Monday 6 October 2008

Grumpiness - The New Black

I regard myself as an upbeat person, somebody who thrives on being positive. I strive to be happy in my life. I endeavour to face the day with a smile, laugh as often as I can and try to make those around me happy.

So why does everybody accuse me of being a grumpy old sod?

Those closest to me tell me that I am getting worse with age. In my twenties I rarely moaned at anything. Now in my forties, those closest to me inform me in no uncertain terms that I am becoming like Victor Meldrew, arguably the grumpiest comedy character ever to set foot on our TV screens.

When accused of being a grump, I usually retort: “Utter rubbish! I am positivity personified.”

Sadly, however, the evidence against me is devastating and I can’t argue with it.

Let’s take a normal working day.

In the morning I wake up at around 7 o’clock to listen to the news. I used to wake up to a music show where the resident “humorous” DJs try to cheer up their audience with “witty” anecdotes and observations. That’s a bad start. How can you be positive about two imbeciles who would rather talk utter bilge than play decent music. Mrs PM has forced me to change radio stations simply because I spend ten minutes swearing at the radio. A typical outburst is “For *&$*’s sake, shut the $£&* up and play some %$&*ing music!!!!”

The DJ’s have now put me in a bad mood. I am tired and I want to go back to the sanctuary of sleep and I have been wrenched from blissful dreams by two people whose combined IQ would make earthworm seem like a professor of quantum physics. Come on, I mean tell me. Why do radio stations employ the most annoying people on the planet to present their shows? These people are their own biggest fans and love the sound of their own voices. These brainless twerps are not even funny. I wouldn’t mind if they were. All we hear is the sound of their high pitched moronic drivel and then, most annoying of all, the sound of their laughter at their own dim-witted jokes.

So, having started the day on a low, I march to the bathroom to prepare for the day. I have to shave and shower. When I look at myself in the mirror I see a monster with mad hair and sunken bloodshot eyes. Under normal circumstances it would take a makeover expert six hours to make the creature in the mirror appear to be even vaguely human. I have around fifteen minutes. You can imagine I have not done a very good job by the time I return to the bedroom to get dressed.

Later it is time to enjoy “BBC Breakfast”. I sit there munching a bowl of cereal while watching stiff presenters, who are again trying to be funny in their own stiff way and failing miserably. At least they are speaking with a degree of intelligence instead of babbling like the DJs. But why do they insist on trying to be funny? Is it to cheer us up? It doesn’t bloody work. I want to hear the news. Don’t try to be funny shortly after you have just told me that yet another bank has collapsed and that I may end up living in poverty in a year’s time. I grumble during the news but worse is to come. Usually on BBC Breakfast at around a quarter to eight, we get the weather forecast. I look out of the window and see that it is raining again. And there standing in the Blue Peter garden is Carol Kirkwood, a chirpy Scottish weathergirl who has taken far too many happy pills

“Helloooo!!!” she will shout. “It’s gonna be raining here in Inglind, Scotlind, Wales and Irelind and it’s great. It’s wonderful.”


Who needs this kind of stuff first thing on a cold winter’s morning?

I’m not picking on Carol Kirkwood – I just want her to feel as miserable as I do. If I see her later in the day I am quite happy with her presentation skills.

And then of course it is onto work. Now it only usually takes me around fifteen minutes to drive there but by the time I arrive I have encountered enough buffoons to fill Wembley Stadium. I have to negotiate the school run; drivers who let other cars in when I am behind them; drivers who do not let me in; cyclists who drive at 2mph in the centre of the road; bus drivers who drive at 2mph; lorry drivers who inexplicably stop on a main road and block traffic for as long as possible; traffic lights that stay red for ten minutes, wait until a queue of two hundred cars builds up and then switch to green for ten seconds, allowing one daydreaming driver to kangaroo through before turning red for another ten minutes; people who beep their horns for no reason; motorcyclists who avoid traffic queues by driving down the centre of the road overtaking all of the congested cars and looking very smug about it and finally, the worst of all, pedestrians who walk straight out in front of the car safe in the knowledge that you will slam your brakes on so as not to be arrested for running them over. And then these people have the balls to swear at me for narrowly missing them.

By the time I arrive at work I am fuming. I arrive at my desk and I have a crisis to deal with before I can even switch on my desktop. When I finally do that I discover that I have a thousand urgent emails to deal with. I walk to the kitchen to get a cup of tea and encounter a boss or manager who says something like “have you done this yet? Have you done that yet? What are you doing drinking tea when you should be working?”

I get back to my desk and listen to smug Manchester United fans boasting about the latest conquest and the workload piles up. I hear people laughing at the fact that Walsall aren’t in the Premiership and the workload piles up. I hear managers and other people say things like “We need to think outside the box” and I want to pour my boiling hot tea over their crotches and the workload piles up. Somebody comes up to me and says “Can you give me an accurate estimate?” What in the name of all that is sane is an “accurate estimate”? A bloody estimate is a guess so how can it be bloody well accurate???? The workload piles up.

At lunchtime I read the BBC website and rant at the news. Others start talking about reality TV shows like Big Brother causing me to take out my soapbox and embark upon a fifteen minute rant about how awful television is these days.

Somebody comes up to me during my lunch break and says “Are you on your lunch? I just have a question about this report.”

“No,” I reply. “I’m not on my lunch – why do you think I am halfway through this giant bloody sandwich? Is the fact that I am spitting chunks of semi-chewed cheese over your shirt a hint?”

During lunch the workload has piled up and another two hundred emails have arrived, each one more urgent than the last one. I doggedly attack the work and finally decide to leave late in the afternoon just as Mr “Think Outside The Box” says “Oh, can you just do this little piece of work before you go?”

Two hours later, I sneak out of the office and hit the rush hour traffic where I encounter the school run, cyclists, motorcyclists, slow-moving buses and lorries, brain-dead pedestrians, psychotic traffic lights and other manner of road using imbeciles to put me in a fantastic mood when I arrive home late.

And then I have to face Mrs PM who says “What kind of day have you had?”

Of course I want to lie and say “Fantastic!”

But I don’t. I launch into the biggest rant of all. I have a super duper deluxe high tensile soapbox for such occasions.

At the end of the rant, Mrs PM is no longer speaking to me so I have to make amends by cooking the evening meal. I positively despise cooking.

By the time I have settled down to relax, Mrs PM announces that she wants to watch Big Brother. What choice do I have but to go to bed and fall asleep reading.

Next thing I know, the alarm goes off and I am woken up by two moronic DJs laughing at their own unfunny jokes – and the cycle goes on.

Oh dear!

The above words are not just devastating, they have the constructive impact of a thermonuclear device.

Facing my own grumpiness and posting about it is quite therapeutic though (I am desperately searching for positivity now) and although this is one of my longer posts I have typed it at record speed barely lifting my fingers from the keyboard to draw breathe.

The older I get, the more I feel I need to change the world. It’s not too late (see? Positive again) and by standing on a turbo-charged soapbox I can, in my own little way, change the impact of grumpiness into a force for good.

If it gets rid of moronic DJs I will be happy.


Sandie lee said...

You may be grumpy, but at least you're STILL funny. Well done. Thanks for making my day a little less "grumpy."

Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks Sandie,

I'm happy to oblige.



Anonymous said...

Oh, this was sooo good! Especially your take on the rush hour traffic. I'm sorry I laughed at your expense!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks roadgurl5,

And I'm of now to face more psychotic traffic lights.



Pia K said...

I love the TV-series "Grumpy Old Men" they're just so spot on in their "grumpy" comments! And I do think it's a huge difference between being grumpy and wise enough to actually see and possibly comment on stupid currents and behaviours...:)

I'm all for the new black, when accessorized with humour it's THE thing to be seen with!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks for the comment Pia,

I too love "Grumpy Old Men" and I find myself agreeing with absolutely everything they say. I would prefer the programme just to be called "Grumpy Men" though ...