I have never been reluctant to share my opinions with people – often positive but sometimes negative ones, ranging from politics, the shape of society, the state of the church, music and the arts. Kind friends and tolerant family have mostly listened to them sympathetically whilst reserving the right to disagree. But I find as I grow older, I am more easily irritated and get even angry about all sorts of things. Very -IMpatient. Small in themselves they become major irritants.
The radio is a constant victim of my ire. For example people who repeatedly say ‘you know what I mean?’ They are there to tell us what they mean on the assumption that we don’t know! Politicians do it a lot and should know better. Similarly I get impatient with interviewers who ask loaded questions in order to get the answers they are looking for, or at some length and in their own words repeat what their interviewees have already said. I have a short list of such people whose coverage of news at the beginning of the day is important, but whose performance in the process can get in the way of their material.
Our electronic age can reduce me if not to actual apoplexy, certainly to speechless rage when that’s exactly what one would like to do – speak to what or whoever it is that one is trying to log onto. But you can’t. Everything is programmed for the convenience of the vendor. You are a creature in someone else’s world, allowed into it only if you understand the intricacies of computerisation, know which hoops to jump through, and never make a mistake (and I make many!) There are few things that divide the generations more than computers, although I admit to having friends of my own generation who seem to have entered that world very much more successfully than I have. (And here I am using it!!)
Two other moans. First, TV providers who keep on telling us how fortunate we are to be caught in their net, and who promise immediate help if something goes wrong.
Like now, when our TV set doesn’t function and we have to wait three days before it can be seen to – and that after pressing countless buttons and spending 45 minutes on the phone trying to reach them. Second, people who phone us to ask us to share in a marketing exercise, ‘that will take only a minute’ of our time. Again, a fish caught in someone else’s net – though admittedly able in this case to wriggle free, which I usually do.
Ah well. Back to balance and self-control; or the attempt to achieve both.