Annoying myself silly with self-imposed challenges will never be my main goal in life.
It’s already raising my blood pressure, thinking about my self-imposed challenge of going for thirty days without getting annoyed. I realized this morning that I get annoyed on the average of every five minutes, especially while driving on surface streets. Or while I’m cleaning the house.
If I hit the freeway at a quiet time, no sweat. This challenge idea came to me while I was forced to dawdle behind an Echo. It was driving at approximately the speed that an iceberg melts.
I swung over to change lanes and pass it.
I was muttering out loud about the Echo’s engine squirrels being on a union-mandated break and were lounging under the hood swigging beer and bitching about their supervisor, when I thought about the futility of my despairing curses.
Just before sighting the Echo, I’d been behind a car that kept weaving onto the shoulder. By rights, this should not have bothered me. Then the driver almost decided to cut in front of me, and when I saw her, I understood that erratic driving was just another piece of her puzzle.
These two drivers, together with the immutable frustration of Vegas traffic lights, gave me the notion of imposing on myself this annoying self-challenge.
Las Vegas traffic lights are bought, installed, and operated by casino owners who make sure that there’s a minimum of fifty to a hundred drivers stopped in front of their casino every two minutes.
They make sure that you’ll be inflamed with the desire to play their slots, eat their prime rib, and come hear an obscure band from the 80’s. After two minutes idling, you’ll be allowed to proceed to the next light. Which turns red, just for you.
Years ago, the casino owners went to bed with the developers and made sure that every neighborhood had only one outlet so that drivers would not be able to bypass the major thruways. I’ve been stuck in most neighborhoods at least once, driving in and out of cul-de-sacs in a vain attempt to avoid traffic lights. I’ve managed to double the mileage on my car this way.
If I decide to accept this mission I have given myself, it will be an uphill battle. I waste an entire third of my life being annoyed at something or other. These episodes can sometimes morph into a temper, but are more likely to just merge into the next annoyance.
A second third of my life is spent reminding myself of all my blessings and how little right I have to be annoyed at mundane things. But, unlike the man who had no shoes, contemplating the man who had no legs, this is a minimum head-smack and works for only a minute or two.
It’ll be necessary to remind myself of this challenge daily, by the hour, so that I don’t get annoyed at the neighbor’s noisy dogs. I could deal with that if it wasn’t for being kept on hold with some business and then losing the connection.
Okay, I’d be able to deal with those two things if only it wasn’t for the people who refuse to move into the intersection in preparation for a left turn. Well, I could put up with all of those things if only my headphone wires didn’t get tangled, along with every other cord in the house.
Maybe, if I didn’t have to suffer those indignities, I could overlook the annoyance of having to repeat myself to anyone, anywhere. I should probably put this challenge off until I have time to visit the Dalai Lama, or something…
As for that shoeless man, he’s still hopping around after stepping on a pebble or stubbing his second toe. Having to go shoeless would really tick me off.
It’s gonna be a long, long month.