Last night, while I rode my exercise bike and concentrated on the tiny print of Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady (which is taking forever to read) I may have been a little snippy when I asked my husband to, “TURN DOWN THE VOLUME!” of the television. He pointed out that I am easily irritated, which, hey, so sue me. Perhaps it’s true. I just want whoever is nearest the remote control to be responsible enough to monitor the volume, turning it down during the commercials and up during vital dialogue. Is that too much to ask?
Here’s the thing. If everyone I live with would just do things my way (ie. The Right Way), I would not be so annoyed.
For instance, here is the kind of thing I encounter.
Last night, 9:30ish. I’m reclining in the old green chair, afghan covering my lap, channel surfing, eating fat-free popcorn. I hear a crash. I do not even wince.
Moments later, a 13-year old emerges with the remnants of a Mary Engelbreit mug and a half-baked story about its accidental smashing. Whatever. I scarcely look up, but tell the boy to get a broom and clean up the mess. After all, if a busted artery were gushing, he’d be covered in blood already, right?
This morning, while passing through their room on the way to the laundry room, I notice the broom on their floor which irritates me. Why can’t these children put things away? Have I done this to them? Have I taught them to disregard my need for order? Did I neglect to teach them The Right Way? I also note that someone has ripped open a microwave popcorn bag, licked it clean and discarded it in bits in a pile on the floor. This, not surprisingly, irritates me and I make a mental note to rebuke the offender and make him clean up that mess.
A bit later, I’m in the kitchen putting away cooking spray on the top shelf and as I push it in, the bread crumbs container commits suicide, flinging itself onto the kitchen floor where it crumbs burst forth in a vast expanse.
The mug-crusher notices this and retrieves the broom. I say in a dead voice, “Great, now get the dustpan.” He disappears into his room, never to return. I start yelling for the dishpan and the other 13-year old wanders out, claiming he can’t find it. I say, irrationally, “I don’t care if you can’t find it! BRING IT TO ME NOW!”
We never did find the dustpan. This irritates me greatly and causes me to mutter under my breath, stuff about putting things away and, well, things I ought not to say. BUT HOW IRRITATING IS IT THAT MY DUSTPAN IS GONE?
I fashioned a piece of cardboard into a makeshift dustpan and cleaned up the mess, but not before one of my boys stepped in the pile of crumbs while peering into the kitchen and probably drinking the last drop of milk and leaving an empty container on the shelf.
My husband thinks I could fill a whole blog up with all the things that irritate me, which is probably true. (For instance, at a movie last week, a guy was talking into a lit up, walkie-talkie style cell phone during the movie. If I hadn’t been concerned about him having a concealed weapon, I might have hollered, “HEY, BUDDY! PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE, YOU THOUGHTLESS IDIOT!” What is wrong with people?)
I must note that my sensitivity to irritation is greatly enhanced one week out of every month and frankly, I find that irritating.