Some people actually chose to cast doubt on the veracity of the week before last’s editorial, in which I documented my encounter with a Tube Loonie — they didn’t seem to believe that such a mild-mannered citizen as myself could be so upfront. But it all happened as described (allowing for literary hyperbole); there are just some things which push my buttons and cause me to react in a way which can seem excessive to those who don’t share the particular dislike.
TC reader Mal Aitchison pointed me in the direction of page 576 on Ceefax — a corner of this usually staid and straight-laced medium given over to people ranting about the things that they hate. Entitled, “It Makes Me Mad”, it is populated by, in Mal’s words, “the largest collection of oddballs, fuckwits and psychos outside of Rampton”. And largely he is correct, with lists of things like “foreigners talking in their own language in front of you” and “modern underwear, because the elastic perishes, but you can’t replace it like you used to” — world hunger, the Kosovo crisis and the destruction of the rain forests don’t get a look in.
But there is something curiously infectious and cathartic about the process of compiling such a list. It defines your persona, and it is only by confronting your demons that you can control them. Thus, here are the things that make me go AAAAAAAAAARGGGGH!
- On public transport, people who put their bags on seats — see the aforementioned editorial. I make a deliberate policy of sitting next to these bastards, even if there are other empty seats.
- Car drivers who accelerate on zebra crossings. To get to Tulse Hill station, I’ve to use two of them, and barely a week goes by without some twat choosing not to stop — even though he’s got to stop ten yards up the road. If you time it right, you can clatter your bag into the side of their car with a most satisfactory thump… On at least one occasion, the driver in question has come screeching to a halt, before realising that the South Circular is perhaps not the best place to park.
- Johnnie Vaughn + Denise Van Outen. Those faux-flirty couples on daytime TV are bad enough, but these two REALLY piss me off, with their forced ad-libs, and a rapport as natural as margarine, just greasier. Vaughn’s “I’m so clever” attitude is utterly unbearable, making even Chris Evans seem like a choirboy. And how Van Outen makes it into so many of those “most fanciable women” lists beats me.
- People who choose not to queue. You’re in a shop; there’s two or three tills open, but people wait in one line for whichever becomes free. But there’s always some imbecile who ignores the large queue and decides to start their own.
- Supermarket customers who pay for a pint of milk with a credit card. This is self-explanatory. Just as bad are those who queue up, then decide to wander off and get some more items, leaving their basket behind them. Hey, do your shopping FIRST, huh?
- Pedestrians who insist on walking three abreast down busy pavements. Inevitably at the speed of an arthritic slug too.
- Closely related, in the “should be a capital offence” category, are those who stand on the left hand side of escalators.
- People with umbrellas. Especially those who have golf umbrellas large enough for a herd of elephants to shelter beneath.
There are a whole bunch more: Big Issue sellers, everyone over 65, politicians, feminists, anybody who thinks horse racing is interesting, the undeserving rich, the undeserving poor, cycle couriers, Cleo Laine, Carla Lane, anyone involved with the National Lottery TV show, and animal rights activists, all to varying extents deserving of extermination. On the one hand, I am a bitter, misanthropic person given to sweeping generalisations; on the other, all the above combined probably account for much less than a billion people, and the other five billion or so are fine by me. I’m sure they are cheered by the knowledge.
Readers are encouraged to try the above for themselves, and see just how satisfying it can be. Once you get started, it’s difficult to stop! Feel free to submit your lists to me as well: I’m sure I can sympathise with some of them. Or have a good laugh at least. As for me, having safely unburdened the above, I’m off for a pint…