival


Italian Street Painting Festival

Italian Street Painting Festival

Italian Street Painting Festival

Fruit or a face? Italian Street Painting Festival

Italian Street Painting Festival

Italian Street Painting Festival

Children's section, Italian Street Painting Festival

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