I am sorting my laundry and again I am missing one sock. I’m furious. There goes my New Year’s resolution to be patient and compassionate.
Hogwash. I have more peeves.
I’ll start with Comcast: My son-in-law, a computer science genius, sends me an Amazon Fire Stick. “You now have Netflix, Amazon, all the movies and networks,” he says. But I can’t figure it out. I call Comcast.
A tall technician with gelled porcupine hair arrives. He assures me that if I change my “outdated” box to the updated Xbox, I don’t need a Fire Stick — I can watch Netflix TV channels and movies streamed on my TV.
Excited that I can just click and watch, I agree.
After he plugs, unplugs and installs the new box, he shows me my new remote. “It’s easy. Just talk into the microphone and your movies will come on,” he says. “Four-year-olds love this Xbox.”
It’s evening. I settle in with my popcorn and click the new remote to Netflix. When I highlight the series I want to see, everything goes haywire. I shout into the microphone: “The Tudors!” Instead, a Tom Hanks movie comes on. “I want ‘The Tudors!’”
I press the center button and the movie won’t budge. I’m shaking. I’m furious. I miss my old remote. To calm down, I take half a Xanax.
I call Comcast hotline. A woman who barely speaks English instructs me to unplug.
“I don’t want to unplug,” I shout. “I want this Tom Hanks movie off! I want to watch ‘The Tudors.’”
“Ma’am. Calm down. I’ll fix. Hold a minute.”
I’m holding … but Tom Hanks stays on my screen. “It’s not working!” I yell.
I call Comcast again. I’m transferred to Technical Support. “I want my old box back,” I demand. The technician confides that the Xbox doesn’t “transfer well.”
“So what good is that going to do me? I want my old box back,” I say. “I want someone here tomorrow. Pronto!”
The next day, a young technician arrives. He installs my old box. He gives me my old remote, looking at me like I’m a dummy, pontificating, “Older people have trouble with technological progress.”
I’m happy. I have my old box, my old phone, my old computer, my old face, my old peeves.
And I’ve got a long list of them:
The tops on my medication bottles — Press down. Press up. Why? What’s with the pressing? What’s wrong with just opening and closing?
Doctor’s offices —Why do they say 2:15 p.m. when they take you at 4?
When asked what my sign is.
When someone says, “You look good for your age.” How am I supposed to look? I’m alive, aren’t I?
Memorials — When relatives who haven’t spoken in years give glowing eulogies and show videos.
When he’s impotent and asks, “Was it wonderful?”
When he says, “You deserve great sex.”
When he asks, “Do you rent or own?” Do I ask you?
Some TV shows — Kim Kardashian, or the dumbed down “The Bachelor” (one rose and the stupid girls are crying they’re in love with the one picked-over dummy bachelor).
Age segregation. Ageism.
When someone says, “Own it.” Own what? Stop with the psyche babble.
Foodies — When they ask “Is it organic? Gluten free?”
Racism — When someone says “Get them out of our country.” Who’s them? We’re all people with rights to the same planet.
Genderphobics — The human species is multifaceted.
Homophobia — When someone says, “My best friends are gay.”
And don’t get me started with Trump. Dump the Shlump!
“You sure have peeves,” says the retired “70-year-old” surgeon I met on Okcupid. I think he’s more like 80. We both lied about our ages. We’re at Starbucks. We’ve had a lively conversation.
“Maybe they’re opinions and not peeves?” I suggest as I sip the foam from my cappuccino.
“Self-indulgent,” he sighs.
“Why is it when women have opinions men think they’re peeves? I noticed in your profile that you have very strong opinions. A woman must be fit, love hiking, cooking, on and on. I hate all of those things.”
He looks reflective. “I was hoping to meet a woman who doesn’t have peeves.”
He wrinkles his nose. “This coffee is watery.”
He spends the next hour complaining about how most coffee is watery, that he “deplores” most restaurants and that he’s a vegan. A buzzer goes off on his watch. “Time for his pills,” he announces. Time for his nap. Time for his life.
I’m home. It’s evening. I like the sound of the rain on the windows. I hold my old silver remote. I press, click, and my movie is on.