Sometimes I don’t mind getting older. Actually, I often enjoy it. I appreciate the advantages of acquired wisdom, and in some ways I am more patient, especially with people who mean well but somehow miss the mark. I get that their hearts are in the right place, and that’s a good thing.

Other times advancing age is a real pain in the posterior, and I have less and less patience for just about everything else.

The other day, after having dodged the orange cones and endured the delays in getting to the other side of Bryan and back, I was crossing the Norfolk Southern tracks at Union Street. I was into the tunes, the volume cranked up, when the song abruptly ended. Before I realized what was going on, a loud, extended honk blasted through the speakers.

I nearly soiled myself as my head jerked right then left, expecting to see a train bearing down on me. When I realized it was a commercial sound effect I instinctively swore and switched off the radio, and my heart raced all the way home.

Very few things in life annoy me more than horns and sirens on radio commercials. I get that the idea of the ad is to get your attention, but at what cost? Do these commercials ever startle drivers into losing control of their vehicles, or actually cause heart attacks? Or on the flip side, do they desensitize drivers into ignoring real horns and sirens?

I’m guessing to some extent the sounds do both, and I would love to plant my foot you know where with any ad creator or business owner or executive who makes use of them.

As I go about my business I get increasingly annoyed with self-absorbed, oblivious people. Folks think nothing of letting a door slam shut into the face of the person behind them, walking into your path while focusing on their phones, or racing with a full cart to get ahead of someone in line at the store, when the person they cut off has only an item or two.

Want to really annoy me? Cut short your in-person conversation with me to answer a phone call or text. The only way I will forgive this is if you apologize, tell me it is a call that you absolutely must take, and then keep it short or give me a fuller explanation of why you must deal with it immediately.

Should you take the call or text and keep me waiting without an explanation, if I have the opportunity to leave I will do so. The same goes for a call waiting notification while we are talking on the phone. If you put me on hold and don’t come back right away, I am gone.

As my regular readers well know, rude and ignorant drivers aggravate me. For instance, how difficult can it be to properly and politely negotiate a four-way stop? When someone does it correctly it is almost cause for rejoicing.

Oh, well, enough said about fools behind the wheel – this topic is a new column all its own.

Crowds in general annoy me. More and more I avoid them whenever I can. Because of the press of people and traffic jams I very rarely attend fireworks shows anymore. And as much as I love music, it has been years since I have attended a concert.

People at concerts have become so rude I no longer enjoy myself, even when my favorite bands take the stage. While I am trying to listen and enjoy the band people all around me are screaming into their cell phones and holding them up in my line of sight. “Guess where I am!” they scream in discord, ruining my enjoyment of the live show. You can probably guess where I would like to place their phones.

Actually, simply walking into a concert angers me. At the gate you are frisked like a common criminal, and I feel violated. When I think how our society has sunk to this level, I am disgusted and dismayed.

Credit card machines at stores tick me off. You don’t know whether to slide it or insert it for the chip. The machines are all just enough different that you have to read the directions, and far too often a harried clerk will treat you like an idiot or a child while telling you what to do.

Whatever happened to the good old days of just handing your card over to a clerk, who takes care of it then hands back your card with a simple thank you?

I appreciate the patient clerks as I deal with the infernal machines, and often bring a smile to their face when I tell them I was born about 100 years too late.

As for the rude clerks? Well, the mental image of me firmly choking them does a lot to lift my spirits.

Come to think of it, I should apply that technique to dealing with inconsiderate and ignorant drivers as well.

Yes, it’s enough to bring a smile to this old codger’s face.

Don Allison is an author, columnist and the retired editor of The Bryan Times.

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