I’ve spent many insane years doing the same things and expecting different results. Now I feel like I’ve exhausted my alternatives, so I’m doing several things differently, just to see. I’ve got to have new results in several areas, so I’m changing some things as a test, and some things I’m not gonna do ever again in life on general principles no matter the details.

I’m through answering telephone calls from “Unknown” or “Private Number.” A handful of times a “Private Number” or an “Unknown” has turned out to be somebody I wanted to talk to, but not lately and not enough for me to keep answering such calls. If they can’t reveal who they are, I don’t want to talk to them. Now when I get an anonymous call I ignore it and let the caller leave a message. You know what? They never do.

I’m almost through with manual transmissions. I’ve been driving mostly stick-shift cars since 1968. Yes, manual transmissions afford more control and a more intimate connection with the vehicle. I don’t care. I don’t need that much control anymore, and I find after much introspection and rumination and some other stuff I can’t tell you about that I no longer want to be intimate with a car. I’m tired of shifting. It’s my son’s turn to chunk those gears. I’m done.

And for some time I’ve been done trying, when required, to tell my wife what she wants to hear or nothing at all. I got that tactic from my father, for whom it was also a waste of time, but he didn’t know it or he didn’t care. He probably just wanted some peace and quiet and, since there wasn’t gonna be much quiet with my mother anyway, he settled for peace. So no more “yes, dear” for me. No, I’m not going to be right back, I’m not picking that up, I don’t want to see that movie, and I don’t want to talk right now. I was leery of saying “no” at first, not having much experience at it, and when I began to try it out, I was astonished at how easy it turned out to be. I think my wife was astonished, too, but she got over it, and I have a lot more leisure.

I was also alarmed at how often I found myself about to say “yes” out of habit when I was thinking “no,” even when my wife was nowhere around. That’s the problem with nice manners, which I dredge up when the occasion warrants it.

I’m also through with even, green lawns. They’re fine for other people, but there’s something about that monoculture, that segregation, that doesn’t set well with me. I like more variety in almost everything, but that seems to be changing, too, as I get more set in my ways, like old men do, knowing what I like and accepting it.

And I’m sick of burritos, too.