My Pet Peeve

September 10, 2008
By Abigail Sussman, Lutherville, MD

I had had a craving for buffalo wings for the last three days so when I saw a buffalo chicken sandwich on the menu I could immediately feel my mouth start to water. I announced to my family that I had decided on that sandwich for dinner and I could see their faces relax with the relief of knowing that they would no longer have to listen to the complaints that came with my craving. I leaned back into the firm, red, patent leather cushions of the diner booth and imagined my dinner. I pictured the spicy hot sauce in contrast with cool juice from the tomato and the fresh, crisp lettuce leaves.

My meditation was interrupted when my mom, who is very decisive in every area except for when it comes to picking out a meal, asked my family what they were all going to order. My dad had picked out some steak sandwich, which sounded appetizing, but I had no doubt that mine would be better. My mom listed off a few uninteresting menu items: a cobb salad, a tuna sandwich, clam chowder. Then it was my brother’s turn and once I heard what he said a little part of me died.

Now, I know that people say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery but I knew deep down that my brother was just choosing my same meal purely to annoy me. I could see his devilish smile out of the corner of my eye and when I turned to look at him, frustration written all over my face, he replied with a mocking, “What?” He knew I hated when people ordered the same thing as me. It made me feel so unoriginal. It’s not that I really cared what the waitress thought of my ability to creatively choose a meal but I feel so stupid saying, “I’m having the same thing that he’s having.”

I could feel the tears rushing to my eyes and I could tell that the rest of my family could see my despair but they didn’t appear to be on my side. In fact, it seemed like they were trying to hold in laughter; their faces were straining as they tried to keep the ends of their lips from curling up. I too knew my anxiety was stupid, but in the moment I was so angry.

In a normal situation, I would have gone on and ordered another dish but they all knew of my craving and I wasn’t about to succumb to my brother’s wicked ways. When the waitress came I made sure to order first so that he was the one who appeared to be the copycat, which he truly was. I would never let him win.

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