news

What ticks us off? Do you really want to know?

December 04, 2020 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Some of us joke that we’ve been in a bad mood since the prior election of 2016, others were in a bad mood after the 2012 one, and some are now down in the dumps due to the recent election results. 

Politics, however, isn’t all that stirs our pot until it reaches a boil and maybe spills over into many of our interactions. Yes, we admit it, we’re a lot angrier these days. We roar, we curse, we use sarcasm, or we tune others out for fear of confrontation. Then, we might go silent, which is passive-aggressive behavior and that may be just as bad if not worse. 

More often than not, it’s not big issues that make our blood boil, just the mundane, nitty gritty of our everyday lives. We get angry at TV characters who we bring to life and find fault with what they did or didn’t do. Or, maybe they’re real such as the family members on “The Crown,” which we’re both now watching and incensed they need so many homes and big ones called palaces to boot, as well as jewels, servants, horses and outfits. 

Sometimes we catch ourselves and calm down by laughing at ourselves, taking a walk or calling a friend to complain. Other times, it takes longer, hours or even a day or two. But at least we get it out and over with without much residual damage. 

Over the course of several days, we tracked what pushes our buttons. In doing our very unscientific study, we discovered that our anger, which used to occupy a tiny portion of our mindset and lives, has escalated since COVID-19 emerged and went global. Some of that anger is directed at the fact that the pandemic is spiraling up again as we watch more people get sick, tax the health care system and medical profession, and die. Here go 11 of our favorite hot buttons: 

  1. Not wearing masks in public. Despite the majority of scientific evidence pointing out that wearing one would lower the coronavirus numbers. The CDC says that a mask protects others from us and us from others. How hard is it to wear one and be a considerate citizen, especially when they’re readily available now, affordable and in so many cute colors and patterns? Citizens who are unmasked we think are unreasonably selfish since hospitals, ICU units and staffs are stretched to the max.
  2. So many questioning scientific evidence regarding the pandemic and calling it FAKE news when there’s good data pointing to what causes it and scientists calling the shots (no pun intended). While we are a tad angry waiting for shots to be available for all, we know that to be safe the manufacturers have to test and retest.
  3. Almost any time a tech problem surfaces, we get angry at the equipment or pissy to someone trying to help. Case in point. The other day a mobile phone staff member insisted that one of us perform all the steps to find out the cause of our phone not working while he watched in person. When the one of us who was frustrated tried to blame it on our old age and lack of tech savviness, he pooh-poohed that as a reason. Yes, he was right, but we got angry because we wanted someone more empathetic. And, yes, we resolved the problem and even learned a new technique. The next time our mobile phone goes on the blink, perhaps, we’ll be able to fix it without help.
  4. A recipe that’s not worth the effort after we buy special ingredients, cookware and spend our precious time to make it. What was the recipe creator thinking? Our follow-up chocolate iced and lemon glazed doughnuts from two different recipes were mediocre whereas our first attempt at doughnut making, two apple-cider doughnut recipes, were divine. The other two, eh, were hardly worthwhile, killing our taste for a fantasy “retirement” job of opening a Baskin-Robbins version of baked, not fried, doughnuts--32 flavors.
  5. Friends or family who hijack conversations. Some redirect them and talk all about themselves, some interrupt everything we say to tell their experience and some never ask about us and what we had initially planned to say. Did these conversational narcissists read our blog about this topic? Maybe, time for a do-over.
  6. The newspaper delivery service that tosses the paper in a spot that almost requires us to climb over the neighbor’s fence to fetch it or delivers the paper so late in the day that the news is stale. Please place it at our front door or on our driveway and early enough so we can enjoy reading it with our morning coffee…or lunch, at least.
  7. Internet outages due to strong winds or other bad weather just when we’re watching the latest episode of “West Wing,” “Queen’s Gambit,” former President Barack Obama being interviewed on “60 Minutes,” and any other show of the moment. We think, now what? We might have to read a book.
  8. People looking to beat the system in any number of ways because they feel they’re entitled not to stand in line and wait their turn or pay the full price, going rate because, maybe, why should they? They’re used to getting their own way and fast. What about us?
  9. Along those lineswe get angry at people who get angry about traffic since they hate waiting, honk their horns, try to sneak in line—again entitled? We dislike waiting, too, but do you really think honking or screaming or butting in is safe and proper etiquette? NO!
  10. Those who display their anger at others with others within earshot. While we would rather not get angry at anyone, we try, at least, to display it when nobody else is around. We’ve had editors who reprimanded us in meetings with others present, friends and family who’ve criticized us with others sitting or standing right there and watched TV characters do the same with others around, even when they hold high-level White House positions. We say try to display some sensitivity, kindness and patience.
  11. An American population that is so divided and angry. The animosity we have “for the other side” has risen to the point that we find we cannot be in each other’s company. It angers us that we are behaving this way; this is not who we are. We pride ourselves on being fair and good listeners. And one of us is thinking of attending a TED talk at her library about how to participate in discussions and disagree kindly.

Our anger right now, if we let it linger, can lead to anxiety, stress and accompanying issues that we won’t go into in this blog. Let’s try to sit on it, stuff it in the closet, shut the door and not let it out unless it can be handled in a positive way. Maybe, we’ll wait until a vaccine is available. For now, let’s just count to 10, meditate, breathe deeply and count our blessings. We know all that is easier said than done.

 

 



1 comment

  • Debbie W

    Dec 05, 2020

    My mother is infamous for nonstop so-called conversations. When we speak on the phone, rather than scream or hang up, I employ a better tactic. Turn on speaker, put down the phone. Keep volume low’ish and do other things.
    Tip: add an occasional “Uh huh” or “Gosh” within ear shot.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published