Our good friend Frank asked this question over dinner recently. He was responding to the exasperation I had expressed in two recent blog posts about a couple of non-life-threatening annoyances.
Here’s my take about why we might be more irritable:
1. Our time is more precious since we have less of it left.
2. We remember when "service" meant service.
3. We (or at least I) have less patience with incompetence and false claims of service. For example, the company that mucked up our heating system answers the phone with a message that says something like, "We exist to give you exemplary service."
4. Finally, there is Jenny Joseph’s poem that says, "When I am old, I shall wear purple. With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me" that gives us older folks license to be outrageous in many ways, not all of which are polite.
Frank may have nailed it with this response:
“Yes, and there is something more visceral that arises from your analysis, or from another source. Could it be, unconsciously, the resistance to death that is somewhere in us? And its ultimate finality pisses us off.”