Why am I crabby?

Roses still in bloom. Photo by Kit Flynn.


By Kit Flynn

Certain aspects of modern life are making me rather crabby. When I upgraded my Apple operating system to Sonoma, my Word documents responded by not responding. My HP printer printed my Word documents as gibberish while at the same time, I had lost the ability to send documents to trash. There had to be a solution, but where to find it?

This led me to contemplate all the things in this day and age that manage to drive me crazy.

Talking to the HP helpline, all the consultants had thick accents. Now, I have absolutely nothing against accents so please do not interpret this as being a stigma against foreigners. I appreciate their ability to learn English – they are far more proficient in my language than I am in theirs. The problem is that my elderly ears cannot understand their accented English over the telephone. A frustrating problem that sends me to the helpline, therefore, suddenly becomes one of double frustration.

Word is at the top of my list in irritation. I still miss Word Perfect with its useful “reveal codes” feature. I understand that the move to one prominent word processor was more efficient, but did it have to be Word? Worse, Word’s help feature is to my mind, notoriously bad – and I often accuse it of purposely misunderstanding my question.

It’s also getting harder and harder to own a copy of Word as Microsoft really, really wants you to sign up for a monthly rental. Having way too many monthly fees as it is, I have no wish to acquire more, but it took a lot of diligence to buy a copy of Word several years ago.

Contemporary Salade Niçoise also makes me crabby. I love Salade Niçoise – and have since I first ate it in France in 1956. It calls for a good canned tuna packed in olive oil; fresh tuna, tasty as it is, is not appropriate. My third son, who’s a lovely cook, insists upon using fresh tuna, thereby causing me to wonder where I failed so miserably in his upbringing. The experts, Julia Child and Dorie Greenspan, know that canned tuna is authentic.

I realize that pill bottles require tamper-proof lids should there be young children residing in the household. I’m grateful that pharmacies trust me when I swear that I no longer have any young children at home and that my youngest grandchild (who lives in California) is well into his teenage years. Consequently, they provide my pill bottles with senior citizen lids that willingly open. However, this leads to numerous non-pharmaceutical preparations that I have trouble operating.

I have used Afrin nasal spray for years. Two weeks ago, I bought another bottle – and couldn’t open the bottle. There were no instructions. While fighting to open it, I realized a contraption clearly meant for space travel rested in my hands. Where once I gently squeezed the bottle for a spray – a one handed gesture, now required two hands to push down two levers in order to deliver a spray. Who on earth wants to think about how to administer a nasal spray?

Now there are things about modern marketing that I appreciate. I like the pods filled with detergent and dishwashing soap. They are neat and tidy – it’s lovely not to have to measure a sloppy, drippy dose every time I use the washing machine. Yet, there are constant threats to deprive us of these pods because young children unfortunately like to pop them in their mouths. The solution it seems to me is for parents of young children to avoid bringing these pods into the house. However, as I have already stated, young children do not visit my house so why should I feel guilty about using them?

Should nonexistent great grandchildren magically appear at my doorsteps, the pods will be under lock and key.

I cannot forgive doctors and dentists who deign to retire before I think their time has arrived – and by that, I mean before it’s time for me to expire. It takes time and energy to break in new doctors and dentists; it really is that simple.

Recently, I saw a very experienced ophthalmologist who has a wonderful reputation but who is on my side of the age of fifty. I realized that it was foolhardy to take him on for the simple reason he would be retiring before my time was up. Of course, doctors and dentists have every right to retire, just as I have every right to resent their future retirements. The only solution is to seek out younger doctors who are not on the verge of burnout or retirement.

Buying a new TV is beyond me. I can well remember when one could traipse out to the electronics store, purchase a TV, bring it come home and plug it into the socket. And, voilà! A picture magically appeared. Now, I cannot even place one step into the store as I have no idea whether I want a LCD, LED, OLED, or a QLED TV. Compounding the situation is this: I don’t care what all these TVs do or don’t do. Consequently, I now have a wonderful TV installer who tells me which TV to buy – and he magically brings it to my door and spends hours installing it.

There are small things that make me happy. I love LED light bulbs (warm tone only – out with the harsh daylight ones) as they last forever and don’t get so hot that they cause lamp shades to split. I haven’t bought new lampshades in at least five years.

I love Sonos as I no longer have to store bulky recordings, rifling laboriously through them when I want a particular soundtrack. I love reading books electronically as I no longer have to worry about providing room for real books in a cluttered library. I love getting the news instantly. I love streaming TV programs while skipping through the ads.

So, if the world reverted back to Word Perfect, I could open all bottles, and all my doctors vowed they would never retire, mine would be an almost perfect world.

After being an active member of the Durham County Extension Master Gardeners for 13 years, Kit Flynn now holds emeritus status. For five years she was the gardening correspondent for “Senior Correspondent” and shared “The Absentee Gardener” column with fellow Master Gardener Lise Jenkins. She has given numerous presentations on various gardening topics to Triangle organizations and can be reached at howyourgardengrows@icloud.com.
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1 Comment on "Why am I crabby?"

  1. Another great commentary that expresses my thoughts to a tee!!
    We must be close to the same age.
    Thank you! Keep up your good work!

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