Today most women’s magazines feature a self help section. A recent one that caught my eye was how to handle annoying people. These solutions came off as too much saccharine and not enough substance.
For efficiency the expert categorized each annoyance according to the degree of irritation and methods for dealing with each:
Inadvertent Irritators – People who have issues that aren’t their fault; snore, hiccups and gurgles.
Solution: Picture the irritation passing through you.
Insensitive Irritators – People who don’t or won’t pick up on social cues i.e. ask embarrassing questions.
Solution: Mentally flee the scene
Inexcusable Irritators – People who are over the top rude. Tell racists jokes etc.
Solution: Retrain them like Pavlov’s dogs i.e. Smile when they behave, display no facial expression when they don’t.
Those are excellent suggestions for people who have to have a “cause” in their life and have tons of time. Personally I found them lacking from a practical standpoint. Speaking as one who acknowledges she is annoying and somewhat flawed; I have no qualms about offering my fast and easy solutions.
I renamed the irritations into simpler terms that leave no doubt as to their category:
Dumb ass – People who have issues that aren’t their fault; snore, hiccups and gurgles.
This is the same expert who writes about self esteem, so why would I permit someone’s snores, hiccups and gurgles to pass through me? It’s their issue, let them absorb the fall out. Picture the irritating habit passing through them. Failing that, suggest they remain at home until they figure out a solution for their issue.
Smart ass – People who don’t or won’t pick up on social cues
They do it on purpose and always at an alcohol free occasion where you have no means of self medicating into a stupefying haze. Excuse yourself to go to the powder room and make a run for it.
Jackass – People who are over the top rude. Tell racists jokes etc
This goes beyond annoyance. Why make an effort to control your horror when someone tells a racist joke? If you do or say nothing, they’ll think you’re dense and come up with something worse. Find a dumb ass and introduce the two.
If self help isn’t simple, it isn’t much help is it?
Some self appointed guru came up with a list of mid life crisis symptoms. “Crisis” as defined by Wikipedia is any event that is an unstable or dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. The “expert” elected to use that limited definition of crisis to generate a list of symptoms of mid life crisis.
I believe the entire concept of a mid life crisis is junk science – pure bunk. To make matters worse, he left readers in the lurch when he failed to provide solutions for dealing with these symptoms.
After pondering the list of symptoms I have provided solutions, some a bit unorthodox, but hello, this is supposed to be a crisis.
- Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself. If the image is sporting a unibrow it’s time to hit the spa.
- Desiring to quit a good job. “Job” is another word for “chore. I’ve never had a chore I wouldn’t ditch in a heartbeat.
- Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy. Ditch the ladies book club and go to a sleazy bar.
- Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy. Why not;
Richard Gere did and he’s still hot.
- It feels good to get hurt. Get thee to a shrink fast and put him on speed dial.
- Wanting to run away from everything. Running away does not have to include a Thelma and Louise ending.
- Irritability or unexpected anger. It’s better to be pissed off than pissed on.
- Exploring new musical tastes. Really, that’s an indication of crisis?
- Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument. Unless it is an accordion or tuba why not?
- Extreme changes to what you eat. Who says ice cream for breakfast is bad?
- Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good. As the sands of time shift, looking good requires more time.
- Hair changes. If hair changes indicate a symptom, women have been in crisis since leaving the womb.
- Leaving (Mentally or physically) family or feeling trapped in current family relationships. My no fail three step solutions; lie, don’t answer the door, ignore the phone.
- Doing things that get you into trouble when it surprises everyone as being out of character. Unless the trouble making activity is felonious, go for it. Surprising everyone by doing something out of character is fun. Besides we are the only ones who get to define our character.
It is a waste of time and effort to rid ourselves of shortcomings. I find myself coming up sort on virtue fairly often. I discovered an easy solution; just do what the politicians do and spin that shortcoming. You can zap it over into the virtue side of the ledger fast.
It is easier to do than you might think, for example:
I sneaked into the kitchen after midnight and wolfed down the last piece of hubby’s birthday cake. I left him a healthier selection; an apple.
I pretended to sleep when the cat howled for breakfast at five AM. I provided spouse additional time to bond with the cat.
I hit the “ignore” button on cell phone. It feels good to help callers reduce their cell phone usage.
I dawdled in the parking garage when a highly entitled male driving a hummer stalked my space. I am happy to be a positive influence on his karmic journey to learn patience.
I lied to my friend about her hideous, too short, too curly, too blonde hairstyle. The awestruck expression from others at the first glimpse of her new “do” will preserve our longstanding relationship.
I re arranged the dairy case to get to the freshest yogurt in back. I know the stock clerk appreciates the help.
I charged ahead of the annoying woman at the fitness center to get the choice locker we both prefer. She admits to being rigid. I am helping her learn to adapt.
I relocated the shoes I really like to house wares, while I price checked other stores. Those shoes were a find. The clerk received a commission. I saved enough money to buy hubby more apples.
As my good friend says, “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade and then look for someone to whom life has given vodka”.
Metaphorically speaking, shortcomings are the lemons of my own device and if I find myself short of a good spin, there’s always vodka.