I have it on medical authority (Dr Google) that simmering in a stew of unexpressed negativity can cause serious illness. Which is why I’m going all out this week with a bit of spleen venting.
I little more irritating are phone help lines. You’re routed to a call centre and talk to someone called Patricia or Steven. Their real names are probably Pratibha and Sandeep. They are patient and polite. It’s not that they’re Indian, or talking to you from Mumbai that’s the problem. It’s just that they can’t give local service from somewhere so totally foreign to your situation.
When it takes six phone calls to a a call centre just across town to resolve something easy, the Bollywood Call Centre is a bridge too far.
While we’re on the subject of screens, let me mention that I hate videos in restaurants. One eatery in Nelson has no less than 18 big screens suspended on its walls, each one tuned to a different sport or music video. Another eatery has 8 screens which depict, rather redundantly, the restaurant you are sitting in and the food you are eating.
Women’s magazines which exploit and exacerbate women’s anxieties about their bodies really need a whole hate category of their own. Diet advice sits alongside lusciously photographed food and recipes. Articles tut-tutting about anorexic movie stars alternate with cruel photographs of movie stars who have “piled on the kilos”. What’s a girl to do, except turn to the mathematical vacuity of articles like 169 Things to Do this Month, 11 Autumn Detox Ideas or 17 Rapid Beauty Fixes?
I'm on a roll now … it’s feels so good to get this stuff off your chest. Remember when you just lived your life? Now you have to have a lifestyle. Countless glossy “lifestyle” magazines are available to help you make the right “lifestyle choices, including the right house to live your lifestyle in. All the messy detritus of real life, including people, have been erased from the photos of these houses, as if a plague has wiped out everything except the most photogenic appliances, furniture and art works. The occasional Jack Russell is spared but is pictured sitting decorously on the Bremworth rather than digging frantically under the couch for a lost ball.
I am indifferent to rugby. There. I’ve said it. Like many other New Zealanders I’m about as interested in rugby as I am in stamp collecting - which is not at all. I’m not overcome with euphoria when the All Blacks win a game, nor am I plunged into despair when they lose. It’s just a sport for God’s sake. I hate the media coverage which implies we’re all mad devotees and that rugby is vital to the nation’s very existence.
I end this litany of whinging and complaint with an email I received from an American (who I am distantly related to by marriage) expressing rage at the re-election of Barack Obama. “We are fast on the way to ending up like Greece and Italy and Spain and all the other unimportant little European countries” he begins, and it’s all sputtering rage from there. “We have lost our will to succeed … we have crushing debt … a health-care plan causing doctors to quit the profession … minorities dutifully collecting their "Obama" money. The military is being stripped down to bare minimum, and on and on, and half the people in the country don’t care or don’t know or are just stupid. Our world has just ended. We can no longer call our country a world leader. We have a feckless President who hasn't the guts to stand up to Iran, who apologizes to the world for our faults … and still the people vote for his nice smile and sugary words. My world has ended and I don’t care what happens, I don't feel like I belong to this place anymore, surrounded by young people listening to their iPads while their world burns down around them”.
Now that’s what I call venting your spleen.