Saturday, October 1, 2011

Retirement Pleasures - Instant Gratification

King Abdullah recently announced that women in Saudi Arabia would finally be allowed to vote. My husband enlightened me on the little-reported detail that the change would not take place until 2015. Talk about delayed gratification.

This snippet made me realize that the more comfortable I get in my retirement, the less patience I have with waiting for results, no matter how desirable they may be. I find this ironic, since retirement affords me so much more time to wait for things to happen, or get delivered, or be resolved.

Even the slightest delays annoy me. Take for instance the second or so needed for the newfangled squiggly fluorescent bulbs to light up once you flip the switch. The old incandescent bulbs (which were so much more flattering) went on the instant we summoned them to. Is it so much to ask to “let there be light” as soon as we want it?

You may be thinking: This is no big deal. What’s a little impatience now and then? Tell that to the tea kettle when I’m standing over it yelling: “Boil, damn it! Boil!” Or the washing machine when I’m urging it to “Spin, already. Spin!” Inanimate objects have feelings, too, you know. (Remember: I’m the hopeless anthropomorphizer.)

Don’t even get me started on delays that involve phone calls. I’ve developed a ploy to deal with companies that route me through multi-level menus and then put me on hold for the afternoon. I keep a stack of New York Times crossword puzzles nearby, put the phone on speaker and do the puzzles. In my mind, I’m making the company on the other end wait. It may sound silly, but it works for me.

I can’t remember the last time I took a rain check for some special that was out of stock at the local market. I didn’t like them even before I retired, because I usually lost them before the item came in. Now the very thought of a rain check makes my nostrils flare.

This need for instant gratification probably explains why you don’t see women over sixty who are pregnant. We’d never have the patience to wait nine months for the blessed event. I can barely tolerate the thirty-five minutes for a pizza delivery.

My retirement has had the side benefit that I have little need for new clothes. This is a good thing, because my width-to-height ratio invariably requires me to have alterations. Jacket sleeves shortened a tad, pants shortened a lot. When an event calls for new clothes, I have to plan at least two weeks between purchase and actual use. In my retirement, two weeks is an eternity, and my patience has already been shortened to the max.

You can imagine what a joy I am to be with when I’m stuck in traffic. The good news is that I’ve made a habit of learning alternate routes and back roads. More often than not, I’m able to avoid sitting at a total stand still. The travel time might be longer than planned, but at least I’m moving. It’s certainly better than hyperventilating through a major delay on the primary route, chanting “om, om, om.”

Websites that take forever to load are dead on arrival. I close the browser window and start over somewhere else. Likewise huge email attachments. There’s nothing I would want to see on my computer screen that’s worth waiting for, except pictures of my grandnieces and grandnephew. Fortunately, their parents know to send these low res, but I’d even take a rain check for them.

My newfound antsiness helps me appreciate Twitter’s appeal. With messages limited to 140 characters, communications are almost instantaneous. Bantering is as rat-a-tat as a tennis rally between top ranked players. I say this with no personal knowledge. Although I signed up for a Twitter account and made one maiden tweet, I don’t use it. The text option on our cell phones costs extra, and I’m saving my thumbs for more important things. Like leafing through crossword puzzles and jiggling the light switch.

I’d like to think this is just a phase I’m going through, and that in a year or so, I’ll have mellowed out. Maybe. But I doubt I can wait that long to find out.

No comments: