I’m 57. How did I become a curmudgeon? I’m not sure I’m a curmudgeon, but at the very least I’m a grumpy old man. It seems as though all my most anti-social traits are getting stronger. I can’t stand noise, so I certainly couldn’t raise kids. If the phone rings, it is probably an interruption. And do I really have to go out and mingle with people; by and large they just make me angry. After all, I have to be in bed around 9:30.
Is this a natural progression, happening to all of us? Is it just a result of the times in which we live? Or is it some confluence of both. My best friend and I talked about this recently.
When we were kids, we loved getting phone calls. We would stop whatever we were doing and rush to the phone. Yep my friend. Basketball? Sure, be there in 20 minutes (the time it took me to bike the hilly Vermont miles to his house). But now, that interruption isn’t so easy. I’ll just let it go to voice mail; they’ll leave me a message. I can get back to them tomorrow. Maybe I’ll talk to their voice mail then. Now Brandon, my daughter, and I text message every day. That isn’t an interruption at all. She’ll read it when she gets to it, as will I. Voice mail and texting didn’t exist when I was a kid. Miss the call, you missed an opportunity, not an interruption. I say this one goes primarily in the column of the times, although a low tolerance for interruptions might be part of aging.
What about being in crowds? It seems to me that there may be fewer crowds than there used to be; we relate more through technology than in person. So I have to put this in the natural progression category. Perhaps some of what is bothering me with crowds is people’s behavior. As an example, I was taught you aren’t supposed to wear your hat in the house or, by extension, in the car. Growing up I see all these people doing that. Now as we grow older, we are supposed to acquire wisdom. So of course these people wearing hats will gain wisdom and stop doing that. Instead there are more. And what about kids running around in restaurants? When we were kids it was rare for parents to bring their kids to a restaurant. And they sure weren’t supposed to run around all over. But now there are kids everywhere, making noise in restaurants, under the feet of the servers. And we all smile. Bah humbug, I say! So maybe it is just not getting wiser as we get older, but having to deal with things that are changed in ways that we don’t want to accept.
Humor aside, I do think there is something to the expectation that we will gain wisdom and knowledge as we get older and change our behavior. And that just doesn’t happen in the ways that we hope. I will just have to curtail my curmudgeonly ways!