Generalised Motion Rage. Yeah, that’s right. I don’t drive, so I don’t have any claim to road rage, except a) as a passenger on behalf of my driver and usually with my driver (is it wrong how much I enjoy bitching to whoever’s driving me about whoever else is on the road? I guess this is why this post it called ‘Bad Habits’. I somehow love it when whoever is driving me has cause to beep someone else (which makes me sound like a three-yaer-old, but it’s far more malicious than that), and I can bray, ‘what a BARstard’ in my most hideous plum-posh Hampshire.
Then there’s bus journeys. How dare someone have the temerity to sit beside me when there are free seats elsewhere? Sometimes I’m perfectly happy about it – I think the worst thing about this bad ‘habit’ is its unpredictability. Sometimes I feel all good and kind for letting some sweet old lady share my seat on the bus. Sometimes I want to push said sweet old lady away and steal her plastic rainhood thing and then proceed to prod her viciously with her own umbrella. I feel guilty just writing it. If you’re not a sweet old lady or pregnant, be warned, I will hate you.
I hate bus drivers because apparently the job description actually states that they must spend as much time as possible making their passengers feel stupid, ungrateful, or completely wrong-footed. Don’t get me started on the tediously petty thing they do where they can see you arrive at the bus stop, but they’ve just started shutting their doors, so no way are they opening them now, oh no.
I also feel like non-earphone-wearing types are judging me for being all yoof-of-today and listening to my music on the bus, and I want to say to everyone (this time in best BBC posh), ‘oh no, it’s alright, it’s Beethoven’ (‘air nair, it’s alrate, it’s Bate-oh-fen’) whilst giving my best Tatler smile. And conversely I’m convinced you’re judging me for bringing my cello on my bus. Not because it’s a cello, but because I either have to stand with it on my back for the whole journey, or sit down and clutch onto it for dear life so that it doesn’t fall over, and either way my coat will fall off my shoulders, ditto my handbag, and because I’m so desperately trying to either support the cello or stay upright so it doesn’t get knocked, I can’t do anything about the whole disarrayed-clothing situation, and eventually we get to wherever-it-is and I stumble off the bus, clothes and bag all over the place, looking hopelessly deranged.
As a pedestrian, I Secretly Want To Punch Slow-Walking People In The Back Of The Head. Thank you, facebook. I hate drivers because they’re always driving where I want to walk (at least when I want to cross the road) and always seem to be cross with me (probably because I just hope for the best and assume that they’ll stop driving and not kill me). If I was in the car, I’d be sitting there going ‘you BARstard’ as previously described, but clearly it’s me we’re talking about and so I, as pedestrian, am in the right, yes? Also, real drivers, do you do that thing where you deliberately drive through puddles near pedestrians? Not funny. Stop it now.
All of the above probably makes some kind of sense on some level. I’m trying to get somewhere on time and alive and hopefully feeling even vaguely rested by the whole experience, and people who get in the way of that are annoying. OK, perhaps it’s not taht rational. But compared to Lane Rage…
…what’s that? You may well ask. I go swimming quite regularly – I did fifty lengths on Sunday which, if you’re interested, is 1.6km. Anyway. I started off in the Slow/Free Swimming lane, but what I hate about that is the dodging and weaving you have to do to get out of the way of other less capable swimmers. Even worse, the awkwardness of accidentally groping someone, or, as I did on Sunday, kicking someone’s child in the head. So you’re yawing around all over the place and everyone hates everyone else. So I moved into the medium lane.
This was a complete misnomer. At least two people in it were swimming slower than the six-year-old lad with the sharks fin float strapped to his back in the Slow lane (yeah, that’s right, the one I kicked in the head). But they’re Serious Swimmers Doing Lengths, doncha know. I always assume I’ll be one of the slower swimmers in Medium but I gamely join the lane anyway and actually no, I’m not. I’m stuck behind this girl, a sweet, doe-eyed type, and I’m thinking ‘good on her’ because it’s clearly hard work for her, her technique isn’t great, her head’s dipping in and out of the water, it’s a slow, long struggle. And I assume that she’ll do what I would, when she gets to the end of the lane, namely, check how much of a tailback she’s got and let me and whoever else is behind me to overtake her. (I don’t necessarily do this because I’m nice, you understand, more because I’m embarrassed and I don’t want anyone to laugh at me for being slow, and if I’m at the back maybe they won’t notice). And she does, and I begin to regain faith in humanity. So, tra la la, later on I’m stuck behind this bloke who is getting really competitive about it, deliberately blocking anyone from overtaking by swimming practically down the middle of the lane, and instead of a nonchalant shrug-and-keep-going thing – not letting me overtake merely because he’s in his own little world and doesn’t realise how annoying I’m finding him, which I could just about deal with, he’s absolutely not going to let anybody get in front of him or let anyone through at either end of the pool. So I hate him. And having got in the hating mood, I hate them all: the man in the next lane who insists on doing Butterfly whilst I’m doing backstroke, so I end up nearly drowning with my face above the surface; the two gossiping girls who do a length every ten minutes and in between get in the way at the end of the pool, Having A Nice Time (how dare they), the skinny sporty types, anyone who can do front crawl and not feel like a seal in a seal-hunt, but mainly this incompetent bloke who can’t swim, but can’t let himself be beaten by a woman either.
Perhaps the answer is that I should just stay here, try not to purposefully travel in any direction, and then I will always be happy… Meanwhile, I have chocolates to eat. Perhaps I should just constantly eat chocolate whenever I’m travelling to keep me distracted and calm.
Chocolate is another bad habit.