Anybody who has spent more than five minutes in my company – whether in person or digitally – has probably noticed that alongside my great appreciation of puns, sweets, and Brian Blessed, I am also a great believer in the therapeutic merits of a good moaning rant.
I commented recently that I was born middle-aged and I’ve been promoted quickly towards the rank of Grumpy Old Man by just my early thirties. There are various things which confirm this march towards misanthropic curmudgeonhood, but the one that I’ve become most acutely aware of over the past few weeks has been the ever increasing number of things I encounter which just annoy the bejesusing cripes out of me without any apparent reason.
I’m not talking here about things which it is perfectly justified to be annoyed by such as illegal wars, government corruption, homeopathy, people who walk too slowly, or David Cameron. Any sensible person could expect to get worked up by any of these.
Neither am I talking her about things which I just dislike, such as liver. I don’t enjoy eating liver (unless it’s in pate form, in which case: get in my belly) but the thought of liver doesn’t make me frustrated
What I mean are those little, trivial things which to most people go entirely unnnoticed but which for reasons unknown get me riled up good and proper, to the point that I’m effing and jeffing under my breath and in clear and present need of a strong cup of tea and a biscuit before I consider hammering the backs of my own hands in suppressed rage.
As so it was that a few weeks ago I decided to start jotting down on a list every time I encountered or thought of something that triggered that ‘Ack!’ reaction in me:
- People calling Jim Beam ‘Jim Bean’. Grrr.
- The unavailability of Fruit Gums in New Zealand. Grrr.
- That bit in the subtitles on the DVD of the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring which claim Bilbo says ‘Wonder at the powers of Mirkwood’ when he actually says ‘Wander the paths of Mirkwood’. Grrr.
- Sinks with separate hot and cold taps. WHAT! WHY? (also: sinks with teeny, tiny taps that only extend one centimetre over the basin.) Grrr.
- The claims that Just For Men dye ‘targets only the grey’. That’s just a big pile of stinking fibs – it targets all the hair, but it only shows up on the grey, and if you claim otherwise you are the son of a silly person. Grrr.
- David Cameron’s forehead. Now I know I said above that it’s perfectly normal to think that David Cameron as a whole is annoying. No-one would believe you if you claimed you thought otherwise. But there’s something about his big, pink, too-glossy forehead that makes me want to slap it very hard. Grrr.
- Double-spaces after a full stop. Like that one back there. STOP IT! It just looks wrong. Some people claim it makes sentences easier to read. It just makes my eyes want to vomit. Grrr.
- The expression ‘cheap at half the price’ when used to mean something is good value. That makes no sense. Saying something is cheap at half of its retail price doesn’t give any useful information about whether it’s good value at its retail price. Surely it should be ‘cheap at twice the price’. Grrr.
- Non-standard date formats, especially the inpenetrably stupid US system. Month. Day. Year. What? WHAT? If dates Yoda invented, like this formatted they be would. Grrr.
- Lionel Blair. I’m not suggesting for a moment that he’s the type who staple kittens’ paws to the table-top and then prods them with grissini bread sticks until they’re reduced to fluffy balls of mewling tears (he’s not David Cameron, after all), but his very wrinkly faced, croaky voiced being gets on my grumpy old moobs. It’s nothing personal. I’m sure he’s a lovely man, and I mean him no ill will or offence. Nevertheless, grrr. Grrr squared.
That’s ten. I could go on but I think I should save those for another day.
I will allow myself one more observation though: what annoys me more than any of those things I’ve listed above is the fact that the types of things I’ve listed above annoy me.
Despite appearances though, I’m not a grumpy sod all the time. I’m pretty happy and healthy and in truth I have very little of substance to complain about.
I’ve often heard people pay others the compliment of being someone ‘who you never hear complaining’. As much as that’s an admirable trait to have, it’s not true of me and I don’t think I’d like it to be. It’s just in my nature to want to have a whinge about something, which is why, in the absence of any real gripes, the vacuum of my frustration is filled with the types of trivialities to which I shouldn’t pay any heed.
There are certainly times when I think I need to put down the coffee and step outside to take a walk and see the bigger picture. But then I know I’ll get stuck behind someone who’s walking slowly and I want to punch them in the back of the head.
But you know what? I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to get frustrated. I think it’s quite healthy to express a bit of angst and ire from time to time. It’s certainly much better than bottling it up for months.
And the other thing I’ve realised is that if something is annoying me, it’ll either be something irrational like I’ve listed above, in which case I don’t worry about it, or it’ll be something that frustrates me for a good reason, which serves are a reminder that there are things in life that I care about.
If I ever reach the stage where I realise I’ve stopped caring about things, that’ll annoy the hell out of me.
Anyway, it feels good to get that all that off my chest.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go and rescue some kittens from David Dishface and his Forehead of Doom. Grrr.