The M-word – Men!

This all began with an exchange between my niece and I. Principally laughing at our respective menfolk. Well, I say laughing, more an hysterical-I’m-going-to-wedge-a-blunt-instrument-in-his-head kind of laughing.

Anyway, the question was then posed by my niece “should I admire women who’ve had the courage to say f*** this shit, I’m off! And are they any happier in the long run? And where do you draw the “f*** this shit I’m off line? Why is life so hard?” (technically this was four questions, but she was on a roll and who was I to stop her?)

And so I replied “it’s so pointless the things that really wind me up. Mostly, I’m left seething with resentment, raging against his apparent fuckwittedness, while said male is in his blissful little bubble of ‘man world’ happy and carefree, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I’ve developed pathological levels of anger towards him (which is also deeply annoying. He doesn’t even notice I’m mad as hell!!) I’m the one left feeling like crap. I’m the one having a sleepless night. I’m the one feeling sad and lonely. I’m the one wondering if this is all there is?

I have my own theory on ‘f*** this shit, I’m off to Narnia’ and that is we lurch from one unfulfilling and unhappy relationship to another, looking for the one male who isn’t pathologically irritating, only to discover it’s an urban myth. Like a unicorn, or none-fattening chocolate, and that we should have stuck with the first one and saved ourselves a heap of angst and money.

Why, oh why, is life so hard indeed? I keep being told ‘life’s not all Walt Disney” Well I disagree. In my world every day is Walt Disney, and anyone disagreeing can just f*** off to Warner Brothers!

The M-word Manners

Manners is a subject that falls straight into grumpy old woman territory so it’s guaranteed to see me resort to deep sarcasm and occasional snarling. My theory (of course I’ve got a theory) on the demise of manners is due to a combination of new money, time pressures, different cultures, and shifting values. Please humour me for a minute and I’ll do my best to explain.

New money – we live in an increasingly affluent society, and with this affluence comes a degree of arrogance. The only way I can describe the effects of having money, money that perhaps our parents didn’t have, is that it warps how people see themselves. Money appears to give people a sense of superiority, but it’s a false supremacy. A veneer. And it makes them behave in a deeply unpleasant way, especially to those considered to be less affluent, (generally retail assistants, waitresses, nurses, and basically anyone ‘in service’).

Time pressures – it’s a hackneyed phrase, ‘time poor, cash rich’ yet being busy is used to excuse the need for manners. This habit for everything to be done at breakneck speed seems to have no restraint, and one of the casualties appears to be ending an instruction or request, whether by email or in person, with a please or thank you. It’s almost as though it’s seen as a sign of weakness

Different cultures – now, before I get accused of xenophobia I must explain this view is based solely on my experience, and of discussing this with individuals whose different culture I’m referring to. It’s best summed up in an exchange I recently had “you British. Always with the please and thank you, please and thank you. Why not cut it out and just get on with it like we do”……perhaps it’s a little like the British need to begin sentences with ‘sorry’ ?…….

Shifting values – I was brought up by parents who insisted on good manners. For them it was an imperative, an indicator of style, character, and elegance. Good manners said more about you than your car, your house, or your clothes. It was far more subtle than that. It is my belief that good manners demonstrate a respect for one another, a valuing of our fellow beings. Ultimately it shows kindness.

And like dropping litter, bad manners isn’t something I’m prepared to overlook. I will call people out on it. Currently I use sarcasm to make my point. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it helps me feel better, and if it makes someone think for a minute then my work here is done ……

My list of the worst offenders on the manners scale are

  • Not saying please or thank you – I will say this out loud for you. And then I’ll glare
  • Not acknowledging when I’ve held open a door, let you out at a junction, or given way to you – I will say “you’re welcome….arsehole” (which is pointless in the car because they can’t hear me)
  • Not saying excuse me or sorry when you walk into me in public – karma will sort you out
  • Interrupting, me or others – DO NOT get me started!!
  • Not sending thank you notes, or an email, or even a text – you will get f*** all else from me

 

The M-word Mourning

 

Truly, I have little in the way of humour to offer you on the subject of mourning – it’s a shitty feeling, and doesn’t really have much going for it if I’m honest. I appreciate it sounds bizarre, but in so many ways I consider myself deeply fortunate to have reached my mid-50’s without experiencing the wretched feelings of loss, grief, and deep, overwhelming sadness. The sense of longing, of utter helplessness, and just desperate heartbreak is something I would happily avoid for the rest of my days.

However, the scars that remain are a testament to the love felt. And if the scar is deep, then so was the love. Eventually scars heal, and what remains is evidence that you were able to love, that you can heal, and that you can continue to live.

This is what I’ve discovered –

  • I’ve discovered how isolating the feelings of sorrow are
  • I’ve discovered the world doesn’t stop spinning just because your heart has been smashed and there’s a hole in your soul a mile wide
  • I’ve discovered feelings of absolute rage towards the injustice of lives that continue around you, while yours has crashed spectacularly and wiped you out
  • I’ve discovered the intense pain you experience through yearning for the impossible
  • I’ve discovered how differently we each experience grief
  • I’ve discovered it has to be got through, it CAN NOT be got around
  • I’ve discovered the snot-filled, tear-stained look is not one I can pull off with any great success
  • I’ve discovered how deeply insensitive people can be, particularly when they don’t know what to say
  • I’ve discovered the British are complete fuckwits when it comes to death
  • I’ve discovered many distant friends and colleagues have no idea of the difference between rest in peace and rest in piece
  • I’ve discovered I can laugh once more ……

The M-word Muppets ….on the road

No, I’m not talking about the delightful creations of Jim Henson, I’m talking about the incendiary behaviour of arseholes who appear not to give a shit about others, are just plain stupid, completely thoughtless, infuriatingly selfish, or so full of their own self-importance they leave you (read me, they leave me) foaming at the mouth and ranting like I’m possessed ………now, tell me again, why do I have high blood pressure???

As is my way, I’ve compiled my top 5 worst muppet behaviours –

  • Drivers who flout the ‘must not enter’ law of a box junction, in particular, when they do so knowing it blocks the road for other drivers. I’m convinced they see the highway code merely as a suggestion, as something they can choose to observe depending upon what sort of day they’ve had. The same applies to drivers who block exits on roundabouts, especially when they then don’t have the balls to look you in the eye as you’re screaming at them …….they’re the worse kind they are, fucking cowards
  • Drivers who hog the middle lane of the motorway, doing 60mph, all the while animatedly chatting away to their passenger, oblivious of other drivers. Same applies to drivers who overtake at the last second, believing that because they’ve indicated (at the last second) it makes it OK to drive like a complete knob-end
  • Drivers who park, blocking the road, thereby creating the highway equivalent of Russian roulette as you’re forced to pull around them. Same goes for those who park on the pavement, forcing pedestrians, wheelchairs users, pushchairs et al into the road
  • Drivers who speed through residential, built-up, or narrow country lanes. Clearly they drive at high speed believing they’re playing an Xbox game, or they’re on a scale sized Scalextric. Either way, I will them with all my heart to crash violently without involving any other person, creature, or tree
  • Drivers who don’t indicate. Drivers who fail to acknowledge when you’ve let them out out of a junction (they won’t ever let anyone out as they reckon it makes you weak and a complete loser). Drivers who overtake on bends. Drivers who overtake in the path of oncoming traffic. Drivers who are attempting to apply lipstick/mascara/eye drops/take clothing off/retrieving something from the passenger foot well/off the back seat. And finally, the total dickwads who use a mobile device

This list is by no means definitive, and it is subject to change depending upon what is currently pissing me off. Ultimately, this is about behaviour that directly endangers another person simply because the driver is a thoughtless wankstain. And, although there are laws against everything I’ve listed (or there ought to be) the law is pretty pointless unless it can be enforced.

If you believe in karma then we can only hope and pray with all our collective hearts that they will indeed get their comeuppance, that all of their teeth will fall out, except one, and in that one remaining tooth they have a deeply painful abscess (with no access to a dentist, just to make the curse worthwhile)  …….then my work here will be done.

The M-word Marriage

This blog is going to place me, justifiably, into cynical witch territory. I understand this, and yet feel unable to change my views. God knows, I’ve tried. Truly, I have. However, despite my best efforts I have yet to see anything to alter my view that marriage has little relevance to our lives today. For those who enjoy happy, fulfilling and loving marriages I’m sincerely blissed out for you; long may it be this way …… and before the pseudo shrinks start with the emotionally-scarred-poor-role-models-argument I can confirm the following –

  • My parents were happily married for over 65 years before passing away within 6 months of one another
  • My siblings enjoy happy, loving and (mostly) contented married lives, on average 20-30 years together
  • Many of my friends are happily married, and have been for a long time
  • I love fruit cake with fondant icing and Richard Curtis movies

What I dislike is the whole aspect of weddings and the notion of marriage. The foolish and obscene amounts of money spent for one day, the time and energy spent agonising over shite to create this one day, the not thinking through what marriage is really all about. There seems to be little reason or relevance to marriage in today’s world. Please, humour me out for a minute –

  • It used to be because a couple wanted to live together (without it being ‘in sin’ and so free from being doomed to hell) but millions of couples now live together, without so much as an eye being batted or a soul burning in eternal damnation
  • You got married because you wanted to have children. Well, it’s widely acknowledged that sex out of wedlock is now the norm, and marriage as a prerequisite to having children is positively quaint in some circles
  • It demonstrates a solid commitment to one another. Does it buffalo! If the relationship needs a circle of metal, a piece of officially sanctioned paper, and a posh frock before it can establish a firm commitment then it’s well and truly in the brown stuff
  • It makes our relationship official – officially what? I could take an ad in the paper announcing ‘we’re official’. I guess the only, and probably the smartest reason to making the relationship official would be for the tax and inheritance benefits, although this tends to benefit those in later life rather than young couples. Now, who said romance was dead?

I have yet to attend a wedding, especially of young couples, where I’m not overwhelmed with feelings of melancholy. So much so I feel compelled to leave early for a cup of tea and a lie down. It’s the heady combination of naïve expectation and a belief of happily-ever-after mixed with the unspoken certainty that there’s always divorce to fall back on when it all goes tits up.

At heart I’m an old romantic ….I want marriage for love not for economics. Yet, when it comes down to it I’m left with very little other than economics.…….bloody Walt Disney. One day my prince will come…….

The M-word Mobile phones

Much has been discussed in relation to our dependency on these slabs of glass and plastic, and I can’t imagine anything I’m about to say hasn’t already been said.

By and large I find my mobile to be an invaluable piece of technology, it’s lightweight, it’s very clever, it’s versatile, and from time-to-time it’s smarter than I am!

There was a time when we called them mobile ‘phones’, but as they’ve become way more than an apparatus for making a phone call while out and about, (without the need to enter a urine-filled oblong box spilling over with fag ends and condoms), we’re obliged to drop the phone bit. I remember being given one of the early mobiles, a bloody great thing with a battery pack that occupied most of the front seat in the car and weighed more than a small child. I thought it was remarkable. I could phone someone. From the car. Without leaving my seat. Cool.

That was 600 years ago.

Now they’re ‘smart phones’. Their world domination is complete. Our addiction is startling. The velocity of both, unprecedented. Even the most remote, emerging cultures have smart phones. The plugged-in lifestyle is global and it’s here to stay. If we’re being observed from another planet the belief that we’re totally reliant upon this piece of shiny plastic would be entirely justified. Few people can now walk in the street, sit on a train, eat a meal, go to a concert, visit the theatre, drive a car, go to bed, go to the toilet, leave the house, or spend time with other people without this small device.

It is needed to film, photograph, capture, communicate, check-in, check-out, chat up, connect, and influence our mood.

I find it alarming on occasions just how addicted people are, how utterly absorbed they are by the content, to the exclusion of environment, circumstance, or consideration of others. I have clattered into more people dawdling or stopping dead in front of me because of their absolute immersion in their virtual world. And then they glare at me like I’m the one who’s the cretin!

If I were queen for the day, the law I would introduce would have to centre around the use of these gadgets in a public place. I would make it totally acceptable to either kick the shins of someone flouting the law of ‘moronic mobile usage’, or else you could legitimately confiscate it in order to bring on the inevitable panic attack.

Harsh but deeply entertaining …..

The M-word – Magic Pixies

Who doesn’t love their magic pixies? You know the ones; they do all the boring shit. They cook, they clean, they repair stuff, they organise stuff, they write letters, they remember birthdays, they organise Christmas, in fact, they do pretty much every God damn thing you can think of!

What? You don’t have one? Oh, you must, they’re simply amazing……

But here’s the thing. You must NEVER, ever pay attention to anything they’ve done, or indeed, mention it if ever you do notice what they’ve done. You see, drawing attention to them by showing appreciation leaves them feeling ever so upset……SAID NO MAGIC PIXIE EVER!

Magic Pixies are especially dangerous when mixed with a volatile dose of hormones. My advice would be to invest time in studying your pixie in order to determine when said hormones are at their most unstable, and potentially lethal.

It is also worth noting there are magic pixie models out there who can demonstrate this volatility without a hormone ever being present. Generally, this is found in the more advanced models who have yet to be programmed to tolerate crap ……