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15 December 2004

The little things that grate

There you are, just coasting merrily along, and then one of those irritating little things happens. You can feel your mood change from 'life's a breeze and nothing

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There you are, just coasting merrily along, and then one of those irritating little things happens. You can feel your mood change from 'life's a breeze and nothing can phase me' to ' I think I am going to burst a vein in my head'.

Suddenly you can understand how people can kill relatives, but the voice of reason tells you that "I had to kill him, because he didn't replace the toilet paper roll", is going to sound lame in court. Unless you get a woman judge, of course.

Now don't get me wrong – there are seriously horrible things, like being involved in a car accident or finding out your spouse is having an affair. These do not fall into this mildly-irritating category at all. These fall into the "I'm sorry, I did not realise it was your mother I slapped in the parking lot" – category.

Really irritating things

Empties in the fridge. Milk bottles, mayonnaise jars, Tupperware containers, tins that used to have cat food in them – if you listen carefully after you've closed the fridge, you'll hear them sing along faintly to the tune of "I feel so empty, I could die".

Toilet seat up. Much has been written about this. In fact, so much that it is scarcely possible to imagine how anyone who can read can still do this, but they do. There you are, fumbling your way through the dark in the middle of the night, only to be woken up very rudely by the feeling of ice-cold porcelain on your delicate derrière.

Handbag around gear lever. It's the second time today you almost dislocated your shoulder getting out of the car, because your handbag strap is firmly lodged around the gear lever. And to add insult to injury, you also bumped your head as a result of it.

Roller skates or toy trains on the stairs. You could break your neck tripping over these and you feel like breaking the neck of whoever left them on the stairs. Or at least giving them up for adoption or medical experiments – whatever requires the least paperwork.

Running out of painkillers at 3 a.m. There you are with a killer of a headache or period pains and the paracetamol container is as empty as the state coffers after a coup. You could, of course, get dressed and go to the 24-hour shop at the garage, but actually, right now, co-ordinating tops and bottoms is not really at the top of your priority list.

Assuming there's a fairy who does dishes. Forget the Muppets doing Manhattan – in your house there is a fairy who does dishes. And she looks remarkably like you. Question is when family members put unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink, who do they think is going to wash them?

Not taking the rubbish out. Taking out the trash takes 30 seconds, but usually you are required to do at least a one-minute song and dance for a job well done. Heavens, if this ratio held true for all household tasks, your spouse would have to hire a 24-hour chorus line to do the can-can for you.

Not giving phone messages. The weekend away's been cancelled, the boss is coming to dinner or your mom's found the retirement village of her dreams. All things you would like to know asap, but whoever took the phone message left the note in the dog's basket and went north for the winter. There are certain instances in which you would welcome back capital punishment – this is one of them.

Stopping at orange lights. You're on the way to the vet with a cat whose distaste of travelling has been manifested in the last two kilometers by a bowel evacuation in the car and non-stop bleating. And the old duck in front of you has not only had her right indicator on for the last seven blocks, but has just slowed down and stopped at an orange light, which both of you could comfortably have crossed. And then she turned left.

Supermarket trolley nightmare. Supermarket trolleys are lethal weapons. Much more so than those piddly swords they use for fencing. Trolley ramming should be made an Olympic sport. If you can have boxing, why not more blood sports? Thing is, every time you go to the supermarket, the gold medallist from the 1998 Olympics lurks behind aisle number 5, waiting for you to emerge, unsuspecting and defenceless. If supermarkets were made to pay for trolley injuries to their customers, they would wrap them all in thick sponge or design them so they don't smash into your Achilles heel.

Bits of hair everywhere after a haircut. Before your hairdresser even touches your hair, you are firmly ensconced in a plastic mantle that threatens to suffocate you. You now know how Anne Boleyn must have felt in the last moments of her life. You look like a little hill out for a stroll, or at least like something that was bought in the outdoors section of a shop selling tents and tarpaulins. And yet, despite being as covered as you would be if you lived inside a plastic sack, little hairs always sneak through and get into your underwear and down your back. - (Susan Erasmus, Health24)

 
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