Thursday, 19 January 2012

Musings about Optimism

On the back of my musings about why American’s seem to be encouraged to pursue things more eagerly than in other cultures I have encountered (namely, the British), I was listening to Radio 4 and an author was talking about her new book. She made the point that American’s view optimism as a positive thing, whereas in England we view optimism almost synonymously with delusion. It is an interesting point: Do we see our disdainful-selves as in some way superior to our optimistic counterparts?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Likes and Dislikes

I find it amusing to discover peoples likes and dislikes. I don’t mean ‘spiders’, and ‘the smell of fresh laundry’. I mean the kind of things that are not blatantly likable and dislikable. For example, I like it when there is enough water in the kettle to boil it instead of filling it up. I like it when you go into someone else’s kitchen, look for an item, and find it in the first place you look; as if there is some kitchen inventory law. I dislike the phrase “shits and giggles”. I dislike it when people paint one wall of a room and call it a “statement wall”. I dislike those ridiculous toe shoes; that people recently seem to think are acceptable. For starters, they are the most aesthetically displeasing items I have ever seen. A few months back, a rant against ‘walking boots’ would have filled this space, but these are off the normal scale of unnecessary visual vulgarity. I would have more sympathy for atheletes in these odd amphibian slippers, but to the woman I saw wearing them with jeans the other day; you just look like a frog in flares.  
This Christmas I have realised that one of my worst things are those pouches of tacky shower gel that have those valves that one usually only finds on inflatable mattresses. Whoever thought that combination of day to day components was advantageous must be an absolute maniac. I can only suppose said valve was invented to stop air escaping, so why anyone thought it was appropriate to put on, what is essentially, a bottle of shower gel is beyond me. It a moment of undignified maneuvering in the bath, I managed to get some on my leg - and then use that. And then feeling foolish at myself for exerting myself for such little gain, I threw it promptly in the bin.