Monday, 13 July 2009

Things that make you go grr

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

It's that kind of Monday. Nothing awful has happened; there was no life-shattering event over the weekend. (I smoked a bit too much and tried to work out exactly what we were trying to do in Afghanistan.) There is even a bit of tentative sunshine. But still, I am in the class A Monday dumps, that kind of teenage yeah yeah blah blah whatever everyone can just fuck off mood that sometimes comes along and grabs you even when you are over forty and thought you were done with all that.

I generally don't hold with moods. Come along, I say to myself, in my best Mary Poppins voice; you are not living in Chad. Spit spot. But we can't all be little miss sunshine every day, and so I thought I would indulge my inner grumpy old woman and make a grumpy old list of the things that really annoy me. And then you can post your own lists on the comments section and all the bile will be out and tomorrow will be butterflies and bluebells.

So here is my list of things that really piss me off:

Things that don't work.
There was the crisis with the computer of course, but that was mostly my fault for pouring a glass of water over the keyboard, revealing to me that I could not live life without the use of the L key. But my new mobile telephone, which I have treated well, has died on me for no reason, and all my telephone numbers are trapped inside, and everyone is furious because they think I am avoiding them when in fact I have a broken telephone and until I go all the way into Aberdeen and get a new handset there is not much I can do about it. Sometimes, after a big storm, the internet does not work either. I have an enduring fear that someone will just come along and break the internet, and then where will we all be? These things drive me mad not just because something which should work is not working, but because it makes me realise how dependent I have become on technology. I lived for twenty one years perfectly happily without an internet or a mobile telephone. Now I seem incapable of surviving for ten minutes without them and I fear that reveals a tragic character flaw.

The people who stole the word 'disinterested'. It no longer means that you may observe a situation neutrally because you have no horse in the race; it means uninterested. I mourn its loss and if I ever find the felons who looted it they shall rue the day.

The expression 'pan-fried'. What the hell else are you going to fry something in?

My secret solitaire addiction. And that's all I am going to say about that.

Restaurants that serve disgusting food. Amazingly, they still exist. It is actually quite hard to make something taste really nasty; it's almost as much effort as making something taste good. An awful lot of effort is still being given to churning out very nasty dishes.

Ugly fashion. When I am told that this season I MUST HAVE a cobalt blue jumpsuit, I want to punch someone in the nose. And while I'm on the subject, which fashionista decided that Chloe Sevigny was the high priestess of cool? I have never seen her wear an outfit that I like. Don't even get me started on Stella McCartney.

People who ring me up and ask if I would like to have my doors and windows replaced at no cost to myself.

The use of the word like to indicate I said/thought/did. I'm like STOP IT NOW.

Pious people on the wireless who insist that disapproving of homosexuality is a 'matter of conscience'. Bigotry is bigotry, however many fancy clothes you dress it up in.

Dick Cheney.

My hopeless habit of leaving something on the stove, going away to do something else, losing track of time, and then sniffing a terrible burning smell coming from the kitchen and rushing in to find that my heavenly ratatouille is now a charred suppurating mess stuck to the bottom of my favourite pan, which will never be the same again no matter how hard I scrub it.

Pilling. And moths. Half my cherished cashmere cardigans are covered in little bobbles and tiny holes; I look at them and want to cry.

Huge conglomerates who hire actresses to put their names on absolutely disgusting scents, which are then sold at forty quid a bottle. There are about ten truly great scents in the world, and there is no need to waste time and resources on hideous new synthetic ones just because they say J-Lo on them.

The slow death of British pig-farming. (Buy British; save the pigs!)

Ready meals.

The fact that the battle for Helmand Province might never be won, and even if it is, at enormous cost in blood and treasure, it may not make very much difference to anything.

The term 'anti-ageing', especially when applied to cosmetic creams. Who decided that getting older was a crime?

The misuse of the apostrophe.

Grumpy old women like me banging on about all the things that make them grumpy.

Ah, better now. I hand the field over to you.


  1. I found myself reading that post and nodding along. Great.

  2. I couldn't agree more, especially re Chloe whats-her-name, that one shouldn't wind me up more than the others you mentioned, but it does, because I am shallow!

  3. Oh, I'm definitely there with you about the apostrophe. It's getting to the point where I am the ONLY one to talk about a decade without slapping one in there for no particular rhyme or reason.

    Other pet peeves of mine include:

    * Wandering accordion players on the Athens Metro that blast badly played renditions of certain "all time favourites" in your ear as you peacefully read on the train on your way to work.

    * The expressions "know wha' ah mean?" "Awright babes?" and the sprinkling of "Right?" between every sentence in a conversation.

    * Text talk.

    * The fact that I have to apologise for knowing some things if I want to avoid accusations of intellectual snobbery.

    * Dumbing down (see above - since when was using your brain deemed a crime?).

    * Silly yappy dogs - especially when topiary-shaved and tied up with bows. (Love medium and big dogs through).

    * People who, when meeting someone with a disability or physical problem, focus on the the "defect" and forget to connect with the person behind it. Being handicapped or ill does not make you an idiot, sub-human or unaware that you;re being patronised.

    * The fact that some people have already judged before they even have a chance to meet me.

    * Tinned mushrooms - otherwise known as 'dead slugs'.

    * Mercedes drivers, specially male and middle-aged ones (that may only apply here).

    * T-shirts with brand names emblazoned all over them.

    * Talking to someone on the phone only to hear someone in the background shouting out what the person I am talking to should say.

    There's plenty more.... but I daren't go on. I may never stop!

  4. Completely concur.
    I'm right in the middle of a terrible fit of Scandi-gloom: there's a rash of it - The Waffle and I were swapping Hemlocktini's and Nightshade cocktail biscuits all morning, and having taken a tiny peek at Twitter, I see I'm not alone.
    I'm afraid my gloominess is entirely without portfolio. I'd like to be able to identify its causes, but it's just Black Dog. Could probably be cajoled out of it with a Bach cantata or two, but I'm at work, so someone is playing Heart FM. Truly, I am in a hell so specialised, even Dante couldn't find a circle for it.
    I'll be fine tomorrow. It's probably just a case of the Boomtown Rats.
    Off to see A Doll's House this evening. Should be feeling extremely excited about it. Instead I'm worrying that I've brought the wrong credit card with me and they won't relinquish the tickets, and dwelling on the bad reviews.
    It all starts with the long dark teatime of the soul.

  5. I described Miss Sevigny & her ilk on LLG:
    "The kind of hmm, ironic clothing that style commentators admire on Chloe Sevigny but actually just makes you look like your house burnt down & you had to get a last minute outfit from Cancer Research whilst your eyes were still blinded by the smoke"

    With you every step of they way on that list.

    I am not happy either BTW xx

  6. I can give you my list if you like, but not now, I need to pass on something that may well change your life. Coca Cola! when you have burnt the bottom of a pan, put in enough coke to cover the pan well and boil it up for about 5 or 6 mins, then scrub and repeat as necessary, if removes ALL the burn, and it miraculous! :-)

    More later

    Julia XX

  7. Oh that cheered me up no end!

    Love your list of grumps, can certainly relate to some of them!

  8. Oooh great idea (and am taking back the coke tip - Thanks Julia B).
    * The apostrophe (see - we're not grumpy old women, merely literate)

    *The fact TFL have seen fit to move the busy no.52 bus to a different stop, thus adding to the baying mob trying to board 9 different buses in one location. Raah!

    *All battery farming - chicken, pigs, the dairy cattle/bulls problem - eat more rose veal.

    *Unpunctuality - or at least the courtesy to phone if you're going to be late.

    *While on phones - why do mobiles self-destruct after precisely 13 months?

    *Photoshop elements corrupting and crashing about twice a day on average

    *Untidiness - really is it so difficult to take your mug back into the kitchen?

    *The fact that I can't wear anything pristine white for more than 5 minutes without it attracting either some virulent stain or general grubbiness. And I don't have children - I should be old enough to wear a white t-shirt all day.

    * Short-sightedness over the destruction of the rainforests and everything tree-related. How - How - are we to have clean breathable air in 50 years time?

    * Sacha Baron Cohen - is he funny?

    I could go on but I have a million and one badges to make for CherryAid this weekend...

  9. Before I go on with my spiel, I just wanted to say that you were spot on with your "grumpy" entry. It really fit the Monday bill. But, I must confess I am guilty of one of your pet peeves. As a writer this is humiliating--I am a failure at the apostrophe. YES! My grammar is not what it should be. OKAY. With that out of the bag, here goes:

    1. Clothing that you need to wear a bra with, but is backless so you can't wear one!
    2. Tattoo on the breast area!
    3. People who write in library books.
    4. Uriah Heep in David Copperfield.
    5. Men with 1 long fingernail (usually the pinkie).
    6. The bog lady at St. James Park (Oh, you know who you are madame!).
    7. Deptford, Peckham, Lewisham, New Cross...basically The Old Kent Road (sorry, I've had a really bad stint there).
    8. People who say "Axed" instead of "Asked."
    9. The Piccadilly Line at rush hour.
    10. Denim boots.
    11. Girls who wear jeans that give them muffin tops and then wear a crop t-shirt that says a slogan like "sexy" in glitter.
    12. When I lived in London during the reign of Bush, asking me how I felt to have a murderer for a President (look, I didn't like the guy but I am not political and this would happen at cocktail parties and at work...not a great chat up line).
    13. How expensive Topshop has gotten.
    14. Market stall sellers trying to screw me out of prices due to my accent and then sending my partner to the same bloke and him getting the damn thing for half the price.
    15. Tea in America (the water is different).
    16. That a painting that is just a red canvas with nothing else on it sells for 2 million dollars.
    17. The English Patient (I know, leave the hate mail for later).
    18. Tapered jeans.
    19. Agyness Deyn.
    20. OK....I have to stop....this is too addictive...and very cathartic. I will stop for now...but I might post later and save on therapy bills.

    Excellent idea Tania. Excellent. Bravo!



  10. Thank you so much for all your great comments. Too much in a rush now to reply to all individually, which is what I usually try to do, so please forgive (too awful if that is one of yr pet peeves). Love all the lists of gripes, it was just what I wanted. Also, very pleased to know I am not alone. x

  11. I've come to this rather late, as has my bad mood, due to hamster wheel I seem to be on.
    Great list, and am far too familiar with destroyed dinner scenario, strangely reassuring it's not just me.
    Things not working too. Am without oven and a glut of plums. How do I sterilise my jam jars with no microwave?
    Boiler on blink too. Heating has to go on to get hot water.
    Both have been 'mended' at great expense in the past two months. Why can't they get it right first time?
    Why were they right when they said time speeds up the older you get? Too much to do, too little time, and it makes me cross.
    Chipped crockery. I bet any woman living with a man and no dish washer knows what I am talking about.
    Buses that have the heating on in summer and leave you convinced you have swine flu after a 10 minute journey.
    Shoe shops that only go up to size 7. And sandles actually in a size 8 that are so wide my foot slips all the way through.

    Very cathartic, I feel much better now!

  12. ps It's the oven that is broken, I don't own, and never will own, a microwave, but that's what my dear mother uses for sterilising her jam jars.
    And I burn't the bacon this morning whilst looking at twitter....

  13. Oh yes. Particularly on the moths.

    PS I have absolutely no idea who Chloe Sevigny is!


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