You’ve all seen the TV programme and I thought it was my turn to make a few suggestions as to what should be shoved into the room where your worst fears come true. Mostly people, some things. In the case of people if they’re not actually put into Room 101, then as a more friendly alternative, perhaps placed into a cannon and shot out to sea. Okay, there should be a net to catch them and a rescue team waiting, but they don’t have to know that.
Difficult to know what to call this category. There is a particular type of person who seems to have either proliferated in the last few years, or at least become a lot louder. Or maybe they’re just following me around pushing my blood pressure up. The notion that “you’re worth it” at the price of anything or anyone else. The sort of person who stands at the bar with their money or card twitching to try and show the staff that they’ve got lots of money so they should be served first. People who ask for a service, get that service at the agreed price and then complain, just because they didn’t want to pay for that service in the first place. People who are rude to waiting staff. Or in fact anyone that they perceive as inferior to them. The person at work who demands special treatment or tries to get that little bit more than everyone else for no discernible reason other than they think they’re special. We’ve all known plenty of people like this. I think we can charitably describe them as not team players. I met one, or rather was subjected to one, yesterday.
I popped into town to do a few jobs and before I returned to my car, I went to the machine to pay for my parking. As I had finished punching my number plate into the screen and got my card out, a voice piped up: “Are you paying with cash?” I didn’t quite register the first time that this was being addressed to me and I turned to them thinking that they needed change until this woman repeated in what can only be described as a pissed-off and clipped tone: “Are you paying with cash?” I said that I wasn’t planning to and she announced more aggressively that if I wasn’t paying by cash she’d have to go to the other machine as she “only had two minutes”. And off she stomped. I scanned my card and when I left, she was still trying to pay for her parking, presumably with cash.
As I watched her in my rear view mirror, I wondered why her poor time management had become my problem. If she had said to me: “Excuse me, would you mind if I go in front of you as I am a bit pushed for time?” I would have happily stepped aside. As it was, I got there before her and I initially thought she was struggling for change. I was on the point of having a look in my purse for change when it became apparent that she was irritated that someone was at the machine. At that point, and I admit that I need to work on this, hell would have frozen over before I would have moved out of the way. And then I would have fought her on the ice. I presume she is one of those people who thinks everyone should step aside and make way for her, because, because…..er….well, just because.
People with this attitude are the reason why signs have appeared in shops and other places where the public are allowed, warning people that they won’t tolerate abuse of the staff.
People who park in disabled spaces
I bet we could all do a raft of examples about driving and parking generally. So I have settled on this one. I take one of my children to karate each Saturday. It is in a church hall. There is a small car park for the church but a large (free) public car park just across the road from the church car park. For an able-bodied person it is a quick and easy nip across the road to the hall. For a disabled person, I expect it would present a number of difficulties that they would be much better placed to explain than me, but should not need to as there is a a much more commodious space.
Every week I observe people who are not disabled park in that space whilst they wait for their children to finish their lesson. I presume that they think that because they are there “just for a minute” that will not be of any inconvenience. Of course, the first person leaves, I observe the next person come and take that space “just for a minute”. You can already see where I am going with this. So either they are too stupid to apply the same line of thinking, or rather worse, they don’t care. Which neatly leads me onto my next candidate.
The Conservative Party
This was actually the first suggestion of Man of the House when I said that I was thinking of writing this piece. I think it important to be clear here that I mean The Conservative Party that came to power with the Head of Partygate, and remain there now, regardless of whoever currently pretends to lead them. Now as Room 101 is meant to be the place that subjects you to what you fear the most, I would welcome all suggestions as to what is in Room 101 for the Tories. And I think if we go for the cannon option because they simply cannot sit in a room with a functioning health system and where everyone is paid a living wage, then for certain members, we should not have a rescue boat waiting. For them, I suggest a leaky dingy and a water cannon greets them instead. Then we can see how they like it. Probably better that I don’t get started. I’ll leave it with you.
Cryptic or attention-seeking social media posts
On the other side of the coin from Mrs “Are You Paying With Cash?” is the dreaded passive aggressive cryptic social media post. Someone desperate to tell it like it is, but daren’t so they publicly sulk in the hope of being asked what it is that is upsetting them first. I appreciate that social media is stuffed full of people screaming for attention, all in different ways. However, if it is something important rather than you want the social media equivalent of a stage so you can have the audience fawn and applause (or throw rotten fruit if the obscene number of trolls is anything to go by), when you go for The Big Reveal then please discuss privately with one or two close friends and see if that helps instead. Otherwise, into the cannon with you.
Peel here/Resealable packet manufacturers
If the absurd claims are to be believed then these packets make it easier to keep your cheese/ham/whatever it is fresh and save on plastic use. Presumably in their marketing meetings, the manufacturers delude themselves that their customers grab the corner of the packet in a culinary reverie, effortlessly pull the plastic apart – et voila! You take what you want, re-seal the packet and return it to the fridge. What could be easier? Pretty much anything, including separating a bin bag, What actually happens is you wrestle the corner with the same tenacity as when you’re trying to find the end of the sellotape. Eventually you establish that it is physically impossible to separate the two pieces of plastic, let alone pull them apart. You then grab a pair of scissors and try to separate the two bits of plastic that way. Nope. What you actually end up doing is stabbing a hole in the plastic with the scissors because it is so tightly sealed you can’t just cut the corner off and then pull it apart. All to get the wretched thing open. This leaves you to either put additional wrap over it, or having to take your food out of the entire wrapper and put it into Tupperware. For which you now need to locate the matching lid. The fun never begins.
This one was suggested by Diminutive Friend and I have to agree with her, What is the point of raisins? Or dried fruit generally, Raisins are a wine by-product as far as I can tell and not a good one. You take a perfectly lovely grape, which you could have eaten and enjoyed as it was. But no, you squash it, then you dry it and turn it into these repellent things. For the love of god, why? I would have put cheese in here as well, specifically cheddar cheese, but I think that might cause an uproar.
Children’s Television Presenters
I thought I had got away from this but since I started looking after my nephew one day a week, I confess that I do resort to the Electronic Babysitter sometimes. Oh my goodness what is wrong with these people? I thought that woman who played the mother on ‘Topsy and Tim’ was bad enough – absolutely nothing those little shits did would ever make her even so much as raise her voice. But now the presenters are taking whatever it was that she was on. I was horrified. They bounce onto the screen, gurn at the camera all tits and teeth….because everything is just so wonderful they just can’t stop smiling…….I ran for the remote because I thought that the baby might start crying it was all so frightening…….and just when you can’t believe your eyes, you can’t believe your ears either because then they start singing. But not crap “Pat-a-cake” singing like we do with children. No “Wind The Bobbin Up” here. This is competitive, “I’ve had singing lessons” singing. The “I-don’t-know-who’s-watching-so-I-ought-to-show-what-a-fabulous-voice-I’ve-got-and-certainly-better-than-(co-presenter’s) voice” singing. Oh my god. I’m surprised they don’t do jazz hands over each other’s faces as they inch closer and closer to the camera. Oh Floella, please show them how it’s done.
Obviously this could go on forever. But I think I had better stop here. Consider this piece a conversation starter. I would be most interested to hear your suggestions.