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Boomer Bytes #42: Aggravations to Make You See Red

Editor”s Note: Below is another column in Steve Canipe”s series called Boomer Bytes. The column, as the title suggests, will focus on a variety of topics that may be of interest to baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964. But Canipe also hopes to start a conversation with younger generations, too. Check out an introduction and Canipe”s (first self-titled) column here.

Aggravations to Make You See Red

By Steve Canipe

Oct. 31, 2014. Have you ever been so aggravated or mad at someone or something that you see red? Some research out of North Dakota State University, which was reported in the Daily Mail of London, found “Hostile thoughts are implicitly associated with the color red, and therefore hostile people are biased to see this color more frequently.” So maybe there is such a thing as seeing red.


Whether really seeing red is true or not, I, probably like most of the readers, have certain things that cause me to become aggravated. If you don’t like that word (aggravated) how about one of its synonyms: bother, irritate, provoke, bug, exasperate, gall, irk, peeve, vex, drive up the wall, drive batty, or get on one”s nerves. Not many words have so many synonyms and these are not all of the ones.

It is true that I don’t get aggravated often (although my wife would probably tell you differently!), but when I do, I really get “teed-off.” But whichever of us is correct, there are a couple of things that do drive me batty. Several of these things revolve around driving. Here in Boone, there are numerous occasions where people seem to do “odd” things. Driving down King Street heading west, it is not unusual to see a car heading east make a U-turn right in the middle of the street to get a parking spot on the westbound side. I’ve got to say this is usually done by younger people (college students) who seem compelled to have that space regardless of the safety involved. But I have seen long-term natives of the area do it as well. Maybe this behavior says more about the poor parking situation downtown than the Elementary OrchestraDuring the online schools year, 5th grade string students meet once weekly at their elementary schools for 45 minutes of instruction. drivers!

Jaywalkers of all ages are common in any small town and many larger ones. This activity does, not in itself, bother me. What does is the seeming insistence of some jaywalkers to just step out in front of traffic without regard to anything but their own convenience. Maybe they are not being headstrong but just not paying attention. I would certainly hate to hit a pedestrian (young or old) but in some cases I’ve witnessed, if one accidentally did get hit, it would definitely be due to contributory negligence.

People who stop at signals and, even though they can turn right on red, just sit there, is another peeve of mine. I’m not talking about making a dangerous move with someone close by—there cannot be another car in sight and still they sit. My wife tells me I am too impatient but I figure I’ve only a limited number of minutes left to live and I don’t want to waste any of them waiting needlessly! Maybe this is my type-A personality at work. And OK, I will readily admit that I am an impatient type regardless of the personality type I am!!

Another needless wait is often at the crosswalk signal on Hardin Street. Obviously when the light is solid red, you stop and wait for individuals to walk across (better than jaywalking); but when the pedestrian has crossed and the signals have begun flashing red and there are no other crossers; the stopped vehicles seem to not know what to do. According to the NC Driver’s Handbook pp. 69 it says “The flashing red signal has the same meaning as the stop sign: stop and do not proceed to move until you can enter the intersection without interfering with approaching traffic” In this case, the “traffic” would be the pedestrian!!

Driving distracted is also something that irks me. These distractions can be talking on a cellphone, texting, putting on make-up, fiddling with the radio dial or a CD, eating a French fry, really anything that takes your attention from the task of maneuvering the one ton (or more) behemoth safely down the street or highway.

Lest you think I am a total curmudgeon and am only concerned with driving and traffic issues, let me fill you in on a couple of other irksome things. When I go to the Appalachian State football games, I go to watch the game. I don’t go there to clandestinely drink. All this drinking inevitably leads to many trips to the restroom facilities or to the snack bar for food to quell the munchies. The back and forth trips in the rather narrow confines of seating at Kidd-Brewer Stadium calls for me to stand up or otherwise move to allow egress and ingress. One trip would not be too bad, but over and over in and out throughout the game…are they watching at all?

Another thing at games that is bothersome for me is the habit, not only by students but others in the crowd, of booing the visitors when they run on to the field. These team members are guests of ours and while I want to beat them on the field as much as the next person, I don’t see the sense in booing them. Cheer loudly for your own team but in order to support your team, it is not necessary, in my opinion, to belittle the visiting team..

Calling any business and getting the multiple layered set of instructions about if you want <this> press 1; or if you want <that> press 2; and so on. Sometimes the options do not cover what I am calling about. I’m sure this nonhuman operation of voice prompt questions probably saves companies some money by not needing a receptionist to actually direct the call to a human. One of the worst offenders in this category that I frequently interact with is Charter Communications. They do not even have a local number for the local office that is published, at least that I can find. I’ve found that pressing “0” for every question option will eventually get you to a human. The humans, once you get them, are usually very nice and extremely helpful. I know for me I would be far less irked if I was able to start with a human rather than pressing a zero 6-8 times.

Insurance companies and technology companies are also very bad offenders with the electronic voice prompts. If I wanted to talk to a machine, I would probably not be so aggravated with this behavior on the part of business for which I am a paying customer! Maybe those who are not boomers are not so aggravated by these voice prompts….as my Mom would say “So I’m old, sue me.”

Since I am on phone calls and being peeved, let me continue with all the robo-calls I get. The Do Not Call Registry is a total joke. When this started it sort of worked, for a while. But now with all the exceptions, it is not working for me. Some of the exceptions mentioned on the FAQ are for charities, political organizations, and telephone surveyors. Unless it is a true telemarketer there is no stopping. Oh yes and by the way, if you’ve ever done business with the company, they can call to try to sell you something else! What I have found, which sort of works, is to let every call that I don’t immediately recognize go to voice mail. The marketing, surveying, etc. calls seem to not let it ring long enough to go to voice mail. Typically it is on the third ring that the call is stopped. This is because most people with answering machines pick up after 4 rings. So many of the calls are now being made via the internet (VoIP) and there is no real cost associated with the calling. So all the calls here in Boone, NC that I get from 212, 202, 789, 543, etc. area codes are these VoIP calls and I don’t want to talk with them.

As I near the end of this week’s column, I am struck by how many things do aggravate me. What about you? Have more or less? Do you have the same or different pet peeves that sort of zork you out? I’d love to hear form you about what they are. Respond in the space at the end of this column or send me an email at boomerbytes@yahoo.com. Waiting to hear from you.