What is it with people these days? What’s gotten into us?

Why is so hard to have a civil conversation with someone outside our various circles? (Answer: Election frenzy.)

Why do so many of us seem so angry or short-tempered? (Answer: See previous answer.)

Why don’t people show up when they’re supposed to – when they said they would? (Answer: Who knows?)

I think we can blame the past seven months of discombobulation for most of that. It’s not just major events that have upset us – COVID-19, the death of George Floyd, and the election being primary among them.

It seems as if our general mindset has been dialed up to “frenzy.” 

And with that, it seems that many of us must be losing all sense of responsibility and courtesy.

For instance, my husband and I have been doing some COVID-inspired decluttering and minor home fix-ups. A couple of the jobs we decided would be better handled by a pro, or at least a semi-pro with experience.

I called someone – a friend of a friend – whom I knew to be the former. He had given me his card a while back, but I didn’t have any work for him. When I called recently, he didn’t answer, so I left a voice mail. That was two months ago. He didn’t call back, and I didn’t call again.

Another very specific job we knew must be done by a pro. I called one – someone I’ve known for a few years. While our task at hand was related to what he does, it wasn’t exactly the same. But, he said to email him a couple of photos and he’d get back to me.

I did. That was two months ago also.

One job was something I’ve been putting off for years. It involved the refurbishing of an chair. So I called a pro.

He didn’t answer the phone, so I went to his shop. He must not have been too busy, because we chatted for about an hour about this and that – including fabric and colors.

He said it would take about three weeks, because he had been really busy. He got my information, I paid for the fabric I chose, and left the chair with him.

That was two months ago. After numerous unanswered phone calls, last week I drove to the shop. When I said I had called a few times, his answer confounded me: “Oh, I never answer that thing!”

Another case in point: We called a handyman who had been recommended by a friend. “He’s great,” she said.

The guy showed up, walked with us through the house, says yes to a few small repairs and a room’s worth of sheetrock patching and painting.

Oh, but he can only work in the afternoons, after getting off from his real job. No worries. We’re flexible.

Without detailing the entire three weeks of hit and miss scheduling, suffice it to say he showed up about half the times he said he would. Twice, we had changed plans so we could be home, but he was a no-show.

To his credit, he gave us a fair price and he did finish the job and it looks great!

We all are busy. Some of us, apparently, are busier than we’ve ever been. I get it.

But maybe it’s time to take a breath, relax, let go of the tensions, and be neighborly again. I’m all for second chances.

I just hope my chair will be finished by Christmas. It’s going in my new home office that took three weeks to get painted.