Last summer, I blogged about seven things I found truly aggravating about middle age. As long as I keep getting aggravated, I may have to make this an annual item.
#1 – Road Food. Last year, I lamented that it was neither possible to eat anything I wanted nor to take long road trips. This year, I discovered that the two no longer go together. On a trip to Reno, I discovered that it is ill-advised to limit one’s intake to fast food, Jelly Bellys, donuts, and coffee. Unless you don’t mind being up half the night with heartburn reminiscent of San Francisco after the earthquake.
#2 – Menu Miniaturization. In what is undoubtedly a conspiracy against Boomers, not only is the type on restaurant menus getting smaller, but the lights in restaurants are getting dimmer.
#3 – Too Much Time Spent at CaringBridge. CaringBridge is a terrific site for those going through medical issues, because it allows patients and their families to post updates once and send out e-mail alerts. This saves them from having to update friends individually, which is time-consuming and emotionally draining. The problem with being middle-age: I receive so many CaringBridge updates that I no longer have to look up my password — I have it memorized.
#4 – Cascading Aggravations. My eyes are deteriorating, so I need reading glasses. But I worry about leaving them somewhere non-obvious (like on the piano, where the black frames blend with the black keys), so I use a halyard to keep them around my neck. But when I drive, the halyard gets tangled with the safety belt, and the glasses either get crushed against my chest when I put it on or yanked onto the floor when I take it off. And don’t get me started about hands-free cell-phone laws. Thanks to them, it takes me five minutes to get out of the car because I have to untangle earbuds, seat belts, and glasses.
#5 – Game Show Disqualification. I used to keep pretty good track of pop culture. I realize now that it was a factor of having to follow only three television networks and a half-dozen musical styles (pop, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm & blues, classical, and country-western). Now there are a gazillion television channels and even more musical styles (hip-hop, indie, rap), each of them with their own celebrities (would someone please explain the difference between Lil Kim and Kim Kardashian — and what they’re famous for?). Now there is so much pop-culture noise, I can never try out for Jeopardy again — not that they took me the first two times I auditioned.
#6 – The Compulsion to Calculate Obituary Ages. Of all my bad habits, I’d love to scrap this one the most. Whenever I read the obituaries (which is, unfortunately, every day), I check to see if the deceased was older or younger than me. This is horribly morbid but, as long as their year of birth is mentioned, it does not require a calculator.
#7 – Things That Don’t Change. Richard Nixon took Spiro Agnew as his running mate in 1968, and the Republicans are still putting people unqualified to be president on the ticket (whatever happened to Dan Quayle, anyway?). The first oil crisis hit in 1973, but we still don’t have a policy for renewable energy. Scientists first identified global warming as a potential problem in the 1970s, and there are still people who don’t believe it’s real.
What aggravates you about middle age? Send me your thoughts so I won’t have to repeat the same items next year and blame my deteriorating memory.