Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't get me started

I might just start this up as a tag if anyone wants to join in. Anyway, lately I have found myself adding a comment here and there on other blogs, and finishing with "Oooh, don't get me started".

I'm a typical Brit in that I often see the glass as half empty rather than half full. And having lived for 18 years in the land of the constantly happy people, false jubilance gets right on my you-know-what's. Most people who know me wouldn't describe as particularly curmudgeonly, but there are quite a few things that find me up on a soap box, ranting like a banshee. These include (but are not limited to)

- drivers on the phone. Despite the almost universal ban now on cell phone usage while driving, more than once a day I see some idiot trying to maneovre a huge gas-guzzling car round a tight corner, with only one hand because the other one's holding the cell phone to the ear. Furthermore, the driving hand (if you can call it that) isn't even gripping the wheel securely, but placed flat for maximum spinning ability. If you must talk on the phone, put your ear piece in or use a hands free phone. And don't attempt corners.

- sales assistants who adopt a fake, (and terrible) English accent when dealing with me. Yes, it happens. It's usually young guys for some reason, and I'm sure they aren't meaning to be rude, but I wonder would they do it if I were Bangladeshi or South American. They end up sounding like a cross between the late Queen Mother and a member of the Monty Python team. One of these days I'm going to say something terribly unamused-sounding and see what happens. Who am I kidding - I'd be far too embarrassed to do that.

- my kids when they answer the phone to a number they don't recognize. We have Caller ID fer crying out loud. If you see a toll free number showing up, it means they don't know us and are trying to sell something. (Again I'm too nice to hang up or be rude so I end up pretending to be an au pair.) The 5 year old is learning to answer the phone, which usually makes cold callers hang up instantly. I should encourage his habit.

- fancy tea bags. I ran into a coffee shop this morning to get a much-needed second cuppa. I was faced with a pleasing arrangement of attractively packaged single tea bags yet not one of them seemed to promise a nice, brown beverage. We had African Red Bush, Organic Chai, Alert (which sounded promising last time but had a nasty herby taste to it), Calm (no, don't need that in the morning), Earl Grey (again, not in the morning), and Ginger Blossom (yuch). "I just want a bloody cup of tea" my inner voice screamed. I think I will start carrying my own tea bags round with me in case of emergencies.

- kids who seem to think this house is occupied by an army of fairies. That would include the Take-it-up-the-stairs Fairy, who, yes you've guessed it, flits around the house, gathering all the scattered belongings into neat little piles then takes them all to the appropriate bedroom. We also apparently have the I'll-Just-Borrow-Mom's Fairy, whereby family members see an item that belongs to mother and decide to borrow it without telling her, and better yet, without ever putting it back. Such items include, but are not limited to, ear-rings, hair products, pens from her bag, post-its with her name on, and of course, house keys. Then there's the very clever Mind-Reading Fairy who knows when children need to dress up as Egyptian Phaorohs at a moment's notice, who can divine when teenagers need that specific pair of jeans washed and ready for a specific event, and who puts the $5 bill into the back pocket for the treat/teacher gift/bake sale that mother wasn't told about.

Yes friends, I'm not having a good start to the week. Grrr.



  1. I think l'll juts borrow your list!!!! its good enough for me...print it out onto the fridge. sorry you cant get a decent cuppa. DO you want some sent to you no prob! just when and where, email me.

    I may just take up the tag...

  2. Well first of all I'm that extremely rare bird - a Brit' who's glass has pretty much been half-full throughout my life, which is why I love the USA far more than the UK I guess!

    Happy to report the copyiing the accent doesn't happen too much out here, but I'll be prepared for my upcoming Chicago trip!

    The driving cellphone thing drives me nuts too and out here they're in huge Pickups!

    Fianlly do what I do with cold callers "Uh, you do realise you've called England, right?" Works everytime!

  3. Brit Gal - LOVE IT! I'm going to have to try that on cold callers.

    There is something I hate, and I'm going to mention it, because I can see that your day is not going well, and I bet, I just bet, this happens to you. It's when you leave a tissue/Kleenex in the pocket of a pair of trousers/pants, and put them in the washing machine/large machine that makes a lot of noise and fills up with water but doesn't get clothes clean. You end up with tiny tiny bits of white clingy stuff all over the whole load. I hate that.

  4. I heartedly agree with you. I get so sick of explaining I'm not from New Zealand or Australia & I do not know the queen very well either before you bloomin ask!

    Those fairies also live in my house.

    I confess I do carry my own tea bags's just not worth the risk anymore! If I see a cup go in a microwave to warm the water for tea I always have to suddenly leave!

  5. FF&F - aw thanks pet. Like Daffodily, I will just have to start carrying the old PG Tips around when outside. I usually have a good stash at home thank god.
    Sarah- yes, two years of A level Philip Larkin, (The Less Deceived, to be exact) will make you a half-empty kind of gal.
    Iota- I do that all the time but usually find if you whisk them around a bit in the dryer, the tissue comes off.
    Daffy - I should have added in my post, that I recently bought American t-bags (aagghh) which boasted of not having any staples. Took me ages to figure out that they assumed everyone micro-waved the water. Yuck!

  6. drivers on the phone- I read the other day about a woman who got done for driving while breastfeeding her baby AND talking on a mobile phone. Talk about stupid multitasking

    In France you sometimes get salespeople and friends of friends when you're introduced to them start speaking French in a fake English accent. I think they're trying to make fun of themselves but it comes across as incredibly insulting...they crack themselves up...

  7. God, you've made me laugh - just read your previous post as well. I like black pudding (and I know what it's made of)I can't see that it's any worse than any of those 'lips 'n eyeballs' combos. Ooh and house fairies! The rubbish bin (trash can?) fairy, the toilet roll fairy. Mind you when I left the girls' dad I was very shocked to find there wasn't a dishwasher fairy!

  8. I like the idea of this as a tag. Might try

  9. Even if I carried my own tea bags, the chance of getting BOILING water to make the cuppa with is precisely zero. (Except chez my friend in Vermont who is English!)

    I love Sarah's response to telemarketers. I've started saying I'm just the babysitter, or "So sorry, but we're about to leave the country for good." One eejit responded, "Oh really? Why?"

    The fairies have gone on strike around here - and yesterday afternoon I actually got DD to clean up most of the trail of mud from the back door to the upstairs bathroom!

  10. There's nothing like a good cuppa. Must be made with boiling water though.

    Drivers on the phone..... there's never any one to nab them is there. It is so annoying & dangerous.

    In our house we have the Good Fairy and the Bad Fairy. If anything goes wrong of course its due to the bad one. I reckon I must be the Good one that does all the hidden little things!

  11. Blimey you are having a grumpy moment - drink a bottle of wine. You'll be fine x

  12. Everyone in the Midwest must be smoking something because I would not describe the people where I live constantly happy. In fact, on most days I think people are fairly miserable. They certainly are not very nice to each other.

    I agree on the fancy tea bags. All I want is a PG. Of course, I never get it unless I packed my own.

    The fake English accent? All I can say is sorry.

    In my house we have a "close the kitchen cupboards fairy." The son's chores includes unloading the dishwasher. He likes to open all the cupboards and then forgets to close them afterward. A peculiar habit and very irritating.

  13. Everything you wrote on that list fits me to a tee except the glass half empty! The fake accent thing drives me nuts. Once my husband got told "I didn't know they spoke English in England" - I am completely serious.

    Oh and the tea, the tea thing drives me crazy.

  14. Fake accents - my mother in law puts on a fake Irish accent when she's talking about my mum (yes, you've guessed it, she was Irish). So far I've manged to stop myself being really rude in return but one of these days I may snap...!

    Fairies: we have a wet towel fairy. Music practice fairy. Putting the milk bottles out fairy (and, yes, we still get milk in glass bottles delivered to our door). Rubbish bin fairy. Bill paying fairy (Note to self: must teach husband to use the online account).

    The tea thing would drive me nuts.

  15. I live in Albania & I rarely see ANYONE driving a car NOT on the phone. I am NOT joking, drives me nuts. And they're usually coming at me the wrong way up a one way street. But don't get ME started on what drives me mad here. Can't get a decent cuppa here either. I mean honestly....

  16. Don't get me started on booking train tickets. At least you are spared that in the US. After much research, pulling out of hair and a trip to a station to speak to a real person we were told that three tickets to London could cost us anywhere between £25 and £120!!!! So how much, then? In the end it's cost us £103 - and that's with a Family Railcard!!!!!

    I can feel a whole other post coming on.........

  17. I have given up on proper (builders) tea. It got to the point where it was so impossible to attain that eventually it was easier to do without. I get really irritated with everyone driving on the phone - but it is even worse when someone has their phone held up in their line of vision to text...the mind boggles. And the final thing that really gets my goat? Drink driving. Most Americans seem to do it. Even the lovely American mums I know, who are smart, savvy, intelligent women, think nothing of downing a few cocktails or a bottle of wine over dinner/at a bookclub and then driving home.

  18. Oh yes, the drink-driving thing. The Ball & Chain and I always take a taxi when we go out, and our friends always assume it's because we're worried about parking. Hello?

  19. Find me at

  20. Hello there
    Love your blog and am coming out of lurkdom to say have been through lots of these over the years in US, Canada and in UK.

    'Love your accent' gets on my goat
    'Oh you speak English in Australia'

    Phone to ear is rife down here however we do usually get boiling water (and another jug of hot water as well if we are lucky) for our tea when out although I did see someone put the cup in a microwave the other day. Thankfully I was having a cappuccino - made with the lovely steam wand - but there are risks with those as well. Luke warm coffee is not my favourite drink lol
    Take care

  21. I agree with people trying to "do" a British accent, it makes me cringe......

    Gill in Canada

  22. Oh my word - people really try to do a British accent - blimmin 'eck. That'd get my goat too :-D

  23. I once asked a gay American if he was British, 'because of his accent'. He wasn't amused... Have to say that my hearing isn't the best and that this was loooong before I lived in the UK.

  24. Don't forget about people who can't the difference between having their brights on or off at night :)


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