Live and let Live has always been my motto. Obviously if someone told me they were going to rob a bank I would probably try to dissuade them, I might even ring the police if I thought they were serious. Although I suppose it would depend on how I was feeling about banks at the time. Like most people of my generation I don’t like a sneak – as a child there was a constant cry of ‘Don’t tell tales’ when my brother and I complained about each other. And I think something similar should apply to unsolicited advice! But people love putting their oar in. It can be so annoying. I’ve got mirrors and a clever screen in my car that helps me reverse I don’t need somebody gesticulating wildly behind me when I am happily and safely negotiating my way out of a parking space. Lovely to know they are there and that I could call upon them if required but unless I ask I think you can assume I’m fine. Obviously if I was about to run over a small child or hit another car I would appreciate a heads up!
But moving on from that, what is it about people always wanting you to do things you know you won’t enjoy? Playing tennis for example – I never enjoyed playing tennis even when I was young, but that seldom stopped friends trying to persuade me however much I assured them that a) I have always been hopeless at tennis b) I wore glasses and they got steamed up if I ran around and c) I looked like shit in tennis clothes. If you go to New Hampshire in the summer there are people running around in cute white tennis dresses with visors and Ralph Lauren sweaters draped over the shoulders – they are all size six and below, they have perfect teeth and long tanned limbs. If I looked like that, I would never be off a tennis court.
When I was a child reading during the hours of daylight, unless it was absolutely tipping it down, was tantamount to a criminal offence. We would be forced out for ‘a walk’ that was not only considered to be good for us, but we were always told ‘we’d enjoy it once we were out’. It must have been deeply ingrained in me, because when I went to Australia and my son was six months old I used to take him out for a walk every day in his pram, and then leave him to sleep in the garden in his pram for his rest. A concept completely alien to Australians. My mother, sometimes prone to exaggeration and not the most maternal of women, claimed that I got frostbite on my cheeks as child because I was left in the garden in my pram in a snowstorm when she forgot about me!
Other activities that I have never participated in (despite many forcible suggestions) include going on a cruise and playing bridge.
‘You must go on a cruise, you’d love it’. If I had a pound…..etc. I know what would happen if I went on a cruise. The first night I would get stuck into the bar with an incredibly jolly couple while all the other dreary passengers had an early night. When I woke the next morning with a stonking hangover I would realise that I had managed to get extremely drunk and it would not take long for me to discover that the very jolly couple were in fact crashing bores. Thereafter whenever I tried to go into the bar or restaurant they would be there waving madly and crying ‘We’ve saved you a seat’. The whole cruise would be spent hiding, thus rather defeating the object of the exercise.
As for bridge. I’m far too stupid, have no card sense, a terrible memory and my maths is rubbish. I suspect that I would spend the entire time being shouted at or feeling completely useless. It seems to take up a long time and, to my mind, ruins a good meal and conversation, although most of my friends would disagree.
Sailing – there’s another thing. I love going on a boat that has a large sundeck, a well stocked bar and is moored in the Aegean. A small sailing boat in the English Channel skippered by a normally mild-mannered and peaceable man who suddenly starts screaming at me in a foreign language about aft and starboard and sheets and heads while I am trying to shelter from a howling gale, is not my idea of fun however much friends try to convince one otherwise.
Television – ‘Have you seen The Crown? You’d love it.’ I haven’t got time to see The Crown (and I’m quite confident that I wouldn’t love it) I’m far too busy watching ‘I Lived with a Killer’ and ‘Married to a Psychopath’ to watch such tittle tattle. And as for Ikea! Don’t get me started. Why do people insist that I’d love it, it’s so amazing apparently that you can spend a whole day there. Why would I want to spend a whole day in Ikea? I’m sure it’s a wonderful shop and I’m told the meatballs are to die for, but I still think I’ll pass.
Many years ago a girlfriend of mine gave me a list of things she had never done and these included going to a multi-storey car park, been in a lift on her own and gone for a walk after dark in the country. These ‘non’ events were as a result of fear – she had a vivid imagination and lived with the constant dread of a mad axe man waiting amongst parked cars in order to leap out and murder her. I used to think that she was being inordinately neurotic but it was her choice. I don’t think I ever tried to get her to change her mind, on the other hand I am increasingly impatient with friends who appear to be unwilling or unable to do anything with a computer. People who want to write me a cheque for instance instead of just transferring the money – but I realise that this is completely hypocritical! Just as it is my choice not to go on a cruise it is their choice to continue to write cheques. I think on balance I still believe in Live and Let Live, unless it is going to affect me! In the meantime if there’s something I want to do, I’ll do it – trust me. Otherwise, just leave me alone to be a grumpy old woman