Monday, July 12, 2010

The Short List

Several weeks ago (when I originally started this blogpost) we were in the midst of grilling when we realized that the propane tank was empty. No warning. Just our sad little chicken breasts lying on a grate with nothing moving them toward golden delicious nirvana. I mean, the oven finished them off, but it was a total buzzkill. I'd been looking forward to grilled chicken all day, you see.

I suppose that all of us have those minor disappointments in any given day. You wake up and realize that somebody put an empty milk carton back in the refrigerator so the pancakes you wanted to make are totally not happening. Or you find that your cat threw up on your bed or the dog left a "present" in the closet. Or every pair of clean underwear is in the washing machine instead of the dryer...except for the pair that turns into a thong midday because the stupid elastic has worn out.

Oh, we just suck it up and carry on...stopping only to whine about it to anyone who will listen. Or we'll save up every one of these mini-grievances and proclaim it a "bad day." Lord help those who come into contact with us on one of THOSE.

My short list of aggravations in life is probably pretty generic. I find that the most common denominators are paying for something I don't get full use of, feeling like I must be politically correct to get along with someone, and having to deal with someone's denial, self-centeredness, failure to plan, or snobbery.

Oh, I get annoyed at paying massive cell phone bills only to find that nobody will answer their cell phones when I need to talk to them. Big Dave is a contractor, so he might be in the midst of pouring concrete or painting on a ten foot ladder...but he does seem to be amazingly busy every time I call. My daughter prefers texting for informational purposes, and will call me when she has time to kill somewhere on her way from point A to point B. The same goes for my mother. My son just never answers it if it is inconvenient for him. "Inconvenient" basically means "every time I call him."

He's 18. What can I say?

I detest idiot drivers, telemarketers, people with fingernails longer than my forearm and people who just have to be different. Being unique is fine. In fact, I really admire people who embrace their inner geek, diva, hermit, or creative genius. What I find annoying is people who are so out there that they tattoo their bald head, pierce things I'm quite sure can't be comfortable or dye their hair colors that do not occur in nature except as pumpkins, crepe myrtles, or algae. I mind the fact that they aren't happy with just being unique...some have to push the envelope into the land of freakishly different.

What I really want to say is "Really? You woke up one day...dreamed up this 'look' and you are perfectly happy with the results? Did you - by chance - eat a lot of lead paint chips as a child?" But of course, I don't. I just try not to let my face register what my mind is thinking.

I don't like double standards, things that don't make sense, and doing something simply because it has always been done that way. I have had enough experience in the line of work I have chosen to truly detest the latter. Banking has more acronyms, procedures, fact checkers, and auditors than any other industry except medicine. Sometimes it is just nice to just cut to the chase and figure out exactly why we are doing what we are doing instead of just continuing to do it because we think that we are supposed to be doing it.

One of the things that I admire the most in people is the ability to take life as it comes instead of planning it into oblivion. I know that's funny coming from a planner...but my type of planning is actually to cover the worst case scenario...and then everything else is golden. Those who uber-plan...and refuse to deviate from the plan...cause me to plan how I'm going to deal with their plan and that just makes me crazy. On the other end of the scale are the non-planners. They never have any resources, time, or energy devoted to making something come together...and they want to make it my problem. I do have a pretty strong MacGyver streak...but dang.

Oh, there are more, but in all fairness, I suppose that all of us have our own short list. I've tried to realize that what annoys me is probably perfectly acceptable to other people...and what I find like fingernails on the chalkboard - so to speak - to someone else.

So, after a week of vacation...of not being annoyed...I'm actually feeling pretty good about life in general. That should last until about 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning if prior experience counts for anything.

As a defensive move, I'm trying to create a short list of things that I am grateful for for each thing that annoys me. An interesting concept, yes?

I am grateful that I can afford cell service and that I have family members who occasionally answer their phones.

I am pleased that I have food to eat, a roof over my head, and people that love me.

I am even grateful for some folks who are "different" because I'm sure that some of them provide the entertainment, art, and new discoveries that I enjoy. At least I sincerely hope so.

So there it is...the antidote to being being grateful. Hope I remember that tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m...

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