irk (ˈərk):to make weary, irritated, or bored.I do not generally think 'wearied' or 'bored' when I think of 'irked'. Irritated, yes, but in a way that makes the bottom of your heart quiver a smidgen in your chest. Your lips may purse, but you are not moved to action. And its this lack of response that makes irking such a potent phenomenon. The thought rattles around in your head, landing in a pile and attaching to exact copies of itself from each past occurrence of the irk. There they jumble, with no outlet or exhaust. Perhaps one day they will grow into an annoyance to be acted upon, dealt with and resolved, but for now they are too trivial. They reside, waiting only for the next worthless addition. Dictionary.com says:
irk: to irritate, annoy, or exasperate.Now we're on the right track. I like exasperate's tone. But just a small exasperation, one that does not quite qualify. I also envision an exasperation as somewhat of a surprise or shock. This was an unexpected occurrence, almost an unbelievable annoyance; whereas an irk is an almost frequent event, verging on routine. It has happened before, and in all likelihood, it will happen again. Soon. "Aggravate" is listed under the thesaurus.com definition which may be a better fit as far as future perfect concepts are concerned.
But there is a violence to that word that has no business in irk. Whether in transgression or response, 'aggravate' bears not just the threat of action, but the promise of aggression. Likewise with 'irritate', though less threatening, it seems to convey a distinctly physical meaning. Toes may be irritated by shoes, but never irked. Perhaps because irritations heal, whereas irks are never tended to. Irks remain abstract, locked in the psyche. Poked, prodded and irritated by a non-existent finger.
Maybe that's the problem, my adjectives are centered around touch or sound. Maybe irks are smells and tastes. 'Distaste' is good but too obvious, and too easily equated to 'dislike' which does not properly express depth. The overall sensation of an unpleasant lingering flavor may be close, but tastes are too easily avoided. An irk is perceived and produced in the same instant, there are no secondary symptoms to predict its arrival. 'Repugnance' seems like an olfactory irk, but again, it is too strong. Something repugnant would be avoided, even of one could not see it. I'm not very good at thinking with my nose or tongue, so this route may be personally limited.
I try to think ethereally and arrive with 'haunt'. That's nice. There is a good amount of futility in resistance, it is repetitive and incorporeal. But like the others I find problems with this synonym. A haunting thought may be the same one drifting around again and again, as opposed to instances of the same irksome object. A pile of deciduous leaves, mental disregard allows them to and clutter and rustle.
I know this may be a futile exercise, since the word for what I'm describing already exists and is, in fact, 'irk'. At least that's what it means to me, so hopefully now, if not before, you realize how much thought and contemplation have gone into the term. So when I tell you that something irks me, I want you to understand my full meaning.
It irks me when people are told to disregard an alarm for a blanket period of time. Case in point, my building routinely places signs on all entrances instructing occupants to disregard the fire alarm today as they are being tested, worked on, etc. In fact they have laminated the signage since this happens so frequently. Excuse me? Aren't the alarms there for a reason? What if there's a fire in the building? Oh, you'll just run around telling everyone there's a fire, good, great. Why isn't that the default system every day? It should be illegal to instruct people en mass to ignore public safety alarms for anything but a concise period. This happened at my conference last week as well. We initially evacuated the building after the lights flashed and a very loud and scary alarm sounded. Later after everyone was readmitted, we were instructed via Public Address to ignore any further alarms that day. I understand the likelyhood of an incident after a false alarm may be fairly low, but these devices are meant to stimulate a response. Much like car alarms, these false fire alarms (and non-evacuations) dilute emergency procedures and make people's first response to question the alarm's validity.