I admit I am a bit of a grumpy old man. In many ways I don’t feel old and I am just 67, but I know I am getting increasingly grumpy and it is clearly age-related. It’s something that I believe has been labelled ‘irritable male syndrome.
I can put up with the physical irritations of getting older. My painful knees, hearing difficulties, acid reflux etc. are not so bad as to make me grumpy. I almost find it amusing when I hear myself groan or sigh when getting up after being on my knees or getting up of the sofa. I know that things requiring real effort can make me produce noises very similar to my coffee maker. I can laugh when my wife and I mishear each other.
My grumpiness is not just my response to the many things wrong with the world. Everyone gets cheesed off about those things. My grumpiness seems to manifest itself in my impatience with things that would not matter to most people. I curse people, animals, politicians, celebrities, technology and inanimate objects on a regular basis and I really believe it makes me feel better.
Recently, my wife has remarked on the quite ridiculous and irrational things that seem to annoy me. Take yesterday for example. I couldn’t close the resealable grip lock bag that I had put my daughter’s home-cooked banana bread back into. Later, when I couldn’t reseal the cheddar cheese zip-lock packet, I lost it with the inventor of these bags and had a rant to myself whilst folding over the end of the bag and sticking it down with a piece of masking tape.
Another thing that annoys me is when I see young people not wearing coats or suitable attire in bad weather. There’s no explaining the level of annoyance I feel given that I am watching them whilst snug in my own coat or in the car. I recently collected my grandson from school. It was just 5 degrees centigrade and he wanted to walk home in just a white polo shirt whilst I carried his school sweatshirt and coat. Not happening little fella. At least put your coat on.
Recently, I followed a 20 something into a supermarket and he was whistling to himself. At first I was encouraged that this dying art may be being resurrected by younger generations but to my annoyance, it soon became evident that he couldn’t whistle properly and was completely tuneless. It was pure noise pollution and I quickly changed isles to avoid him.
My car sat nav regularly annoys me. It can take me on journeys via Middle Earth or Winterfell on occasions…… which is why I always check the directions with a road atlas before I go any distance or if I have a tight schedule. This amuses people but I’m sure I have a much better sense of the geography of Britain than most as a result! The sat nav lady irritates me when she starts her directions by telling me that, whichever of the alternative 3 routes I choose, ‘there are traffic obstructions on the route’. The location of the obstructions seems to move as I travel. Many a time I feel it necessary to rebuke (alright, swear at) sat nav lady. I’d use Google maps if I could handle a mobile phone with any degree of competence.
The other day I was recommending some up and coming music artists I had discovered to a friend. Or rather I was trying to but I could only come up with part of the names. It may be because my brain is getting worn out but it doesn’t help when young artists give themselves such stupid names. One recommendation was a collaboration of 3 artists so I guessed the names making up a completely fictitious entity which I couldn’t pronounce with any confidence and which needless to say he never found. I often search for titles or artists on Spotify but fail because they have deliberately chosen to miss-spell them to look cool. I mean where would we be if we approached all English nouns with such abandon.
We have been to a few restaurants for celebratory meals recently. I like a nice ambience and I think lighting is an important part of that in a restaurant. One was The Ivy in York. It was lovely and colourful but as the night went on the restaurant went darker and darker and by the time we got to our dessert I was going on taste and feel alone. I’m sure it would have looked as nice as it tasted but I will never know. Much to my wife’s embarrassment I thanked the maitre d for a wonderful ‘dining in the dark’ experience. She was similarly embarrassed when I asked for a torch to read the menus in the San Rocco in Manchester where it was in darkness from the off. What is this all about? Is it a sneaky way of cutting back on expenses to offset covid losses?
I could include many more examples but I don’t want to give you the impression that because I am grumpy I am a miserable person. Many things never fail to uplift and please me. For example my wife and family, our grandkids, good music, sunshine, a nice beach, wine etc. Oh and nice surprises like when I find my car straight away in a multi-storey car park.