I find myself exasperating a lot.
I’m assuming, as you read that, that you believe what I am saying is, “I find myself to be annoying, grumpy, and irritating.”
That is NOT at all what I mean. I am NOT saying that I find myself to be exasperating. Well, truth be told, sometimes I do, but that takes us off track, and in that case, I – and probably you – would indeed find myself to be exasperating. Anyway, my intention is to use the verb form of “exasperate.” To be honest, I’m not sure there is a verb form of exasperate; I couldn’t find one, so I might have made it up.
Nonetheless, as stated, I am exasperating (verb) a lot recently.
Now that I’ve made that clear as mud, an appropriate follow-up question is, “What is said action that one associates with the feeling of exasperation?”
At least in my case, it’s a curmudgeonly, exhausted, exhale which loudly escapes my lips when I am confronted with something of annoyance. Along with the sound comes a general attitude of irritation, rolling of my eyes – and oft times, a choice swear word or three.
I now provide an example of what in Scott’s world causes exasperating (verb tense).
Yep, shoelaces. They seem innocuous, I get it, but what yanks my chain is that “when I was a kid…” (every curmudgeon begins with that expression), shoelaces were cut to the length to fit the shoes with which they were partnered. If the shoes had four eyelets, the length of the shoelace would be shorter than, for example, hiking boots, with eight eyelets and a hooky-do thing to wrap your laces around. Dress shoes? Short laces. Knee boots? Long laces. Simple, right?
As they say, “Hold my beer.”
The Shoe Gods have decreed that all laces should be the same length. The repercussion of such a conclusion is that after tying my tennis shoes, what remains is a garden-hose length of excess laces, causing a tripping hazard. I have tried to stuff it into my shoe but that’s uncomfortable, so I double or triple-tie the laces, leaving large bows, attempting to utilize as much of the excess as possible.
Is that exasperating (adjective tense)?
Well, sure, to a point. But what causes me to exasperate (verb) is that, due to the extreme excess “laceage,” while walking I repeatedly step on the loops and they untie, requiring me to stop, exasperate, bend down, and re-fasten the laces. But wait! There’s more! Taking off shoes also initiates exasperating because inevitably, when I yank on the lace, it creates a knot, due to all the loops and unnecessary string wrapped around everything. This entails pulling the shoe from my foot while still tied, obtaining a fork (to insert into the knot to separate it), and unraveling the mini-Gordian knot that is now my shoe; all the while, exhaling forcefully, rolling my eyes, and cursing about the poor customer service of the manufacturer.
Shoelaces are not the only source of exasperating. Passwords are another.
Case-in-point, I started this column on my iPad but Microsoft required me to sign in first. This dictates getting my password manager, finding the correct code, selecting all images that look like a bus, entering in the squiggly (mostly-unreadable) letters on the verification page, and waiting for an email verifying I’m me. Of course, typing with stubby, old-person fingers on the flat screen of a device is at best, imprecise; so, because of a one-letter typo in my password, I am informed, “Too many attempts. Try again later.”
C’mon, you’re with me, right? That’s exasperating. I wanted to write, not pass an FBI security check. Sigh and roll your eyes with me. Profanity is elective.
To the point that started this screed, I’m exasperating a lot. I exhale more than a pipe organ with broken bellows. I don’t like that in me. Dare I say it, I find it exasperating (adjective, not verb).
I realize that “exasperators” are first-world issues. I get it. I’m grunting, griping, and grumbling my way through too much of my precious day over annoyances that on the grand scale of cosmic karma don’t even put forth a ripple.
Therefore, henceforth, I commit to focusing on not exasperating so often. It’s an all-too-often sign of frustration or anger, emotions in direct contradiction to gratitude and acceptance, which is where I wish to spend more of my time. My new focus will be, that even when something doesn’t occur the way I want or expect (which happens often but is inevitably minor), I shall choose to be grateful that I am alive to experience this annoyance. No, really, I’m serious. I’m working on that.
The exhale I just did was NOT exasperating, but satisfactionating.
(We’ll define that at another time.)