It’s Been Raining for Three Days and I’m Cranky.

Posted on August 27, 2010

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My wife says I have mood swings, but I really don't see it.

•  Why does everything I drop while I’m driving — every single thing — fall between the seats? The space is a tiny fraction of the overall area inside the front of the car. If I wanted something to drop into that narrow crevice, I’d have to try eight or nine times. But it doesn’t matter if it’s popcorn, a receipt, aspirin, a pen, or a quarter. If it slips from my fingers it’s going to end up between the seats. And trust me, I’m not sticking my hand down there ever again.

•  If I see one more yogurt commercial, especially the ones talking about prebiotic cultures, I’m putting the television out in the driveway. While we’re at it, let’s throw in toilet paper commercials, especially the ones with those bears. And that gooney guy who wants us to mail him our unwanted gold. I wouldn’t send him my unwanted Halloween candy.

•  Why is everyone saying “sort of” all the time? When did this start? “We’d like to have a sort of dessert after dinner.” What is a sort of dessert? The only one I can think of is rhubarb pie. People used to say um and you know. I never thought I’d miss that, but this new thing is sort of driving me crazy.

•  The automatic faucets and paper towel dispensers in public bathrooms don’t like me. They don’t even see me. I watch as a man puts his hands under the faucet and gets a nice spray; then he strolls over to the paper towel machine and out comes a sheet. I go over to the sink and wave my hands around like my pants are on fire and I don’t get a drop. And if I do, the paper towel dispenser goes blind as soon as I show up. Why can’t we go back to normal things, regular faucets and the paper towel machine with the little turn thing on the side? I don’t like feeling invisible in the men’s room. I especially don’t like when the urinal flushes while I’m still standing there.

•  I can’t open things anymore. It isn’t that I’ve gotten weak, and I don’t have arthritis. But I can’t pull open the bag inside the cereal box. Or even potato chips. I have to get scissors. And where are the scissors, anyway? They’re supposed to be on top of the refrigerator. The cakes from our supermarket come in a two-piece plastic container that requires a power saw to open. And where is the power saw, anyway? It’s supposed to be on top of the refrigerator.

• Things get tangled up all by themselves — chains, necklaces, extension cords. You put them into a drawer and don’t touch them for six months, and when you take them out of the drawer they’re tied in knots. What kind of magic voodoo drawer is this? Other things get snagged on doorknobs as I walk by. I could be carrying something with a long belt attached and it will somehow loop around any protruding object; I’m the only person I know who gets whiplash while doing the laundry.

• Our teenage son has earphones plugged in and is playing music every minute of the day. I’ve given up trying to convince him how obnoxious this is, but at the same time he also insists on listening in when my wife and I are having a conversation. He’s four feet away and can’t hear a word we’re saying. So every time one of us completes a sentence, he wants to know what we’re talking about. I secretly wish his earphones would get snagged on a doorknob, but it never happens.

•  Whenever I’m going into the bank, there’s always someone who’s approaching just behind me. And I always do this idiot thing: I hold the door open for the other person. I let them go in first. Then what happens? They get on line in front of me. I have one little check to cash and they’re doing their entire month’s banking — paying bills, opening a new account, depositing rolls of nickels, and asking endless questions about current interest rates and next year’s holiday hours. And the whole time, I’m standing there wondering why, if I’m so courteous that I would hold the door for this person, am I having such evil thoughts about them now?

•  I hate listening to descriptions of stereo equipment. I have no interest in speakers, how many there are or how much power they have. I’ve been enduring these conversations since the tenth grade. I didn’t know what sub-woofers were then and I doubt I’ll develop any real curiosity about them in the future.

•  When you buy software that does your tax return, why do the people on the package look so happy? They’re always smiling, as though they just won the lottery. My wife and I have been doing our taxes together for seventeen years and we have never smiled, not even once.

•  Why is it so impossible for magazine companies to believe that I may not want to renew my subscription? I lived fifty years without having their pathetic publication stuffed into my mailbox, but now they find it inconceivable that I can survive without it for the next twelve months (even at 47% off the regular newsstand price).

•  Why can’t three-year-olds say spaghetti? They all say puh-SGETTI. If the word really were puh-SGETTI, would they mispronounce it and say spaghetti? I think they’re doing it on purpose.

•  Sometimes my wife and I come home from the supermarket and I stick my key in the front door and turn it and nothing happens. The lock won’t budge. I jiggle the key, then use constant pressure, then turn it softly. I try to sneak up on the lock, waiting a few seconds and then giving the key a sudden hard twist. More jiggling. Some aggressive language. Nothing works. Minutes go by and the door will not open. My wife says, “Let me try,” as though, what? I’ve forgotten how to unlock a door? I gesture for her to go ahead if she thinks she can do better. She places her thumb and forefinger on the key and gives it a gentle turn and the door flies open. I go in, mad, but also frustrated because I don’t quite know who to be mad at. I’m thinking the lock was designed by the same person who invented the automatic water faucet. Then the thought of the water faucet really irritates me because we’ve been standing in the rain for five minutes trying to get into our own house and now we’re soaked. Yet I’m also comforted by the simple thought that among the groceries is a lemon pound cake. I just have to get inside with all the bags without getting snagged on the doorknob. And then I’ll have to find the power saw so I can get the cake container open. Well, first I’ll need to untangle the extension cord. I know it seems like a lot of effort, but all day I’ve been looking forward to a sort of dessert after dinner. Dessert always helps me feel better. Or at least a little less cranky.

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