Thursday 18 July 2019

I've been neuro-linguistically re-programmed

Out There: How to cope with life in the emotional jungle

Have you heard of NLP? I have, in some detail. Hence I know that NLP is short for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Its proponents describe it as 'the science of modelling the patterns of human behaviour'. NLP, they say, is a powerful system of thinking that can accelerate the achievement of your personal and professional goals. Personally, I'd describe it as horse shit and about as far from science as I am from being the mother of Ryan Gosling's first-born.

The reason I know this, is because the man opposite me in a Soho boozer is telling me about NLP loudly. And as I am on a first date with him, I must listen. "Your body language is terrible", he shouts, grabbing the glass of red wine in my right hand and the white wine in my left and putting them on the ledge before twisting me towards him. I nervously face him while he explains his powers with language. I fidget awkwardly. 'Stop playing with your hair, it'll get greasy', he shouts.

I met this guy on the internet and as Forrest Gump once put it - life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Well Tinder too is like a box of chocolates, but every third chocolate is a small turd that just looks like chocolate.

'Let's go somewhere else', I suggest, marching towards my bus stop. At the next bar, I chat to a girl while he plays with his phone. She is interesting and funny, as is her friend. We all laugh about Tinder and then, as the World Cup semi-final is starting, I suggest we all watch it together. This makes my neuro-linguistic progammer mad. He pulls me aside and hisses 'what did you do that for? If they come and sit with us I'm leaving'. And so the girls, sensing the seismic atmospheric shift, sit at a separate table having fun while we watch the match in relative silence. Before the final whistle is even blown, I'm putting on my runners, getting ready to sprint. 'When are we going on a second date' he asks. 'Maybe next week?' I say. I'm lying of course, but his NLP skills seem to be failing and he can't tell.

Katy Harrington

Do they ever leave entirely?

He's still coming home with his washing all the time. My wonderful son, who moved out a few months ago that is. It's hitting me now more than ever when I hear the tumble-dryer going. He doesn't like his clothes after they've been on the line, poor little pet. I, on the other hand, try to save money by hanging stuff out in all weather.

"That'll be three euro" I quipped on one occasion.

"Funny" was the retort, "that's the exact same price I charge for putting up brackets for hanging baskets".

Now, when I think of all the nappies I changed and the vomit I cleaned up, I get a tad mad. I suppose realistically that could all come full circle. But in the meantime, I have a cunning plan. I have never been in his new abode. No invitations to dinner or anything like that. I did see photos and that's the way it's going to stay, I'd imagine.

The plan is to take his key while he's doing his washing and lounging on the couch and stick it in mala (plasticine to the uninitiated), get a key cut and let myself in. I'll be sitting there when he comes home from work in my dressing gown and slippers. Pizza boxes all around. And I'll grunt, "what's for dinner". He has a sense of humour so he will probably see the funny side but is guaranteed to get very vexed when I invite the 'girls' around for wine before we hit the town. And leave all the bottles and glasses on the table. Dirty ashtrays, crisp packets.

Then I'll come back very drunk and start bashing off furniture as I stumble upstairs and accuse him afterwards of moving things so as they are in my way. And then I'll get up the next morning (not sure where I'll sleep, it will have to be a couch I suppose) and go out and get myself a breakfast roll and throw myself on the couch and grunt for most of the day and if he asks me to do anything I'll tell him I'll do it tomorrow and raise my voice as I query why things have to be done immediately.

Let him see that two can procrastinate. And the following week I'll bring over my washing.

Eleanor Goggin

It's official, Space-Invaders are the weirdos

Having your gene puddle share your obsessions is not proof that they aren't odd. Sometimes it's hard to 
tell what's your own personal weirdness and  what is someone else's. I have a horror of the smell of frying that I share 
with/got from my mother and which I accept might be a localised weirdness. 
I also have a serious aversion to people standing too close to me. Lots 
of people dislike Space-Invaders, but then lots 
of people are Space-Invaders, so who is 
the weirdo?

A couple of years ago Girlette and I were in a long queue and the woman behind us kept standing so close that she would bump off my daughter. The Girlette was about eleven at the time, clearly a child if that matters. It was a perilously slow queue, naturally, and every time we inched forward the woman inched forward too.

There's a type of queuer who seems to think the queue will move faster if they keep inching forward. My daughter was giving me the eyeballs so, after about five failed attempts to shuffle out of reach I turned round and said, "Sorry, would you mind not standing so close." The Space-Invader was also with her daughter, older than mine, and they exchanged a glance that suggested I was a complete nutcase.

They've done research into personal space and not only do we definitely need this 'defensive peri-personal space', but we need a precise amount of between eight and 16 inches. People who come closer than that either need to snog you or back off.

If you're on a packed bus and necessity dictates proximity then, while we mightn't be comfortable, we aren't threatened. It's when people have the room to be further away and choose not to be that we perceive a threat. So it's official, Space-Invaders are the weirdos.

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