In defense of common annoyances.

Meursault details why he likes washing his hands at lunchtime, and not in the evening because: “the roller towel you use is soaked through: one towel has to last all day.” (25) Upon mentioning this to his boss he gets shrugged off. For many of us discussing our pet peeves with a superior would feel awkward or rude. For some reason it is easy to feel mean when presenting a problem to someone, especially if it is particularly minor. There was a discussion in class on Tuesday about the matter, and Mr. Heidkamp claimed he found it comical to emphasize such a minor annoyance, even referencing it’s similarities to Seinfeld (Which certainly exist).

Contrary to that assertion, I believe that recognition and ultimately finding a solution to such peeves is not only entirely justified, but is perfectly logical and principled. After all, if these problems take up even a fraction of your time, why not just solve it and get over with it?

I, too share some of Meursault’s reactions to small details. One day I found that I was confusing my two green notebooks in my folder, wasting but a couple seconds yet occupying my mind. Therefore I simply colored the edges of one of them so that I could tell in advance. Why shouldn’t I spare myself these seconds? I’m sure that many people would rather use the bathroom at home or at a specific time so as to avoid as much contact with others as possible. This pattern is another example of an incredibly minor peeve (although Meursault probably wouldn’t care about other people) that people always think about, yet are reluctant to share. The passage also demonstrates Meursault’s rather remarkable ability to immediately share the reasoning behind any of his actions at a given time, which I find admirable in a person.

Any second that you spend doing something that you’d rather not is really one second too many, and especially if it is a minuscule problem, why not solve it to the best of your ability?

4 thoughts on “In defense of common annoyances.

  1. LYLA ADELSTEIN

    I really like this because I think after reading the paper towel part of the book we all automatically jump to the idea of how crazy Meursault is when really if we look into our own lives we see that minor/ irrelevant things that annoy us every single day.

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  2. VERITY FERNANDES

    Although Meursault’s “pet peeves” and the way he copes with them are unlike many. I do agree that we also have our own little unique pet peeves that may set us different from others like Meursault’s do.
    (Also I have the same problem with my two white folders! Thanks for a solution!)

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  3. KATARINA OBERBERGER

    I think that due to the uniqueness of Meursault’s character, that we are quick to judge everything about him including his pet peeves. However, many of us have our own distinct annoyances that are in some ways similar to Meursault’s pet peeve with the paper towel.

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  4. SAMANTHA SMITH

    I do find Meursault’s conversation about the paper towels interesting as well. Though, I find it interesting that the portion about the towels is some of the most dialogue that we receive from Meursault. It seems to me that while he doesn’t take pleasure in expressing and examining other’ emotions, he enjoys discussing abratary annoyances.

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