These Are Petty Annoyances, But Why????


Well, I think it’s all about a phrase that we used to hear bandied about far more frequently 30 plus years ago.   Oh,  the gist and concept behind the phrase is still very much alive and well and confounding grandparents about their grandkids  just as it did back in the day.

For example:

There you go.

Here the deal:  I can tell I’m getting older and this ability goes well beyond the physical indicators.  It’s the way I think.  I’m now, for some reason,  more content to be alone, because I’m so much more unnerved by the perceived idiocy in others.

Do I mean to be that harsh??  Is it really idiocy?   Or is it just my unwillingness to cope with the things about these people that I find ultra annoying?   And is “idiocy” is just a convenient catch-all word?

CASE IN POINT:  A few days ago, I was forced to take a meeting with a young woman who reently moved to Houston.  Now, before I get into her, let me address my thoughts on where she came from…



She came from Austin.

Lovely city….the home of intelligentsia, Texas dot coms,  state guvmnet and those Longhorns, but Austin in the New Millenium irritates me.  And yes, I can honestly say that.  You see, I’ve lived there twice.  I attended The University of Texas in the mid 70’s;  left, then moved back to Austin in ’79, then spent the first five years of the 80’s there.    

When I graduated from college in 1985, I was ready to leave.  Couldn’t wait to leave, in fact.  I had grown out of Austin and I didn’t return until 1993.   I hardly recognized it.  It had grown; it expanded and it had changed.  It felt like California—East.   

It was like going back to the home in which you were raised and then, your parents sold the house during their divorce.   Decades passed and you finally gather the courage to face the demons that might still live there. You come back to the house  and the new owners grant you a tour it.     That comfy familiarity you once knew and desperately wanted to see, to experience one more time was nowhere to be found.  Danish Modern furniture had been replaced by antique Baroque.   It didn’t fit..well, it didn’t fit in your memories, anyway.   It’s no longer your home and it had changed so much, you even doubt the veracity of your own memories of the place.

Based on a few visits to the Texas State Capital in recent years, I’ve been able to deduce that a new breed of Austinite had taken over.  And this woman was one of those people who I feel certain helped make me question my memories of that once hip oasis of “live and let live”.   Oh, Austin was still that alright…but when I lived there, that was a natural fact.  Now this attitude seemed forced and scripted as if every body’s attempt to be unique and strangely Austin was like every one else’s attempt to be unique and strangely Austin.    There was this sameness that covered the city.

But the question beckons:   has Austin changed that much?   Or have I?

Anyway, this youngish woman who bore all the obvious accoutrement of her generation, sat across from me at a huge mahogany  conference table and in the course of one 45-minute meeting said, in an attempt to emphasize salient points, “At the end of the day…” no less than six times.   I kept a running tally on my notepad .   Instead of saying that she would get in touch with someone, this woman said no less than five times, that she would “reach out to….”  whoever.

Why did these saying bother me?  I don’t know.  Why do tattoos and wearing 18 earrings (in one ear) bother me?    Why does ignorance bother me?   And catch phrases, too.  In the 80’s, I NEVER inquiresdas to the specifics of where the beef was located–Wendy’s be damned. 

I am so much less tolerant than I was ten years ago.   And this intolerance brings with it less much less patience and a rather negative hair-trigger response to  anything and everything that bothers me and  these days, sooooooooooooo much bothers me.

Back in the 60’s, I can remember watching network news with my grandmother in the room.   Hippies would hold anti-war demonstrations with their long hair and crazy clothes and peace signs everywhere and my grandfather would shake his head and invariably say for the millionth time that day that those “Crazy fool kids!!!!!.  That damned Hippie man with his long hair looks like a woman!  I’ll bet he even sits down to pee”.     

My grandparents didn’t like change….or anything  or anyone that questioned or threatened their reality.   Sayings like “23 skidoo”, the Charleston and bathtub gin were the keynotes of hipness for their generation.   And I’m sure their love of their own gilded era probably made their bustle wearing mothers scratch their heads. 

At what point in their lives did they change and they in turn came tio regard their jitterbugging, Glen Miller loving children as being “crazy fool kids”?

Here’s my reality:  I like my friends, but I need them less these days.  I like my life, but I want it less complicated.   And if I must have chaos in my life for whatever reason,  I prefer to deal with it myself.  I longer want to handle things with an audience or an enterouge.    I’m  fine being alone and at times, prefer it.

So, my question then becomes, is this normal?   Do we become less tolerant (within reason), more isolated (by choice) and prefer to traverse the paths that offer the least resistance as we age?   

And if so, why?   Have we just lived long enough to finally reach that true, much debated, “we could care less” status???

And lastly, when in God’s name did all of this happen??    Where was I?



  1. Laurie, my dear, dear woman. You have the KNACK to put down exactly what I’m thinking and I too realize how put out I become when I hear repeated phrases such as describing a situation or conversation and the speaker uses “… and I’m like so …” I want to say “Yeah, and I’m like getting tired of you saying “I’m like.

    I doubt that this would improve anything, so at the end of the day, I’m like so content to just let the crazy hippies do what they want.

    My daughter currently lives in Austin, and at this point in time I wish she’d move. “Know what I mean?


  2. I’m forty-six and I starting to feel like you. Shakespeare summed it up beautifully…

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages.
    As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

    The idea that “all the world’s a stage” was already clichéd in Shakespeare’s time so Jaques is intended to sound at least a little pretentious here. Jaques is the resident cynic (sorta’ like me now) in the Forest of Arden. Setting around a fire and noticing another character’s stray suggestion that the world is a “wide and universal theater,” Jaques deploys his metaphor for his famous speech on the Seven Ages of Man, the infant, whining schoolboy, lover, solider, and the justice. Were I think I’m at ‘in fair round belly with good capon lin’d, with eyes severe and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so (s)he plays h(er) part.” I hope that I have along way to go before the last two the ‘lean and slipper’d pantaloon’ and the second childishness!

  3. It is normal at your age (you were around in the sixties) that one doesn’t seek out much social life. Just be yourself. Accept yourself totally. Unconditionally.

    You have learned some hard lessons in life. Maybe your role now is to give a little guidance to troubled youth. And there some very good young people today, too. You could be a mentor. If you want to. It doesn’t matter.

    Life is hard. Many things bother us. The young have always been a torment to the older generations.

    Austin is different? That’s inevitable. Every generation faces different challenges than their parents and grandparents did. That’s what makes us different. Have you read “Generations: The history of America’s Future”?

    You’re not tolerant? So what? There are limits to what we should tolerate. Maybe it’s best that you accept that you’re intolerant of some things. Maybe it’s life’s way of telling you that some things are wrong. There are plenty of things that are wrong.

    Maybe you’re becoming aware on a deeper level than before. We can’t put a happy face on everything, or talk ourselves into believing everything is alright.

    Nothing in the world will make us happy. We supply the loving kindness ourselves.

    Just some thoughts.

    Not all younger folk are the scourge of mankind. I don’t think that at all. I’ve jsut gotten to that age where some affect me like they are.
    They need to understand as I did when I was their age, that youth is shortlived. We’re older so much longer and than anythying in life. Silly statement perhaps, but if you think about it, it’s quite true.

    I’ve become increasingly more aware of time…or what’s left of it. As I enter my life’s third act, I treasure more, value more, respect more, can cry faster can discard emotional refuse faster than ever before. If that are the perks that come with wrinkles and the fact that my tits are now heading down toward Tierra del Fuego, then so be it.

    The process of aging is inevitbale. It is what we do as humans. The ages at which we arrive and the realization of what we’ve learned getting to this point in our lives is a rite of passage that’s either blessed or cursed, depending upon one’s perspective.

    I am looking forward to my 50’s. My 40’s made sure of that. My 30’s were wild and my 40’s were just a decade in which I sat back to catch my breath. My 20’s were rife with mistakes and juvenile folly. An arrogance which was misplaced, yet necessary to experience. And that made my survival of this imperious period reason why I partied so in my 30’s.

    Every new beginning always came from some other beginning’s end. Life is like that.

    My teens? Not even worth mentioning.

    I appreciate your words, but I’m fine. I get a little bombastic at times. As I writer, that’s the rarely discussed part of my job description.

And now, you may opine your ass off...

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