So there you are a Grumpy Old Man in the grocery store standing in line for what seems like hours to pay and go. The woman in front of you on the line has finally reached the check-out. She’s staring at who knows what with a vapid expression on her face and the tired, bored clerk finally finishes ringing her up and waits. The woman, forced out of her reverie, fumbles with her purse, looking for her money, looking for her card. This goes on and on (perhaps not so long but when you have been in that line and are stressed out it seems like everything moves in slow speed). Finally she produces the card and stands there wondering what to do next and eventually the checker signals for the woman to slide the card through the machine on her side. The woman does and then she has to remember her PIN – in fact she slid the card in wrong and has to slide it over not once but twice. Finally she’s good to go and it’s my turn, card in my hand ready to seize the moment – no one’s going to have to wait for me. I turn around and see the stony faces – did I take too long?
I’m entering the gas station; I’ve bypassed the exit only driveway and have moved on to the entranceway. As I pull in another car zooms to where I was heading and stops at my pump. My pump. The car is facing the wrong direction, the synchronicity is all off. I’m shook up and head to the nearest pump and get out of my car and run my card through the machine and then it hits me, my car is on the wrong side of the island, I’ll never pump gas from there. The pump is live, it’s waiting for the clang of dollar after dollar rolling through, and impatiently it sits commanding me to feed it.
I’m at In-N-Out and its rush hour and they’re busy and my food order comes up, they call my number and I get my bag and head back out to my car. In a minute I’m on the freeway headed south. A few of the fries satisfy my immediate craving and then I take the burger out of the bag and remove part of the wrapper and am about to chow down when I notice it – the burger is a double double and I ordered a single. I’ve munched on some fires, unwrapped the burger and I’m miles away. Who got my order? The food suddenly doesn’t taste as good.
I park in front of the house to quickly write some notes before I forget. Suddenly, a small dog starts to yap from the house. There’s no nearby parking, the dog is making a racket. I want to move but fear I am already starting to lose the thought.
Movies that dropped a big one when they opened – Big Lebowski, Miller’s Crossing, Office Space, Fight Club, and Citizen Kane.
Then I read this magazine article.
“Yes, technology is constantly changing. You learn to use a computer, they update the operating system, and you have to learn it all over again. Voicemail becomes texting, texting becomes Instagram, and who knows what will happen next? The main thing that determines your response is not your ability to learn, but your attitude toward the new and different. I’m sure many readers can recall when landline phones shifted from a rotary dial to push buttons, and how their parents railed against this change. Seems kind of silly now, doesn’t it?
There’s an old saying that “you’re only as old as you feel.” Yet to the outside world, you’re only as old as you behave! Being grumpy, negative, judgmental, critical, rigid, and complaining doesn’t really feel very good, and guess what? It doesn’t make the people around you feel good, either.
It’s not much fun being around someone who views the world through a negative lens. Sure, life is imperfect. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to keep up with all things that are going on. Yes, our grandchildren dress funny (i.e., different from how we dressed when we were their age). Yes, we sometimes don’t “get” the music of Beyonce, Sam Smith, or Lady Gaga, and reminisce about Frank Sinatra, or even—gasp—The Beatles.
So just for the hell of it, over the next week or two be enthusiastic and see what it gets you. Learn to text your grandchildren and get reconnected. Visit a neighborhood that you rarely go to. Don’t try to win every argument—instead, listen to what the other person is saying. And most of all:
DON’T BE A GRUMPY OLD MAN OR WOMAN!” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/refire-don-t-retire/201606/how-avoid-being-grumpy-old-man-or-woman