My Christmas present from my landlord was a $75 rent increase. Someone slipped the notice under my door while I was microwaving lunch last Saturday. There was a 90-second period when I couldn’t hear the paper sliding across the carpet, and the management took advantage of it.
The $75 increase is on top of the $100 increase I got in September, when I signed a six-month lease as a way of pushing ahead the inevitable. I was planning to move in the fall, and I got as far as putting half my stuff in boxes and transporting winter clothes to my parents’ house (which I’ve had to retrieve), but the looking was too daunting. I’m now looking for a place to live, a job, and a boyfriend. I’ll get around to that last one when I can offer to share senior citizen discounts.
The rent increase was also a birthday present. I turned 51 on Christmas, which makes me 16 years older than anyone on staff at Vox.com, one of the new data journalism sites helping to make newsprint look ridiculous.
As I get older, I’m taking after my father—a man who yells at my mom for letting the phone ring twice—and getting increasingly impatient. Slow walkers, many of them half my age, drive me crazy. People who can’t get to the point of a story fast enough have me clenching my fists. Unfortunately, this includes my mother, who insists on telling stories chronologically instead of using the inverted pyramid style I was taught in journalism school. (“Why is there glass all over the floor?” “Well, your sister was coming over today, so I decided to make brownies—” “For Christ’s sake, just tell me if anyone got hurt!”)
But I get most impatient with myself, when I think of all the things I should have done yesterday and can’t decide where to begin.
I get paralyzed by the thought that other people will get impatient with me. So I step to the side and let everyone else pass. They make their way to the dance floor, to the karaoke microphone, to the crowded part of the bar.
It’s kind of ridiculous for me to silently wish harm on people mesmerized by the choices at Starbucks, as if they’re delaying me from some vital task—when they’re really keeping me from getting home for an anxiety-reducing nap. But it’s still one of my very small pleasures to give an audible snort of impatience and leave a store empty-handed.