To be honest, I’m really not sure what’s more deeply ingrained in our DNA, our penchant to rationalize or our urge to complain. Being keenly aware of my own makeup and a pretty astute observer of those who share my sphere, I’m kind of leaning towards the latter, but just by a nose.
When it comes to the items that make the list of that which doesn’t make me terribly happy, there are the minor annoyances easily forgotten and then there are the more significant ones that resurface time and again.
As for the minor annoyances, well, I don’t want to dwell too long on those realities but will give them a little air time.
One would be when I have to call a business or organization, the amount of time it takes before I can speak with an actual person. It’s really more the rule than the exception that I’ll listen to an automated voice for what seems like an eternity before I’m finally speaking with someone who can conversationally return volley.
Another what I suppose I would classify a minor annoyance since it’s not going away anytime soon and I’ve made myself believe it’s minor would be something that impacts my domestic tranquility. Since I’m a city dweller, I suppose when living in a neighborhood where there are a couple houses to either side of me that are inside of 10 feet away, I should expect there should be some noise in the area that I’m not producing.
In those two houses on either side, the canine total happens to be seven. While the two to my north are tiny with rather unobtrusive voices and aren’t out unless they’re conducting potty business, to the south, well, that’s another matter entirely. There, on the side closest to my garage and family room and kitchen just inside the garage, an area where much of my time is spent, there is so often present the type of noise that five dogs, four of which possess startlingly loud and aggressive voices, can generate.
Unfortunately, they can let themselves out of the garage through the door flap that leads to the fenced-in backyard whenever they feel the urge. And, my, what a hounds-from-hell sound they can let loose, especially when during warm-weather months.
I’m outside trying to work in the side or back yard on the other side of that tall wooden fence that divides the properties. While the pair of two-legged beings in the house are nice enough, the five four-legged ones have on countless occasions, at best, annoyed and, at worse, scared the bejeebers out of me when I’m in my yard and don’t expect them behind that fence until I hear that canine cacophonous symphony. How envious I am when I’m at country-girl Lady Jane’s and hear only the rustle of corn and trees from the two fields and stand of deciduous trees that surround her Mercer County abode.
As far as the more significant irritations, I will tell you, like so many, I wasn’t real happy with the mail service this past winter. A Christmas card I sent to a dear friend from my college years postmarked Dec. 11 finally landed in the intended’s mailbox in St. Augustine, Florida, on Jan. 12, according to her text.
That wasn’t the only mailing that took that long to land in the right place, including one that was a bill that prompted a second notice and an additional late-penalty charge for a check I’d already mailed, which took me quite some time on the phone to get expunged. Additionally, in the pre-spring-ahead coldest mid-February, mail that used to arrive in my mailbox by 3 p.m. was routinely arriving hours later, sometimes long after dark, as late as 8:30 pm, prompting a cold, dark trudge to the street-side mailbox.
Finally, no column devoted to ridding myself of some irritations that have been pressuring my sternum would be complete without hurling a few castigations in the direction of our local cable provider. Not long ago, from my Select Tier, the powers that be removed several channels and placed them in a more expensive tier. I’m not talking about just a station or two, rather a double-digit total.
With near laser-like precision, they removed the stations, of course, that I watched the most. Gone is my beloved TCM and its black-and-white commercial-free movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Gone are the concerts of some of my favorite musical acts that I loved to watch on AXS.
Gone are Lady Jane’s favorite schmaltzy LMN flicks. And, gone are several of my most-watched sports channels, from MLB to NFL to NBA to the Golf Channel! The deletion of that many channels and expecting me to pay more to retrieve them, frankly, infuriates me.
Oh, and don’t even get me started when a Select Tier station like our local WLIO suddenly has a screen block with the message that your package doesn’t include the station and asking you if you want to upgrade. That’ll take snapping the power off to the box and back on and then waiting for that annoying “L” countdown, which takes about 15 minutes before it completes and allows you to see the screen. Last week, it happened twice.
Boy, it sure felt good today to complain about something other than my old-dude prostate troubles or all that pandemic complaining. Having said that, despite the cathartic benefits a good old-fashioned gripe session carries, I realize, deep down where the truth always resides, that the Good Lord has been far, far better to me than I probably have ever deserved.
I do feel a bit guilty not listening to any of your gripes, so, please feel free to email me any you just have to vent, and I promise I’ll listen.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at email@example.com.