03 March 2013

Pet Hates

I've been writing this post, on and off, for a long time. So now it's got to be a bit of a long rant. And I'm going to subject you to it anyway. Well it's my blog, so there! Sorry!

Pet hates. Things which always irritate or annoy you, wherever, however and regardless of how well intentioned. They might be small things, or big things, but we all have them. Here are a few of mine ...

What Will the Neighbours Think? I don't give a flying ferret what the neighbours think. If they don't like what I do then too bad. I'm unlikely to be doing anything illegal. And if they think what I'm doing is immoral then it is clearly they who have the problem because I wouldn't be doing it if I thought it was. Remember Allen Walker Read: Obscenity lies not in words or things, but in attitudes that people have about words and things. Same for (im)morality, dislike, distaste and all this other dis-es.

Net Curtains. I have nothing to hide and nothing much worth nicking. I like light; indeed I need light to combat the SAD. And I like to be able to look out of the window. So we have no net curtains at home, neither do we normally draw the curtains after dark. And the first thing I do in an hotel room is to work out how to open the net curtains (and if possible open the window) and let in the light and the air.

Muzak. I detest background music: in shops, pubs, lifts — anywhere, even at home. It is pollution which clogs up brain-space to no useful effect. If I want to talk to someone I don't want to have to shout over muzak to make myself heard. And if I don't want to talk I want quiet to allow my brain to think and concentrate or just free-cycle and relax. If I want to listen to music I'll listen to what I choose, when I choose. But fortunately I can tune out a lot of muzak, as long as it isn't too loud.

Unnecessary formality. Formality, like etiquette, is bogus and unnecessary. I'm not a fan of ties, nor of jackets and even less of suits. I have never worn a DJ/tuxedo in my life and I'm not going to start now. And as for morning dress and top hats ... Bah! Humbug! I've always known people by their Christian (given) names and not as Mr Bloggs or Mrs Mopp, nor as Aunt or Uncle, unless the individuals themselves insisted. Let's be genuine and not hide behind false Dickensian obsequiousness. If I'm good enough, you take me as I am. If you don't care to then you're not good enough. Informality rules. Who was it said, Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.

Being expected to take part. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!! Run away fast! This was one of the banes of my working life. There were always work events that one was expected to go to. You all want to go out for Christmas lunch? Fine you go; if it is convenient I may come, but I'm not travelling 50 miles at my own expense to do so. I don't much want to socialise with the people I work with all day, even if I do like them. Don't we see enough of each other? No, I'm not going to the annual dinner/dance. Yeuch! And the more you expect me to the less likely I am to go. If I want to go, I'll go. If I don't, I won't. I'm my own person, not a company man and I always had a life outside work. And if management doesn't like it well too bad. I wonder why I was never seen as management material?

Lying. We are never, it seems, these days told the truth. Let alone the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Everyone tells us what they think we want to hear or how they would like it to be. Look at what goes on around you. Politicians lie to us. Advertisements lie to us. Businesses, all businesses, lie to us. Religion lies to us. Shopkeepers lie to us. Call it "distorting the truth" if you want to be mealy-mouthed about it, but basically it is all lies, PR and marketing. There is an increasing culture of lying. People lie to their insurance companies — either they don't tell them things, or they make what are basically fraudulent claims — and they'll admit it to you. "I said I was hurt in that crash to get some compensation, but I wasn't really" or "Oh I didn't bother declaring that to the tax man". Some cultures are worse than others; some have a basic tenet that they will tell you what they think you want to hear, regardless of whether it is true.

Bad Manners & Service. If you're going to work in a service industry, indeed if you're going to live in society, learn some customer care and to be polite to people. It isn't hard, but you do have to accept that everything isn't just about you! You are always going to have to tell people bad news. Be polite; say "I'm sorry"; and you will be forgiven a lot by most people most of the time. What annoys people is either being lied to (see above) or being told nothing. Yes, it is something you have to learn. It isn't easy to learn to say "I'm sorry; I screwed it up" but there are times you have to.

Older people get a bad rap for saying things badly or out of turn, when they should know better. Often they do know better but can't help themselves. Apparently what happens is that there is a control mechanism in the brain which stops us saying whatever stupid thing comes into our mind but rephrase it before it reaches our mouth. As we age this control mechanism breaks down and the words spill out before the control mechanism engages. It doesn't make it easier when you're on the receiving end, but at least it is medically recognised.

Speaking Lifts. Lift going up. B****r off! First floor. Doors opening. Yes, I can see the doors are opening! OK, OK, I know that it helps the visually impaired, but that doesn't mean it can't annoy me. The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation™ has a lot to answer for! Glad to be of service. Have a nice day. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!

People Who Don't Think. It is suggested (I think there's research behind it but I can't find the reference) that 5% of people are unable to think; 5% can think and do so; the other 90% can think and don't bother. The 90% cover their tracks by making assumptions. Dangerous. Very dangerous. Either that or they swallow whole the opinions they're spoon-fed, usually by the media, politicians or religion. This itself involves a big assumption: that these proponents are always right. Not only do people not think about what they (purportedly) believe, they can't even think about the possible consequences of their own actions.

I've lost count of the number of times I seen scaffolders lobbing scaffold clamps to each other, even dropping then to a mate 5 floors below, without hard hats. Surely someone of the meanest intelligence (and many scaffolders aren't) can see what damage a scaffold clamp dropped even 2 floors would do to their skull. But no. They can't — or won't — think about it.

OK, that's maybe a slightly extreme example, but this afflicts nearly everyone. If people thought about the consequences of what they say and do, they would behave a lot better. For a start they would drive a lot better; they wouldn't weave in and out of traffic, cutting up other motorists. They get enraged when others do it to them but cannot see what they themselves are doing.

People have no concept of putting themselves in someone else's shoes; or of considering the effects of what they say and do. Yes, we all do it; it's hard not to at times. I feel sure it's part of the spectrum of autism, albeit a long way from the full-blown syndrome.

People Who Assume I Think Like Them. Following on from the previous item, most people make the big assumption that, whatever we are discussing, I (indeed everyone) must think the same way they do. The trouble is, invariably I don't. I give them some novel twist on the subject. And the response? "Oh, I never thought about that" or "Do you really think so?" or "But that can't be right". In other words it doesn't accord with their blinkered world view. People have different outlooks on life; learn to live with it. And learn too that sometimes people wind you up with silly alternative views to make you think, shut you up or just for the hell of it!

There's one of our friends who will learn one day that if he is too inquisitive, or makes too much of an assumption, he gets a crazy answer from me. He dropped me the other day at my osteopath's. My osteopath is also my hypnotherapist. When he picked me up 2 hours later he assumed I had had 2 hours physiotherapy. I pointed out, wickedly, that he was making an assumption and that for all he knew I'd been shagging the guy's wife — or daughter — preferably his daughter. This scenario has been repeated several times, and he still hasn't learnt!

Rant over. Your turn!?

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