Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not being annoyed (yep, two posts in one night)

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I don't get annoyed easily and seem to have patience with people who would supposedly annoy anyone. I did mention on this blog that a woman yelled at me a few weeks ago, but it didn't bother me in the least. I thought it was rather funny, to be honest, and had to stifle myself from laughing when she did it.

Don't get me wrong; I certainly can have my feathers ruffled. But, I do have a good amount of patience and odd or irritating behavior generally just seems interesting to me. I'm taken aback, quite frankly, when other people are irritated.

I do think that most people are easily irritated these days by waiting for anything. This was true before the internet age, but it has undoubtedly gotten worse since. A few years ago, I bought a great little scanner that was considered "very slow" by reviewers because it took (and I remember this exactly) 40 seconds to perform a scan. Almost a minute! Oh my, how could anyone stand waiting almost a minute for something to scan?! It's an eternity.

An aside: Please, please, don't let me start sounding like Andy Rooney, okay?

But really, waiting is an opportunity. I mean it. When Dick and I watch some Netflix streaming video and it stalls because of whatever, it's an opportunity for us to have a short conversation. Usually the conversation consists of the following: "Oh, this is ridiculous!" "C'mon, it's only 30 more seconds. See?" "No, something is wrong." "Only ten seconds left!" "I should have rebooted." "Look. It's still ten seconds. Huh." Okay, it's not much of a conversation, but it could be.

I'll admit that I don't like waiting in line. This supposedly patient person who can sit for hours staring at a spot on the floor gets really antsy waiting in line. There's no reason for it. I could read a book. I could read any number of magazines. I could talk to another person in line (and I sometimes do, but often they get annoyed). But usually, I waste time trying to find the shortest line. And when I do, it seems that that line has a problem with it. Something won't scan and needs a manager to key it in. A credit card won't go through. Or, since I do use the self-check-outs if they're available, I wind up behind someone who hasn't a clue how to use them. C'mon lady, how many times are you going to swipe that card before you realize you're putting it in the wrong way?

And another thing, why is it that in 2009 the majority of people doing grocery shopping are still women and that most of the men are only buying large quantities of beer?

The last time I got stuck in line because of a problem was a guy who was buying a case of beer that was beat up. He wanted the cashier to find a bunch of stickers he could put in the bottom so the cans wouldn't fall out of the box. If the store still had paper bags, it wouldn't have been a problem.

Oh, I do sound an awful lot like Andy Rooney.

Stores used to have paper bags. People used to be in less of a rush. Waiting for a movie to start used to be fun.

You get the picture. Age brings on curmudgeonly qualities in most people. Twenty-year-olds are not liable to be curmudgeons, are they? Then again, people did whine about liking the old Facebook better. . .

But, the truth is, I'm not easily annoyed, waiting in lines aside. I see customers who demand attention as people who want some company and people who ask for directions to be explained over and over again as insecure or an interesting challenge. When I notice that I'm annoyed, I ask myself if I really am being put out by whatever is going on. The answer to that is usually "not really." I also go out of my way to not get involved in things and with people who I know will bother me. Setting boundaries way ahead of time has helped me avoid a lot of grief.

Some would say that this is plain ol' avoidance. Maybe if I was agoraphobic I'd agree, but I'm not.

So, next time you get annoyed, try sitting (or standing) back and just watching what's going on. Maybe you'll find it entertaining. Generally speaking, I do, and anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm not a bubbly cheerful person, so if I can have some equanimity, anyone can.

Painting note: Gustav Klimt, "Stiller Weiher im SchloƟpark von Kammer" 1899. Yesterday, I read that Klimt liked to wear floor-length indigo-dyed smocks with nothing on underneath. "It feels natural", said he. I wanted to post a Klimt, but have been annoyed with seeing certain of his works way too much. I enjoyed looking at the Wikipedia Commons image entries, for I was reminded of just how good an artist he was. His drawings are particularly good, though (obviously) that is not what I posted here. Since I've been fascinated of late with images of water, I chose this painting for your viewing pleasure. Well, more correctly: my viewing pleasure, eh?


BitterGrace said...

Never seen that Klimt--beautiful.

Personally, I am a champion of the check-out line. I never get impatient there, usually because I am too busy feeling sympathy for the cashier. Also, it's a great opportunity for people watching / eavesdropping. What sends me over the edge is being forced to wait forever in the exam room at the doctor's office. You know, the nurse takes your vitals, tells you to get undressed and put on a gown, and then you sit there for half an hour waiting for the doctor to show up. Something about the power dynamic at work there just drives me batty.

jmcleod76 said...

Your conversation with Dick is hilarious. Your powers of description are wonderful. You have that rare ability of describing the mundane in such a way that it becomes comic.

As for young people not being curmudgeonly (I think that was the adjective you used), I think they are. Many people have made the observation that children are natural conservatives. They've seen so little during their brief lives that they'll often make snap judgements about anything that challenges their parameters (which happens all the time). If you have many conversations with teenagers and pre-teens, especially, many of them will condemn anything that's the slightest bit unusual. I think older people have seen more, and many are more apt to live and let live.

Julie H. Rose said...

Thanks, Jaime. I think our definitions of the word curmudgeon are different. Yes, I know what you speak of of youth; earlier today I mentioned to a friend that I remember being a terrible judgmental critic early on in life. But, I think of that as snobbery, not curmudgery (just made that one up).

And Maria, have you ever noticed they take away one's magazine before one is escorted into the doctor's office?