Thursday, March 2, 2017
The Cranky Old Broad
There's no denying it. I'm getting old.
It's not so much the physical changes, although those are readily apparent. The gray hairs pop out, screaming, "Look at me! Look at me!", no matter how hard I try to hide them. The lines around my eyes and the crevices carved into my forehead also stand testament to the passing of time. And we won't even talk about the southern migration that's going on.
Believe it or not, that's not the worst part. The worst part is that I have become, well . . . cranky. There's really no other way to put it. It's like I've morphed into one of those stereotypical crotchety old people they like to put in movies for comic relief. Only, when it's you, it's really not all that funny.
I only have to look over the last couple of days to find examples of just how out of control it's gotten. Yesterday morning, for instance, as I was dropping my ten-year-old son off at school I found several people to get irritated with. (This actually happens EVERY morning at drop-off. If you want to find examples of the worst driving in the world, just hang out at an elementary school at drop-off and pick-up times.) As I was waiting patiently in the long line of cars to exit the parking lot, I watched in stunned silence as one mom drove along the right hand side in what is supposed to be the drop-off lane and forced her way into the head of the line. (Actually, I don't think it was in stunned silence. I'm pretty sure I had a few things to say about that, but fortunately they were confined to the interior of my car.) Now I get why my 3rd graders get so enraged when someone cuts in line. Wait your turn, people! I will have to restrain myself in the future from feeding them my usual glib line: We are all going to the same place. Yeah, we are, but I should get there first!
No sooner had I recovered from that incident, but I almost hit a car as I turned right out of the parking lot because someone decided they needed to drop off their child at the curb. Where it clearly says NO STOPPING. Can't you read people???? (Yes, I said that out loud. No, I'm sure they didn't hear.)
I believe the rest of the drive (it's only 10 minutes after all) occurred without incident, but on the way home I found myself shouting (I won't say what; I'll leave that up to your imagination.) at the string of cars that decided the red turn light didn't apply to them, making the line of cars I was in wait, even though our light was clearly the color of go.
And the thing is, this happens all the time. Don't worry; I'm not on the brink of committing some atrocious act of road rage or anything, but I do find myself on a daily basis thinking, "People these days just don't know how to drive." I mean, that's a cranky old person thing to say, isn't it?
The other day dealt another crushing blow in the you've-turned-into-a-cranky-old-broad department. This year, at the school where I teach, a company has been brought in to run our annual jog-a-thon. A company run by disgustingly young people who look like they're barely out of high school. And like most disgustingly young people, they are full of annoying energy and enthusiasm. (See? Who but a cranky old broad would find that annoying?) Their program has them coming in each day to teach a mini-lesson on leadership and to get the kids all pumped up about the fund raiser. To kick it off, they held a rally on Monday. The kids loved it. They had music playing and there were demonstrations of the prizes the kids could win that had them oohing and ahhing and high-energy explanations of how the fund raiser works. The kids were decidedly pumped as we left the multi-purpose room. As it turns out, however, I work with a bunch of other cranky old people because all we could talk about afterwards was how loud the music was.
Attitude toward music is one of the most telling signs that you have crossed over into the realm of Getting Old. I have actually found myself on occasion uttering the words "music these days." If that isn't a sign of being old, I don't know what is. I used to make fun of my parents when I was a teenager because they would listen to the oldies station to hear the music from their youth. Guess what station is programmed into my car radio. Yep. And they play the music from my youth. Even the radio station is telling me I'm old.
Speaking of my parents, I have found one way in which I have totally turned into my dad. I constantly find myself turning off lights that have been left on in empty rooms and lecturing those allegedly responsible (oh come on, we know they're guilty!) about the necessity of turning off said lights. Although truthfully, this may not really be a sign of old age but more the direct result of having to pay the PG&E bill each month. (Everything has gotten so expensive!)
At any rate, every day I find myself muttering to myself about the shortcomings of the people around me and the sad state of our society. Kids don't have any respect for adults and don't know how to listen. All they want to do is goof off and play video games. They don't know the value of hard work. And their parents! How many times have I received an email asking for this or that, and after I respond - outside of school hours, mind you - they don't even have the decency to say thank you. Why, back in my day, people had manners.
<Sigh>There's simply no more denying it. That cranky old broad? That's me.