Category Archives: Rants

Sometimes You Just Have To Open Your Mind…And Shut Your Mouth!

 

Like most people I have the never-discuss -politics-or religion rule, especially with people I know. I have also added parenting methods to that rule too – as well as few other topics. And the reason is, as everyone knows, it is indeed the quickest way to end a friendship.

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How I wish I’d stuck to that rule!

It’s all very well having these discussions if the person you’re talking to is tolerant, mature, reasonable and willing to accept that everyone has a different opinion. If you’re able to have these discussions in a non-offensive manner, you can’t go far wrong.

 

But when the person you’re having the discussion with is the complete opposite of the above, and all they do is preach, lecture, rant, rave, talk at you rather than to you, criticize your own opinions and are extremely offensive with it… It takes a very, very strong friendship to get over it!

Image from pixabay.com

Image from pixabay.com

 

I had this very unfortunate encounter very recently with someone I consider to be a very close friend – in fact I hope she still is! Unless you’re a complete dimwit, you can’t have failed to have noticed that our nation is in the grip of Brexit fever. Everyone has some kind of an opinion on whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU. Whether you’re an innie, an outie, or an ummie, everyone has something to contribute to this great debate.

Because we’re very good friends, I felt quite comfortable in breaking one of the few rules I have in life and told her where I stood with regards to the referendum. Boy did that prove to be a big mistake!

Pixabay. Com

Pixabay. Com

My normally mild-mannered friend turned into what can only be described as a raving lunatic. Not only did she stomp all over my political opinions but she tried to ram her own brand of politics down my throat, and to be honest, because she was unable to articulate herself without going over the top, whatever she was banging on about just went over my head – and not because I’m short! I can’t even recall what she said exactly – all I got was a faceful of blah ba blah ba blah ba blah!

I’m sure my friend thinks I’m too thick to understand how politics and the EU work – and maybe I am. But as one of my tutors once said to me the real idiot isn’t the person who admits to not knowing something, it’s the person who thinks they know everything.

 

Image from pi eBay.com

Image from pixabay.com

 

Unless we’re directly involved in politics, its not always easy to know what information we hear is accurate and what is just propaganda. My friend has access to pretty much the same information as me. Admittedly she’s definitely more well-read and knowledgeable than me about such matters but is the decision she’s making based exclusively on true, unbiased facts? And have these facts been verified? Well we don’t know – although she likes to think she’s one hundred per cent certain she knows all the facts and they are all true. Things aren’t always black and white as we all know – there’s always areas of grey. And while its always natural to be biased when it’s something we agree with, to go around thinking your views are gospel is just a little too much.

 

Image from pixabay.com

Image from pixabay.com

I will be keeping quiet about my own views regarding the referendum – but I’m willing to accept that I may be wrong. The decision I make is based on my judgement of the masses of info we’ve been bombarded with but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily right  and I will be keeping an open mind. One thing I will say is that I will be relieved when this referendum episode is over and we find out exactly what is in store for the future of Britain – and I won’t have to hear the term ‘Brexit’ for a very long time.

But when I’m approached with aggression, and spoken to in a bullying manner by a know-it-all, and I’m made to feel that my views don’t count, then yes – I do have a problem.

Image from pixabay.com

Image from pixabay.com

Of course there are subjects that I feel very passionate about but I’m well aware that not everyone will share my views. I can’t very well argue with everyone so I choose my battles carefully. This post isn’t just about sharing your views but giving an opinion to close friends and  family in a way in which relationships are left intact. That could mean not discussing potentially controversial issues or biting your tongue hard when you hear something that makes you want to punch someone! But I think the best thing is to accept that there will always be differences; respect other people’s opinions – even if they do seem bizarre, and although passion is good, aggression is not, so save that for the boxercise class and not for a heated debate with someone who’s meant to be dear to you. Because once something extremely offensive has been said, it can’t be taken back. Hardly worth losing someone you care about just because you need to be right.

 

 

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Bully On The Bus Simone Joseph Walks Free

Ranting and raving

Appalled and disgusted.

These are just two of the adjectives that can be used to sum up how I feel about Simone Joseph being allowed to walk free and avoid prison after her vile verbal assault on Muslim passengers – one of whom was a pregnant lady – on a bus back in October. Joseph’s lengthy, hate-filled rant – which took place in front of her own child – in which she threatened to physically attack not one but two passengers was filmed and posted online which then went viral. So now the whole world knows what a despicable low-life Joseph is.

I was not on that bus; I did not witness this attack; it was not aimed at me, and I am not a Muslim. So I shouldn’t care, right? Wrong! This whole episode has left me fuming to the point where I can’t even speak – much less type!

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Star of the show, Miss Joseph

First of all, racism; religious intolerance; bigotry; prejudice – call it what you like, I cannot stand any of it. As one half of a mixed-race couple; a product of a culturally diverse family, and someone who is proud to have friends from every corner of globe (well, near enough!) and taught students from all over the world, this kind of behaviour does not sit well with me – and that’s putting it mildly. I just cannot believe that in the year 2015, people can still be so ridiculously stupid.

But what really irks me is the fact that Joseph is a Willesden Green girl – a place that’s walking distance to where I grew up. In fact our neighbourhoods are so near each other, the area is often considered one and the same. It is an area where even though there are plenty of good people and a sense of community, it has a reputation for crime, violence and aggression. People I knew from other areas often refused to set foot there due to the fact that they’d heard “it’s quite dangerous.” Back in the early 2000s, the BBC even made a documentary series based on the high crime rate that was ever-increasing in the neighbourhood.

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Well almost fifteen years later, Joseph has just proved that not much has changed. She’s just illustrated that our little piece of north-west London is an area that should still be avoided if you have any sense.

The 206 bus where the rant took place is a bus route I’ve used many times over the years. It’s a route that’s still used by many of my friends. It horrifies me to think that Joseph could have hurled abuse at any one of my family or friends. And as soon as I discovered that Joseph was an inhabitant of my former neighbourhood, I knew that it was very, very likely that we had people in common, as very few of the inhabitants are total strangers to each other. That six degrees of separation theory is more than just a theory for us – it’s pretty much a reality! And as everyone I associate with – both past and present – are decent, hard-working, law-abiding, honest people, it makes me wonder how we came to have such a low-life in our midst. I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who has the misfortune to be related to that.

What hit me hard was Hanane Yakoubi, one of Joseph’s victims, describing the distress she felt and still feels after the incident, and explained that she doesn’t know how to ask for help because she doesn’t speak English. I know there is a lack of sympathy towards anyone who goes to a country without knowing a word of the native language. But as it’s my job to teach English, I see the struggles my students face and the efforts they make to try to improve. They often make good progress but then they encounter a situation where they do not possess enough language skills to help them communicate effectively which upsets them deeply and knocks their confidence. What people like Hanane Yakoubi need is patience, understanding and tolerance not abuse and aggression.

The defence for Joseph – who gave herself up to the police after the video went viral – claimed that she was ‘ashamed’ and wished ‘to apologise to the complainant and the other people on the bus’ while the magistrate accepted that Joseph was ‘remorseful and of previous good character.’ What’s even more shocking is when the defence revealed that Joseph herself had Muslim relatives. This seriously smacks of ‘I’m-not-racist-I-have-Chinese friends-and-love-Mexican-food’. Yeah, whatever – tell it to the judge! Oh of course – that’s what she was doing.

I’m often told I’m too understanding and forgiving but this time I’m just not buying any of it. Would Joseph have been so ready to hand herself in if she had not been so clearly identifiable in the video? Would she have felt any shame and remorse had she not been in the dock? Has she any idea of the anxiety she’s caused a heavily pregnant woman? Do people of ‘previous good character’ behave in this manner? Do people with Muslim relatives viciously attack (albeit verbally) other Muslim people? Do mothers carry on like this in front of their children?

The answer to all the above is a big fat NO!

I’ve come across the Simone Josephs of this world. So have my family and many of my friends. I know first hand how distressing such an encounter can be. People like her start off as the stroppy kid at nursery who snatches toys out of other children’s hands, to the playground bully at secondary school to a thoroughly nasty and unpleasant adult who believes it’s their right to stomp all over whoever they wish – and most of the time the whoever they wish is someone who they believe they can pick on which shows how cowardly they are. Joseph was spoiling for a fight that day and she picked people who she knew were easy targets. You’ll notice she was in no hurry to take on the bus driver who tried to get her to shut it!

So Joseph left  court with a suspended sentence and a slapped wrist. Am I surprised? Of course not. This is exactly the brand of justice we can rely on in this country and will hardly act as a deterrent for the next bully on the bus. If there’s anything good to come from this whole episode, it’s that Joseph will think twice before she starts a fight with anyone again. Not because of her good character but because she is now more aware that there are cameras everywhere and once you get caught, there’s really nowhere to hide. But I do hope that in time she will see just how wrong her actions were and make a real effort to turn over a new leaf, and more importantly teach her child that this is not the way to behave or treat others. I really do hope she can do this because it’s a small step towards making this world a more peaceful place.

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Congratulations Donnie Wahlberg… And Grow Up, Fans!

 

Most girls never forget their first childhood crush – and I’m no different. I love, have always loved and will always love New Kids On The Block. From the first moment I saw them bopping away on Top Of The Pops, they captured my heart, and even though I’m now very much a hard-rocking chick, there’s a piece of my heart where they still reside and refuse to move from – and that’s fine with me!

Like thirty million other young girls, I was convinced that I was going to be Mrs. Jordan Knight and had my former teenage self had her way, this blog could very easily have been called Chez Mrs. K! But alas it was not to be. Mr. K refused to wait for me to grow up and went on to marry someone else – paving the way for the man who did wait for me. Which is great because becoming Mrs. D is the best thing that ever happened to me – even if Mr. D does question my taste in music!

 

 

Earlier this week, television presenter Jenny McCarthy announced her engagement on The View (the American Version of Loose Women) where she is one of the anchors and flashed her beautiful yellow sapphire ring. And who’s the lucky man? None other than New Kids On The Block’s very own Donnie Wahlberg who McCarthy has been dating for the past year. It’ll be the second time down the aisle for both of them, and I, for one, cannot wait for the glossy ten page spread. For Jenny’s first wedding she wore a stunning vintage-style 1930s gown so it’ll be interesting to see what she wears for her wedding to Donnie.

 

But it seems that not all the fans are jumping up and down at the idea of Donnie finding his Favourite Girl. Some of the nasty remarks and comments I’ve come across are really shocking. I’ve even had to reread some of them twice to make sure that they really do say what I thought they did. It actually made me see red. I suppose mildly catty comments are inevitable. But to say that these comments are mildly catty is like saying that water is a little bit wet! I’m not going to repeat any of these hideous remarks but it seems as though they were written by females who still think they’re eleven years old and back in 1989, where they’re making up dances to New Kids’ songs in the playground. What’s shocking is that some of these women have let slipped that they’re married! MARRIED??? Oh my goodness ladies – it really is time you got a grip!

 

 

True, I don’t think anyone would have thought of pairing Donnie and Jenny together – but then don’t opposites usually attract (definitely do in the case of Mr. and Mrs. D!) And how does Donnie’s love life concern his fans? Shouldn’t they be happy that their idol has found love instead of making derogatory comments about his new fiancée? And did they really think that they had a shot – a real shot – at marrying a New Kid? Furthermore, did they actually think that Donnie would stay single and available while they grew up and moved on with their lives? It’s beyond ridiculous! Whether anyone thinks that Donnie and Jenny are a match made in heaven really isn’t anyone’s business except – surprise, surprise – Donnie and Jenny’s. And assuming that we’re not relatives or close friends of the couple, it’s not as if any of us actually know them well. So who are we to pass judgement?

 

 

 

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the level of vitriol I’ve discovered. A look at forums and comment boards regarding all things New Kids On The Block have indicated that for every fan who is happy that the band members have the whole relationship and kids package, they are about a hundred haters who have absolutely nothing nice to say. And that’s putting it very mildly. In fact what’s even more disturbing than the nasty name-calling are the most ridiculous allegations against the New Kids members which could seriously put their relationships in jeopardy had they not been married to really strong women who knew well in advance that this sort of spiteful behaviour came in the job description of wife of a New Kid!

I’m absolutely appalled that the people who run these sites and forums have not removed these comments, and I’m even more surprised that the New Kids haven’t threatened to sue. Maybe they’re just too smart to read such comments. Or maybe they do read them and just laugh at how pathetic these women are. I remember back in the ’90s, the New Kids – like many male pop acts at the time – couldn’t admit to having a girlfriend for fear of alienating fans. They couldn’t even admit to having had a girlfriend. But as they are all grown men in their forties, do we still expect them to pretend that they’re still waiting to experience their first kiss just to keep us happy? To be honest, this wouldn’t actually make me happy – I’d just wonder what was wrong with my idols!

 

 

I suppose the real issue here, is that the spite, jealousy and hostility that women are famous for pelting each other with is still there. And I know it only too well – I did go to an all-girls school for five years. If a woman has something that another woman wants, you can bet her Fendi clutch that she’ll feel the full force of the other woman’s insults as they rain down upon her. I suppose what some of these ‘fans’ don’t realise is that they are actually dealing with real people – not just faces on a poster that’s stuck on the wall – and their families. And real people have real feelings and feel real pain. I wonder how I would have felt, had I really become Mrs. Knight and I had to read the most disgusting rubbish about me, written by people who hadn’t even met me. Actually I know exactly how I would have felt and that’s why I think it’s just wrong. I really cannot believe just how childish some people can be. It really is about time some people learned to grow up.

And on a less ranty note, congrats to Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy. I hope they prove the haters wrong. I really loved how Jenny got all emotional when she was telling the girls on The View all about the engagement – she very nearly set me off too! Awesome news and I’m so glad that one of my fave New Kids has found someone who has the right stuff!

 

Fashion Goes Bust!

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A recent article in a women’s magazine made me seethe. Emblazoned across the top of the page was the headline: WHICH SIZE BREASTS ARE BEST?

SERIOUSLY??? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO ASK US THAT??? I had to check the cover of the magazine because for a moment, I thought I might be in possession of a lad’s mag. Nope – definitely a women’s weekly!

“FLAT IS THE NEW BIG THING!” shrieked the pull quote. “HAVING A HUGE BUST IS OUT OF FASHION IT SEEMS!” the intro proudly announced.

Original image from pixabay.com

Original image from pixabay.com

 

Oh OK then. I’ll just remove my big boobs, stick them back in the box, return them to the store and exchange them for a pair of smaller, pert, perkier ones. I would never have known they were out of style had it not been for this feature.

Excuse me, fashionable? Clothes, shoes and hairstyles may go in and out of fashion but not body shapes as far as I’m concerned. I was always under the impression that body parts were functional rather than fashionable. Most parts of our anatomy are not like hair which can be cut, lengthened, coloured, curled, shaved, straightened, teased etc. to best fit what is considered to be the look du jour. What do you do with body parts which are not the right shape or size?

 

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

The article went on to state that envy over big-busted girls has gone out the window as women prefer to have a more toned and athletic physique over Jessica Rabbit curves. Yes, breast enlargements are still being carried out but now women are opting for a more natural look  over anything that screams plastic. Small busted ladies are encouraged to thrown out their underwired bras and ‘be proud of those fried eggs!’ Despite the fact that the closing paragraphs encouraged ladies to love what their born with, the overall tone of the article was to big up (excuse the pun!) those who are not massively endowed while diminishing (again no pun intended!)  those who have more up top. I can’t help but feel a bit miffed – and that’s putting it mildly.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

The basis for this feature came from findings from a poll that was carried out by  a company who develops and manufactures implants and expanders in which 2000 people were surveyed. It found that 72% of women said that, if they had to have surgery, they would only go up one bra size, while men also agreed that when it came to boobs, less is definitely more.

That’s all very well when you’re talking about cosmetic surgery and people’s expectations from cosmetic procedures but what about when what you’re naturally blessed with isn’t  necessarily the look that’s being coveted? How does that make you feel?

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

SMALL BOOBS ARE BEAUTIFUL… AND SO ARE BIG!

During my teenage years, my mother was alarmed at the rate in which I was moving up cup sizes. I, on the other hand, like most teenage girls, was delighted. And it wasn’t just because they made my jumpers hang nicely! I wasn’t blessed with a flat stomach and when supermodel pins were being handed out, in all the excitement, I fell over and knocked myself out while running to join the queue – so Cindy Crawford got what should have been mine. Therefore, I was naturally quite proud of my chest. Even when I lost the puppy fat, my bust was still very evident even though I didn’t have page three bazookas!

So do I think big boobs are better than little ones? Not at all because even I know that there’s a downside to being bigger on top. You have to deal with spiteful comments from women and goggle-eyed stares from men (don’t even get me started on the drunken comments) You have to be careful what you wear because the wrong items of clothing will over-emphasise the bust area; leave you looking matronly, or have you fearing fall-out! Then there are the problems when you get older where your boobs have the bizarre urge to say hello to your feet whereas ladies with smaller boobs look more youthful. And girls who are massively endowed have complained about back-ache to the point where a breast reduction is a necessity rather than for vanity’s sake.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

Have there been times when I wished my boobs were smaller? Yes. In order to be taken seriously and to stop the stares. I also got quite frustrated at how certain style of clothes looked so elegant on small busted girls while it just looked trashy on me. And of course I do worry about what they’ll look like after pregnancy – will I be tempted to go under the knife in order to obtain perfection? And when complete strangers comment on them, there have been times I’ve definitely wished I was less curvaceous.

But when all’s said and done, I absolutely love what I’ve been blessed with. They’re not totally in your face but they’re mine, they’re a part of me and they’re what I’m used to. And Mr. D is definitely very happy with them! Hollywood stars Christina Hendricks and Catherine Zeta-Jones have both said how having an ample bosom makes them feel “womanly and sexy” and I know exactly what they’re talking about.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

I didn’t find the article annoying because it seemingly went against what I’ve naturally got. But I feel that talking about what’s en vogue body-wise can have a detrimental effect on women, especially impressionable young girls. Body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and teenage depression and bullying all seem to be on the increase. You only have to pick up a paper to know that and I don’t feel that features like this help – even though I’m sure it was intended to be nothing more than a light-hearted talking point. It’s one thing to report on survey findings but totally another to debate which breast size is best. And anyway, aren’t we supposed to encourage women to be more than just boobs on legs? Don’t we criticize glamour models, WAGS, and reality stars for being just that? Isn’t it  better, in an age, when breast cancer is a growing concern, that we focus more on having healthy breasts rather than their size?

Image from pixabay. com

Image from pixabay. com

 The truth of the matter is that people are very rarely totally happy with what they have – maybe it’s just human nature. And if my boobs are out of fashion then it’s just a damn good thing that I’ve never really been a follower of fashion which is proven by the number of calls I get from the 1980s! When it comes to loving your body, I would leave all talk about what’s fashionable or not to the catwalks of Paris and Milan and focus on being happy and healthy and making the most of what you’ve been blessed with.

So whether you’ve got pancakes, fried eggs, or melons, stand tall and be proud. Embrace what’s yours and feel totally gorgeous.

 

 

Put The Public Back Into Public Transport

 

You’d think by now I’d be used to people’s shenanigans when they step on board a bus or train. You think I’d be used to people’s selfish, inconsiderate, me-me-me behaviour. But every day, I see yet another display of absolutely appalling behaviour which sadly is now considered the norm. I very rarely hear people complaining so I believe that either I’m the only one who’s noticed or I’m the only one who’s seriously annoyed by this.

I think the problem is that people are intent on making themselves more comfy than they need to be at the expense of other commuters. It’s almost a case of ‘Goodness! Am I sharing this vehicle with other people? I thought it was just for me!” They seem totally oblivious to the fact that it’s called public transport for a reason. Yes, having to use public transport can be a bit of  a nightmare at the best of times and naturally every one wants to get comfortable especially if they have a long commute but some people are making things worse than it needs to be with their bad behaviour. They feel that because they’ve paid the grand sum of £2.40 that that gives them the right to make themselves at home. Er, it doesn’t.

Here is a list of some of the worst offenders:

1. Everyone on the top deck must hear my phone conversation.

 

“So I said to her, yeah, ‘You been messing about with my man?’ and she said, yeah, ‘he ain’t your f***ing man, he’s mine.’ So I went yeah, ‘Come say that to my face, you b***h, I’ll f*** you up big time. And she goes…

Almost simultaneously you can hear: “Listen, you’re not getting another penny out of me, you evil cow. I’ve paid for Jonny’s trainers plus for his school trip to the farm. You could have at least forked out a tenner. You’re determined to ruin me…”

The only thing being ruined are my poor, assaulted eardrums. I realise that there will always be a few nosey parkers who feel that knowing the real-life ins and outs of other people’s affairs is more entertaining than an episode of Eastenders but quite frankly most of us could do without the in-flight entertainment, especially after a long day. Either these loudmouths love the attention or they seem to forget that they are not in the privacy of their own home.

2. You just have to know what kind of music I’m into.

 

Thanks to the invention of mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players, we can now have music wherever and whenever we want. But  the reason why people use earphones is so that they – and they alone- will know what it is they’re listening too. But some people have to have their music on so loud, I really don’t know why they bother with earphones. And then of course there are the ones who don’t even bother with earphones and are very kindly willing to ‘share’ their  music with passenger on both upper and lower decks. And don’t get me started on those who think that Simon Cowell may actually be on the same vehicle as them and start ‘auditioning’. Lord help us all…

3. Enjoy the aroma of my not- so- sweetly- scented food.

 

I totally understand that sometimes people have to eat while they’re on the go. But is it really necessary to chomp on food that’s just a little bit, shall we say, over pungent to the point where it makes the rest of us want to gag? A friend of mine was actually very direct with someone who was eating a kebab on a packed bus:

“Admittedly I was a bit drunk,” confessed Friend, “but I couldn’t stand the smell any more, so I was like, ‘Mate that stinks. Do you think you could put that away?’

Yep, it was put away. Well done Friend! If only we were all brave enough.

4. I’m looking for free childcare.

 

I love kids as much as the next person. But just as I’ve hauled myself onto public transport first thing in the morning before I’ve had a coffee or after a long hard day before I’ve had a Malibu and pineapple, I really don’t want to be drawn into games of peek-a-boo or pick-up-my-shoe-as-I-throw-it-over-to-you. Neither do I want a stranger’s child clambering all over me, trying to knock the book I’m trying to read out of my hand, or playing with my bag. While Mum (or Dad) is totally oblivious to the situation either gazing out of the window, yapping to whoever they’re with or on the phone… or reading a book of their own.

And we’re all well aware that kids run around and individually make more noise than a crowd at a football match but it really wouldn’t hurt parents to tell them to settle down and not to create obstructions on the stairs or in the aisles and certainly not to kick the seat of the person sitting in front of them. After all this isn’t their home!

5. I have to have a minimum of two seats for myself.

 

I cannot begin to tell you how much this makes me want to punch somebody (of course I never would!) It is the biggest display of selfishness, arrogance and how people never think about anyone other than themselves. By now you’ll all know how much it bugs me to see passengers who think it’s necessary for their bag to have a seat all to themselves – as though their bag has paid for the privilege while other passengers have to stand. I’ve even seen passengers come looking for a seat and Mr. or Mrs. Bag-Owner ensures that their beloved bag stays put. Although now it’s not just bags – I have seen passengers sit between two seats so that they have two all to themselves. It’s like “Hello! Can you not see where the seat begins and ends. Do you seriously think the line is there for you to rest your crack on?”

But I have to officially congratulate the passenger who reached new heights. Last week a man hogged a record-breaking three, that’s right, three seats to himself: one for his bum, another for his bag and a third for his feet. Then he fell asleep and couldn’t hear the passenger who ever-so politely tried to ask him to remove his bag. If only I could make myself as cosy and comfy!

6. The bus driver is here for us to take out our frustrations on.

 

As someone who has spent years working with the general public, it annoys the hell out of me (and that’s putting it super mildly) when I see passengers be unnecessarily rude to bus drivers. Some of them actually think that the driver is their personal chauffer who will pick them up and drop them off wherever they want. I know travel fare is expensive but believe it or not you still have to pay a little more if you want your own driver. And furthermore, the driver is not responsible for traffic jams, delays or other equally ignorant passengers, so don’t take it out on the driver, who has a hard enough job as it is.

7. Is that a seat in front of me? I thought it was a footrest!

 

In a bid to get even more comfy, passengers are now using available seats in front of them as somewhere to rest their tired and weary feet. It’s now reached the point where drivers are making announcements asking passengers who are putting their feet up on seats to kindly remove them.

Are these people five? Is it really necessary to tell them that seats are to park your bum not your feet?

8. No littering the streets… but it’s OK to make the bus a complete mess.

 

People are beginning to understand that dropping litter on the streets is wrong. But they seem to think it’s fine to litter the bus until it resembles the inside of a dumpster. It used to be crisp packets and coke cans but now litter bugs have upped their game and added half eaten burgers; take away cartons and apple cores to the floors and seats of public transport. It’s such a mess that there are areas where no one will sit. And who do litter louts think will pick up after them? I’m sure ‘free maid’ is not one of the conditions of their travel card purchase.

9. Lean on me. When you’re not strong…

 

I consider myself to be a very mild-mannered person. So mild mannered in fact, that when the passenger beside me sat so close to me that he practically took up half my seat and was leaning against me so much that he had me pressed against the glass, I told myself that he probably didn’t realise. That’s right – he probably didn’t realise that he wasn’t just sitting next to me but he was sitting on me! I mean I’m so small, he probably didn’t even realise I was there. he obviously couldn’t feel that he was in such close contact with me… “EXCUSE ME!” I shrieked as I shoved him really hard and made my way to another seat. I was done making excuses for him. This was a man who clearly didn’t understand the concept of boundaries. And would you believe it, the same episode happened on another occasion – with the same idiot!

In fact just last week, a female passenger excused herself to the person she was speaking to on the phone to yell at the woman sitting beside her who was taking up more than her fair share of the seating area.

“What’s your problem?” snarled angry-lady-who’d-just-got-off-the-phone, “Your seat begins here and ends there. This is where my seat begins…”

I can’t people today are so stupid you have to show them how to sit.

10. The wheelchair access area is for wheelchair users? Really? No one told me that!

 

This one really makes me question people’s intelligence (or lack of) more than I already do. The wheelchair access are on buses is exactly what it says on the tin – an area for wheelchair users. When there are no wheelchairs, it can be used for prams, strollers, trollies, luggage etc. But as soon as a wheelchair user wants to use it, you have to clear the space. Simple, right?

Wrong!

Despite repeated announcements from the driver to clear the wheelchair access area as there is a passenger waiting to use it, the person whose belongings are hogging up the space has suddenly lost their sense of hearing. In fact they seem to have developed amnesia as well because when other passengers tell them to clear the space, they look completely baffled as though they can’t ever remember leaving anything in the wheelchair access area. In the end, the wheelchair user gets so fed up they tell (‘tells’ putting it mildly) just to move on.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw an extremely lazy woman act as though it was such a mission to remove her pram from the area and let a wheelchair user on. So she stayed on the bus despite the bus driver getting a right ear-bashing – only to get off two stops later. selfish and inconsiderate don’t even come close!

But of course, most of the above happen if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you’d have to witness mindless acts of violence or theft. Who can forget the videos we’ve seen of passengers who think nothing of hurling racist abuse at other people. And today, we ‘ve been confronted with images of a young lady being viciously kicked in the stomach. It’s easy to suggest that people complain but these days you really take your life in your hands if you dare to open your mouth – even if you’re in the right.

All of the above indicates that many ‘people’ (if you can call them that) now see it as their right to behave however they wish, wherever they are. People just don’t realise that if you’re decent, there’s a code of conduct when you’re out and about in public. If you don’t give a damn about other people, maybe you’re better off staying at home – it might be the best place for you.

 

 

Excuse Me Kid, Teacher Needs To Get Past!

 

There are some things about people I swear I will never understand…

I think by now it’s crystal clear that one of my pet peeves is people who have no sense of spatial awareness. I have absolutely zero time for people who inconvenience others and show no consideration for them by hogging room; invading their space and blocking access to entrances and exits thus wasting everyone’s time. It’s something so basic that it annoys the hell out of me when I see it because it indicates a sense of entitlement and arrogance.

I absolutely love my job as an English teacher and consider myself very fortunate to get up every morning to go to a job I enjoy; I get to work alongside great colleagues and meet some fabulous people from all over the world.  But one thing that really p***es me off is when groups of students congregate in some of the most inappropriate places making it difficult for the rest of us to get by. I mean did they really think they had the whole school to themselves?

Take yesterday for example. I had just finished one class and was on my way back to the staff room when I realised that I was caught up in very slow moving traffic on the stairs. That’s nothing unusual during the summer months when we have a massive influx of students and you will not be going anywhere in a hurry. However, we were not exactly heaving with students so I left my place in the orderly single file that people had formed to go down the stairs to see what was causing the hold-up.

 

Would you believe it? Some wally had decided to stop right there on the staircase… to read and reply to a text! Well that’s all right then. Never mind all the students who have to make it on time to their next class. Or the teachers who only have ten minutes to sort out paperwork; re-check schedules;  handover files to colleagues; have a smoke; grab a coffee or use the bathroom and make it to class on time with no excuses. But I can see how checking your messages is an emergency that warrants causing movement on the stairs to come to a standstill though I’m willing to bet that even President Obama responds to messages concerning global catastrophe with less urgency.

And talking of using the bathroom, you wouldn’t believe how many students don’t see anything wrong with standing right behind the closed door of the ladies toilets. It’s so stupid not to mention dangerous as they risk being walloped in the head – which is exactly what I have done a few times before apologizing profusely (once I’ve gotten over the shock of almost taking someone’s head off) while thinking, “just how dumb are you?” I understand that the queue for the ladies is sometimes so long that it goes halfway down the hallway but the smart thing to do would be to pull the door open and stand in front of it, enabling users to have a clear view of where everyone is and eliminating the risk of accidents.

A colleague even told me about a student he saw getting hit by a door as she stood right behind it. Instead of moving, she remained there – and got hit again!

“Honestly,” he exclaimed, “I couldn’t believe her stupidity. And why do students feel the need to congregate in doorways when there are so many other places where they stand and chat?”

Why indeed. but it seems that staircases, narrow hallways, doorways, in fact any where that can create an obstruction for people who need to pass seem to be favourite places for students to hang out and gossip. I have no idea why this seems to be a prime location for them – it just is.

There have even been complaints from the general public about students who crowd the main entrance of the school and spill out onto the streets making it difficult for people to get through. In fact there were so many complaints that the school had to put up a sign asking students not to gather in front of the school en masse. Surely that’s just common sense? But sadly as most people know, common sense is steadily in decline.

So next time Teacher hits you on the head when she opens the door, remember it was your own stupid fault!

 

People, Get Spatially Aware!

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Today, while on a fairly packed bus to get to a busy town centre in order to go to an equally busy supermarket, I was amazed at the number of inconsiderate people who thought they were the only people out on the street – causing me to get more than a little irritated. Crowding doorways; blocking aisles with pushchairs; dawdling too long by the veggies when I’m trying to reach for a packet of baby spinach; trollies heading straight for me and missing me by millimetres without so much as an apology or an ‘excuse me’ from the wreckless trolley-pusher… it seems that people have absolutely no awareness of other people around them. They think nothing of invading your space or getting in your way, causing you to waste time and lose patience. I also almost had an irate man crash into me while I was carrying several bags of groceries because he was too busy arguing with his wife and walking backwards (don’t ask!) without bothering to check if there was anyone else behind him on the very narrow pavement. This kind of behaviour isn’t just inconsiderate, I also find it to be quite arrogant. It’s almost as if other people and their space aren’t important.

 

I work in Central London and often walk to the station after work with a friend from work. It’s only a five minute walk to the station but on the way there, I’ve often lost count of the number of people who have bumped into us; hit us with their over-sized bags; rammed their buggies, strollers and trollies  or just stopped abruptly right in front of us while they answer their phone or rifle through said bag. Now, I know that all of this is just part and parcel of city life, especially when the city is one of the world’s most overpopulated. However, an apology in a situation like this would be much appreciated. My colleague is not a Londoner, but hailing from a major American city, she does  understand that this is what London life entails. However unlike me, she is not prepared to allow someone to get in her way and say nothing about it. She’s got something to say all right!

 

It seems like a sign of the times where it’s almost acceptable to be rude and not say sorry. And of course, no one wants to tackle anyone about their behaviour. It’s different for my American friend  – after all who wants to take on an angry American? – but most of us know that complaining can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth so we just keep quiet and accept that it’s just the way people are these days even though we are inwardly seething.

On a trip to Brighton earlier this year, a friend of mine later told me how surprised she was when as we were wheeling our stowaway cases along the streets of the seaside town, she noticed that I kept stopping to let people by and was aware of anyone who might be around me. well, of course I was. and it’s what any considerate person would do.

Sadly there don’t seem to be many considerate people around.

 

Would You Mind Asking Your Bag To Stand Please?

Even though I’m known for being quite mild mannered, there are certain things in life that make my blood boil. One of them are the selfish passengers on buses and trains who feel that their bags – and in some cases coats – need a well deserved sit down at the expense of other commuters.

It’s even worse on buses where I find people tend to sit on the outer seats, which already indicates that they do not want anyone sitting beside them. If they have personal belongings, this will then be put on the seat next to the window. I understand that sometimes people prefer to sit on the outer seats because it’s easier to get up and leave when they arrive at their stop. But the fact that they’ve seen all these people standing and are still not indicating that there is a free seat beside them only tells me that they wish to have two seats all to themselves, which is just plain mean and selfish. I’ve even seen elderly people standing while someone with absolutely no manners occupies two seats.

And I’m sorry to say it, being a woman myself, but women are by far the worst culprits. How many times have I seen them place a dinky little handbag or gift bag on a seat as though the bag is so heavy that they cannot possibly sit with it on their lap or that it’s so huge that they cannot rest it on the floor? Worse are the ones with lip gloss for brains who on a packed bus or train will spot an available seat and then put their bag on it while they stand! Don’t they realise they’d be saving a little more space if they just sat down – or allowed someone else to sit down? I sometimes feel like asking if their bag has it’s own Oyster card.

It’s just another indication of just how far society has regressed. We live in what is very much a ‘me, me, me’ society. People only seem to think about themselves and what is convenient or suitable for them. Consideration, courtesy and concern for other people went out of the window a long time ago. It’s sad but true. Confronting such people about their selfish behaviour isn’t an option either as this just leads to a very public and very heated exchange as no one likes to admit that their at fault – even if everyone else can see that they are.

I’ll be getting on the bus today… and no doubt there’ll be at least one person who will make me see red. And I don’t mean the bus!

 

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