A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Grumpy Old Man

I try not to be negative on this blog, but sometimes you've just got to let it all out. Switching on one of the shopping channels by accident last night, I was driven to fury then to despair. Ingratiating salesgirls used every trick and lie and acting skill in the book as they tried to flog hideous £500 gemstone rings. And successfully too, by the look of it. I was suddenly overcome by all the things I find insufferable at the age of 60 (I turned 60 last month), and the list went on and on . . .

People knocking on your door or approaching you in the street with a false smile trying to sell you something, people having loud phone conversations in trains, people so busy with their smartphones they walk right into you, people fiddling with their smartphones when they're dining with you, people at nearby tables in restaurants not talking themselves but looking at you and listening to your own conversation (this only happens in England), people saying 'no worries', 'not a problem' and 'have a nice day' (sorry, this is an English, generational thing), people who expect you to pay for everything and don't offer their fair share, people who selfishly dominate conversations, people bragging about how much their house is worth, people boasting about how wonderful and perfect and successful their kids are, people who have beautiful, tooled-leather editions of Shakespeare and Dickens on their shelves but never read them, people who use dogs as fashion accessories, people wearing hardly any clothes in the middle of winter because they think they look good like that, people who have too many clothes and don't wear most of them, shopaholics, most restaurants, litter, the internal combustion engine, advertising, the commercialisation of Christmas, most pop music, 24-hour news, sport, soap operas, game shows, plum pudding, microwave meals, tea bags and instant coffee instead of the proper stuff, 95% of all supermarket bread, Twitter, the ubiquity of porn, most new movies, bargain airline travel, the Daily Mail, oven chips, fish and chips from 95% of fish and chip shops, sickly-sweet drinks, overpriced and undrinkable corner-shop wine, the excesses of capitalism, celebrity culture, a society which lets manipulators of the stock market and the exchange rate get away with dodgy if not illegal deals but puts a poverty-stricken young mother in jail for stealing, UKIP, blanket prejudice against minority groups in society, the insidious creep to the political right in England and parts of Europe, internet slander, gossip and rumour without proof or foundation . . .          

Could I be turning into an unbearable 'grumpy old man'?

Though, to end on a positive note, my list of likes and loves could stretch much further — real ale, French food, country churches, a full moon on a crisp winter night, a beechwood in autumn, reading in bed, a long walk, living as well and as economically as I can, roast chestnuts, Marmite, Mozart, Nastassja Kinski, romantic love etc. etc.

17 comments:

am said...

Excellent point. Our list of grievances, long as it may be, is finite. That which we can celebrate has no end.

May we always see the light surrounding us!


The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, beautifully said, Am!

The Weaver of Grass said...

As long as there are more goods than bads there is hope Robert.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, the glass is always half full rather than half empty, Pat. Always.

sackerson said...

Grumpy? Proustian, more like.

Re UKIP: I commend the cover of the latest Private Eye to your attention.

Insidious creep?? Where have you been? F****ng tidal wave if you ask me. :)

I have a soft spot for the internal combustion engine.

What about call centres ringing you up? dID YOU LEAVE THAT OUT OR DID i MISS IT? AND i DON'T LIKE CAPS LOCK KEYS EITHER.

The Solitary Walker said...

:) Nice grumpiness, Dominic!

Sabine said...

Oh dear. It is contageous. Add to your list the weather, esp. fog and grey wet days.
But otherwise, I'm with the chorusline at the end of The Life of Brian.

dritanje said...

Oh brilliant! You are very good at this and I DO mean it as praise!! Such a list makes me smile laugh even, so what is negative about that!! Bring it on that's what I say though...that may be a phrase you don't like... And meant to say too, that your poems in levure litteraire are so so good, one of them in the same style I think - so impressive when it seems you can't find any more words, you do. Why is this list so much more interesting than a list of things you do enjoy? Could be something a bit off kilter about me, but I'm going to celebrate that - and bias too which has been getting a bad press somewhere... maybe I should write something in the same vein but doubt I could do it so well..

donna baker said...

I do agree with many of the things on your list. I find it easier to point out the things I don't like than the ones that I do; I know it when I see it. I always say the glass is half, but then, who really cares anyway? am really did say it beautifully.

Jan said...

Oh Robert I love your grumpy list and agree with many, but not all, of it! You made me chuckle. I've been grumpy for many years now proving that you don't have to be an older person to be a grouch. Fancy making a similar couple of lists now.

The Solitary Walker said...

‘Bring it on’ is more than fine with me, Dritanje! I appreciate so much your comments on my poems in LL — this means a lot, coming from such a talented writer and fine sensibility as yourself. And I'm glad my lighter pieces made you smile!

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, Donna, the annoying things can loom larger than the happy things at times. It can just depend on our mood. Also it's sometimes more fun to do 'grumpy' rather than 'contented' — and it may raise a smile. A bit like how, in literature, the bad and evil guys are often more compelling than the saintly ones.

pilgrimpace said...

I always think the Collected Wit and Wisdom of Father Jack Hackett gives us healthy way of navigating these waters

Andy

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for visiting, Jan and Andy!

Teegee Hancock said...

+1 on beechwoods in autumn & kinski !

Ruth said...

I feel cleansed!

The Solitary Walker said...

Many thanks for these further comments, Teegee and Ruth!