Like a fine wine, I have mellowed with age, and big challenges don’t bother me much anymore.
When confronted with a large issue, I go into problem solving mode, and deal with it on a practical level.
On the other hand, small irritations annoy me more than they ever did.
Many of these irritations involve technology.
Slow Internet connections and poorly designed websites drive me batty.
Watching the obnoxious spinning wheel of death on a computer screen makes me madder than a wet hen, which I understand is very angry indeed.
One recent afternoon, I was trying to finish some work so I could get out and salvage the remains of the weekend, and my computer was acting buggy. I don’t have time to mess around with buggy computers. As the situation continued, I was convinced the top of my head was going to blow off, which wouldn’t have helped at all.
At one point, I began to consider that the only way to relieve the irritation would be to hurl the offending equipment out my office window.
Fortunately, that did not prove necessary.
I was eventually able to restart the machine and finish what I was doing.
There have been other times when I was engaged in some retail therapy, and the website on which I was shopping was so annoying, I gave up and vowed never to shop there again.
The list of small things that annoy me goes far beyond technology, however.
Recently, I have become convinced that the people who design those allegedly re-sealable packages are determined to drive me over the edge.
The concept is ridiculously simple, yet the fatherless fiends who design these things find ways to make them either impossible to open, or impossible to close, thus defeating the purpose.
Then, there’s the kind of retail packaging that is designed to withstand a blast from a nuclear device.
I have struggled with these hermetically-sealed packages many times, often to the point I no longer care about the item that is trapped within them.
I have reached the point where I no longer bother trying to figure out how they are supposed to be opened. I simply keep a sturdy razor knife handy, and hack my way in. I find this approach much more satisfying and successful.
It occurred to me that I have less patience with these small irritations than I used to, and I wondered why that is.
The explanation, I think, has to do with age.
When we are young, our whole lives are stretched out ahead of us, so we can afford to wait for minor delays.
As we get older, however, we become more aware of the fact that our time on this rock is limited. We become conscious that the time we have left is decreasing.
If my life was a trip from New York to Seattle, I would have just blown through Bozeman, and at the speed I’m travelling, I’ll be in Coeur d’Alene before you can say Jack Robinson.
I used to wonder why “old” people were so impatient about insignificant things.
I think I am beginning to understand.
My grandmother used to yell at the TV a lot. That was in the days when there were just a few networks, and there was no remote control.
I used to think she yelled at the commercials because she was impatient to get back to her program, but now I see it may have been that she didn’t want to waste the time she had left waiting for commercials.
I haven’t reached the point of talking to the TV yet, but I am definitely more conscious of how I spend my time.
Each hour is precious, and they become more so with each passing year.
I suppose if there is a lesson here, it is that I should not be frustrated with small delays and irritations, but instead I should be looking at how I spend my days, and make sure I am making the most of the time I have.
I still hate slow computers, though, and I don’t think that is going to change.