In Defence of Curmudgeonry

The diversity of human nature means that different people unaccountably have different likes and dislikes. Apart from the kinds of thing that most people abhor, town dumps, traffic jams, louts making a nuisance of themselves on the street, my three most unfavourite things in the world are, 40 watt bulbs, wire coat hangers and tights. Now you may think that these are trivial things upon which to hold an opinion, and why should I allow them to annoy me. The fact of the matter is that I have every right to be annoyed by them.

Most people are not in the slightest irritated or annoyed by these three items. Some people might not like one of them and not the others but I am annoyed by all three. Things that irritate and annoy other people may not even come under my notice. All of this confirms the problem of the diversity in human nature.

Why do, barmen, waiters and the like assume that everybody likes ice in their drinks or like their drinks from the fridge, and as for people who put ice in Irish whiskey! Some people like their water straight from the tap or their beer off the shelf. When they ask for these they are made to feel a damned nuisance. Barmen and waiters have no right to assume that everybody likes ice in their drinks or want them from the fridge, and as for people who put ice in Irish whiskey!

In a high proportion of public places, hotels, restaurants or even shops these days there is compulsory music. You have no option but to be assaulted by it. What’s wrong with silence? Nothing, but we’re forced to put up with non-stop canned music.

A friend to whom I sent an e-mail recently did not reply. I met her about three weeks later and asked her if she had received it.
‘When did you send it ?’
‘About three weeks ago’
‘I check my e-mails only every five or six weeks. If you send me an e-mail send me a text to say that you’ve sent me an e-mail.’ Get off the bus!

Friends I hadn’t been in touch with for years recently asked me to find out some information for them. I went to some trouble on their behalf and was glad to do it. I phoned and left a message with the information they wanted on their answer machine. Five or six weeks later they phoned to know if I had been able to help.
‘I left a message on your answer machine.’ I said.
‘Oh, we seldom check the answer machine’ was the response. Get off the bus again!

As for junk mail, television ads, taxi drivers that talk to you ……one could go on for ever. If there weren’t curmudgeons around to protest at all these dreadful things, people would labour under the illusion that in a civilised society they were perfectly acceptable. They bloodywell are not.

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