Monday 16 September 2019

John Masterson: 'Roll on my cloud life where I will not be troubled...'

Robin Williams: 'I would agree with you if you were right.' (Yui Mok/PA)
Robin Williams: 'I would agree with you if you were right.' (Yui Mok/PA)

John Masterson

My closest friends regularly tell me how intolerant I am. I don't pay attention to them. It is perfectly normal to get annoyed if people try to help out in the kitchen but (a) get in my way and (b) do not do it the way it should be done.

There are things that do annoy me. People who open car doors without looking drive me mad. I was walking down the High Street in Kilkenny yesterday when a car passenger opened the door without looking - I'm now sporting a nice bruise. As a biker, I keep an eye on car doors. As a walker, I forget. And did I give out? Was I rude? Not at all. I apologised as if it'd been my fault.

I do wonder if our dislikes/ hates say as much about our personality as our loves and likes. Here are a few of mine. I say just a few as the list is endless.

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I am not a fan of rudeness, and rudeness covers a multitude. It includes people who book a restaurant and think nothing of not turning up. People who blast their car horn as if they owned the road and for a reason that only they understand. People who allow their dogs to foul the pavement. Cigarettes. Tattoos. Anyone who litters, particularly people who are dumb enough to leave empty cans in beauty spots. If you can afford to drink, you can afford to dispose of litter. Do they not realise you can dispose of empty cans for free? They are a bit like those people who think nothing of blocking the street by parking where they shouldn't but it is OK because they will 'only be five minutes'. One small time for them. One long frustrating wait for mankind. Then there are slow drivers in the overtaking lane who seem to never look behind them.

I am very intolerant of bad language because I think bad language is wonderful and will only stay that way if it is used sparingly. There was a time when 'see you next Tuesday' could silence a room. Now there are no words left. Traffic reports on the radio annoy me because I am never in the place they are talking about and in any case Google Maps would tell me. And I am very intolerant of bad grammar, and that includes radio presenters who do not know the difference between criterion and criteria and the person who mispronounced 'rhetoric' the other day. I changed channel which may make me out to be a bit of a snob. That is ironic as I have no time whatsoever for snobbery and for people who approach life with a sense of entitlement.

And then there are people who insist on speaking English in France and just shout louder when the locals do not understand them.

By now you will have been making up your own list of dislikes, agreeing with some of mine and failing to understand others. We will agree to disagree. As Robin Williams said: 'I would agree with you if you were right.'

I think any psychologist would see me as a person who likes order in my life. A bit teachery perhaps. But I would reject any suggestion that there is a touch of control freak about me. I couldn't care less what other people do so long as they are not in my space or behaving badly in a public space.

There is probably a disturbingly middle-class feel about some of what I have written which is a bit difficult for my self-image as a faded hippie who believed in self-sufficiency once upon a time and was a self-proclaimed anarchist for most of my 20s. I am sorry. Books should stand up straight on shelves and CDs are easier to find if they are stored alphabetically. Roll on my cloud life where I will not be troubled by such trifles.

Reading back over this I quite like me even if you have your doubts. Or as an acquaintance put it, 'it is easy to understand why you live alone with a cat. And I don't think even the cat likes you.'

I never asked for a cat. She came to my door and asked to be taken in. It was only polite to feed her. But I wasn't looking for a relationship.

 

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