Admit it. We all have days like this.
I try to be a nice person. I try to consider the feelings of others and I try to be kind towards people. But I'm part Mediterranean and I have a feisty side. There's a part of me that resembles a coiled spring (and no, I'm not just referring to my unmanageably curly hair), just waiting to burst forth into a gigantic rant. When that happens, it's not always a pretty sight. So, in order to prevent any poor, unfortunate souls from coming into contact with "Ranty Emma," I figured I'd provide regular readers to my blog with a helpful list of things that awaken the beast within. We all have days where everything winds us up and we all have our own little lists of things that niggle us, even though we often realise we're getting annoyed or upset over something pretty trivial. I know that sometimes, I should just count to ten and take Elsa's advice and just let it go. But sometimes, despite our best intentions, something silly will push us over the edge. With that little nugget of honesty in mind, here are six things that really get my goat...
1. Victim-blaming/homophobia/sexism/racism and all the other big "isms" in life.
You said it.
Let's get the most serious bit out of the way first, shall we? If you cut yourself, what colour do you bleed? Unless you're part android, or you've snuck here on a rocket from Mars, I'm going to assume that the answer to that question is "red."
Now, I'm not suggesting you go slicing into people of different races, genders or sexuality, but here's the thing: They bleed the same colour as you do.
Not only that, but they have hopes and dreams, just like you do. They have fears, just like you do. They feel changes in temperature, hunger, tiredness, sadness, love, joy and loss, just like you do. I bet if you took a person of any religion, any nationality and any sexuality, if they stub their toe, they're going to make that same howling noise, followed by rage through gritted teeth as you do. Don't deny it; we've all been there.
People are just that. People. Not a label that you've given them. Not deserving of bad things, because they've "brought it on themselves." Just people. Living, breathing, fallible humans, just trying to make the most of their relatively brief stint on this massive chunk of rock, spinning around in space. Just. Like. You.
If you seriously want to waste the finite amount of time we have in the world, casting hate on a person for no reason beyond the colour of their skin, the gender or sexuality they identify as, the religion they belong to, or the country they're from, then you need to take a very long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask whether you might be better off doing something - literally anything - else with your life. And stay the hell away from me, until you do.
Now that the serious bit is over with, we can ready ourselves for the trivial stuff...
2. People who don't respond to messages.
So. You have an idea for a get-together with a friend you've not seen in a while. You fire off a text message, suggesting said get-together and asking if they fancy it. And then you wait for a response. And you wait. And you wait. And... You wait.
I get it. People lead busy lives. Our loved ones don't just sit around, waiting for their phones to bleep with a message from us. But you know what? I just sent a text and it took less than thirty seconds. It really doesn't take that long to reply to someone.
Sometimes, we get a message and then go into an area without signal, meaning we can't reply straight away. That's fine. We just have to remember to respond when we can. Sometimes, people are busy doing something where they can't respond to a text right away and that's fine, too. I work in a profession in which we have to sign our mobile phones into the office on arrival and we can't look at them again until our lunch break. So, if someone texts me at around 9:30am when I'm at work, they're not going to get a response until any time between 12:15 and 1:30, depending on when I go on my break. But they will get a response, because once I check my phone and I see that there's a message, I reply to it. Why? Because it's kind of rude not to.
Sure, some messages don't require a response. If you send someone a joke and they text back "LOL," that's kind of a conversational cul-de-sac. And I'll be honest; if I'm in bed and you text me at gone midnight, you'd better be in dire trouble, because otherwise, you're not getting a reply, but you will be getting some passive aggressive muttering from an overtired woman who was trying to bloody sleep.
Look, just do me a favour: if I send you a text that has a question in it, send me an answer. If not right away then, you know, at some point in the week after I've actually sent the damn thing. Otherwise, I end up feeling like I'm being clingy; unsure whether to ask the question again, or whether I've done something to offend you, or whether you've just forgotten to reply and I should send another text just to "nudge" you. Or maybe you've died. Don't make me think you've died, people. It's much easier to click "reply."
3. Incorrect grammar (I know, I know. I'm very anal)...
Thank you, Ross.
Recently, someone sent me an message, which said "lots of love" at the end. I thought it was a really nice way to end a message (and hey, at least they replied), but then I looked at it again and it actually said "lot's of love" and my brain exploded into tiny pieces, which splattered all over my laptop screen.
Look, I know I'm very anal about this. I realise many people think incorrect use of grammar is a really pointless thing to get annoyed about. And no, I would never dream of criticising any of my friends or family members for using the wrong form of "your" or anything like that. I will, instead, silently weep for the future of the English language.
Let's be really honest about it: however anal you may think I am, "their," "there" and "they're" all mean different things. So do "your" and "you're." Words are beautiful tools with which we convey meaning to others and if you're wilfully writing things that don't actually make sense, I think that's quite sad. You might be thinking "oh for goodness sake, you know what I meant." But that's the point; I know, so why don't you? Unless you have a medical reason (dyslexia or similar), everyone should be capable of picking this stuff up.
I genuinely don't get why so many people are just going about their daily lives, apparently clueless as to what words mean, or where apostrophes go. I was taught this stuff in school. By the age of thirteen, I knew that an apostrophe is used to either join two words together, or to denote belonging. I knew not to use it for plurals (like "cat's" or "lot's"). I knew that "you're" meant "you are" and that "your" essentially meant something that belongs to you. I admit that "their" and "there" took a little longer to sink in, but I'd gotten the hang of that by the time I sat my GCSEs.
And for the love of everything I hold dear, do not get me started on "should of" instead of "should have." That makes literally no sense whatsoever and is just lazy. I see that written down and I essentially have this reaction:
Don't turn me into Phoebe, folks. You won't like me when I'm Phoebe.
4. Ironically, getting irate (or over-dramatic) over something stupid.
Why yes, I have recently saved a load of Friends gifs, what makes you ask?
One of the things that makes me ranty is getting ranty over something stupid. Yes, I know. I'm an enigma, wrapped up in a riddle. Or something.
But seriously, I hate wasting my precious rage over something undeserving of it. I hate feeling irate because someone I don't even know has written a tweet, saying "Your right, Clare! I should of bought those shoes when we saw them. There all sold out, now! I really liked them, to." And I loathe the fact that just writing such a grammatically incorrect sentence to evidence my point has made me feel bizarrely dirty.
I want to save my anger for the big things in life. For the times when I switch on the news and see that people who truly aren't fit for work are being judged to be so and are having vital benefits cut. Or when dozens of immigrants are found to have drowned, trying to escape a life of war and poverty and you still get idiots moaning "well, we don't want them coming over here, do we?" rather than showing any decency or compassion. Or when I read literally anything in The Daily Mail.
Yet, whilst I do feel angry at those big, important things, the silly little niggles still get to me. The lack of a "thank you" when I hold a door open for someone shouldn't make me want to yell "YOU'RE WELCOME" in a passive-aggressive manner, but it does. And that bothers me.
What's more, other people's overreactions bother me, too. Recently, when I saw a teenage girl tweet that "my life is not worth living if One Direction split up, tbh," I was furious. Partly because "tbh" is on my list of abbreviations I detest and partly because ARE YOU SERIOUS?! IF I GOT OVER TAKE THAT - WHO WERE A DECENT BLOODY BAND - YOU CAN GET OVER WAND ERECTION.
I know I shouldn't be bothered by other people's dramatic reactions, stupidity, rudeness or complete inability to spell. But for some reason I am. That is a failing on my part. And I hate it.
5. Other people's bad driving.
On the way to Minehead, there's a road leading to a roundabout. Approaching this roundabout, the road splits into two lanes, which are clearly marked with arrows. The left hand lane has an arrow pointing to the left. The right hand lane has an arrow pointing straight ahead. The sign beside the roundabout echoes these directions, saying "GET IN LANE" and visibly demonstrating which lane to use, depending on which exit you need. There are only two lanes and, aside from going all the way around the roundabout and heading back in the direction you came from, there are only two exits - left or straight ahead. It's all marked out for you, so using said roundabout genuinely couldn't be easier.
And yet, back in May, as I pulled into the right hand lane to go straight ahead, the driver of the car I had been following, for some reason stayed in the left hand lane and also went straight ahead. This obviously led to a very near-miss, in which I almost collided with the side of his car upon leaving the roundabout, because he was in the wrong lane and travelling at the same speed as I was. I beeped him. He, presumably because his penis was only two inches long and half an inch thick, proceeded to slam on his brakes (causing yet another near-miss), yell obscenities out of his window at me, speed off well above the limit for that road, before slamming on his brakes again and yelling at me some more, then travelling at well below the speed limit for a while, in an effort to intimidate or annoy me. All this, because I had beeped him for being in the wrong lane. Or, to put it another way, all this, because he did something wrong. He eventually sped up again and drove the windy little roads towards Minehead, crossing over onto the wrong side of the road every time he went around a bend.
I could fill a book with the names I called him. It's fair to say that I turned the interior of my car a rich shade of blue as I cursed him over and over for his appalling lack of driving skills and his general propensity to be a dickhead. I looked a bit like this:
The friend I was with, meanwhile, pleaded with me at length to "just let it go."
If only I could.
The thing is, being an asshole behind the wheel of a car isn't just stupid, it's dangerous. Had I not slammed on my brakes and avoided smashing into the side of that guy's car (because HE was in the wrong lane), I could have injured the small child he had sitting in the back. I could have written off his car. I could have given my passenger whiplash.
Taking a bend on the wrong side of the road runs the risk of a head-on collision. Not bothering to check which lane you should be in at a roundabout runs the risk of a crash (or a spike in my blood pressure; neither is worth it, to be honest).
For reasons I've never been able to fully understand, some people get into a car and immediately think: "Well, I'm encased in metal. I'm basically Robocop." And that, to them, gives them the right to do whatever the hell they like, be it pulling out of junctions right in front of you, veering from lane to lane without indicating, or stamping on their brakes for literally no apparent reason, causing you to do the same in order to prevent yourself from going into the back of them. These people are idiots and since they're unlikely to ever stop being idiots, we should just all collectively decide to hide their car keys, for the good of humanity.
6. Not being listened to.
The thing that really grinds my gears is not being listened to. Not only if I feel very sad about things and just need a friendly ear, but in any aspect of life. Feeling as though your opinion isn't important to those around you just makes you feel minimised. And, as you've probably guessed from this blog (and others), I'm someone whose mind is almost constantly buzzing about something or other. I usually have an opinion on things. I usually have got creative ideas to share when people are putting together a project. So when people start discussing something around me and tell me I can be involved, I feel rather put-out if I make a simple suggestion, only to have it immediately vetoed, or if I share an opinion and have it slammed or ignored. Or worse, if I'm not once even asked what I think of something.
That's the thing with opinions - we've all got one and we all deserve to be listened to, providing we're not spouting ignorant hate (see number 1 on this list...). Whilst I know it can be irritating for someone to have an opinion on everything and to want to voice it, I'm not averse to letting everyone have their say. So, when I'm in any situation where I feel like my say hasn't even been considered, that makes me annoyed. What's the point in having a person there with you, if you're not prepared to ask them what they think, or what they want to do in the situation? Sure, there are people in the world who really are just happy to go along with what everyone else wants to do, but we should still ask them for their view. And I'm not some contrary little madam who disagrees with the general consensus just for the sake of it. Often, I'll find myself in agreement with those around me, anyway. It's just nice to be made to feel as though my thoughts matter.
And if you treat me like they don't, well...
Again, thank you, Ross.
Of course, despite saying all of this, the fact remains that I'm British (albeit with a touch of Mediterranean fire). Most of the time, even when things really annoy me, I'll do that thing of insisting that I'm okay and it's nothing, whilst mumbling under my breath, rather than actually addressing the problem. I don't see the point in starting a row for no reason and I tend to blame myself for my own ranty-reactions, too. I guess what I'm saying is, I'll have a rant now and then and I'll get cross over something that seems trivial, but for the most part, I'll suck it up and deal with it in my own way (currently, by watching videos of Josh Widdicombe doing stand up comedy and wondering where my sudden "thing" for guys with curly, blond hair has come from).
But always remember that underneath my three quarters of British reserve is one quarter of Greek Cypriot feistiness, just waiting to be triggered. I might be smiling, but I could also be having a furious row with you in my head. I might be silent, but that could just mean I'm simmering on a low boil. And for the love of God, if I tell you I'm fine, run.