Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Monday, 20 September 2010

27. Living alone

^ Look at how lonely this bear is. This is you living alone.

Shared accommodation can be a struggle at times. Even if you’re friends with all your flat-mates, living with them is always a very different process. It’s not like you come to dislike them as a person, but often the best of friends merely have rather incompatible living styles. It’s one of those intangible, wishy-washy “facts” of life. You simply learn unexpected things about them, the kind of things that only occur in a living environment. Banal things, like they're always using the telly when you want to watch Eastenders or their right foot clicks when they walk, creating audible discomfort akin to Chinese water torture. Having dealt with situations like that, you’d assume that you’d relish living alone. The independence, the freedom, the not having to deal with petty squabbles, the ability to wash dishes and tidy up on your own terms. It truly sounds glorious.

But no. No, it isn’t. There is nothing worse than being in a flat or house by yourself for an extended period of time. After the honeymoon period of a day or two, you are unceremoniously forced to deal with the reality that you’re just not that self-sufficient a person. You can’t entertain and look after yourself without any kind of outside stimulation. You are boring. Without other people in your house, you are nothing. You are a shell of inactivity, no longer motivated to exist due to a complete lack of human interaction. Dishes pile up as no one makes you feel shame for being such a slob. You start talking to yourself to make up for the lack of impromptu conversations you were used to before. Ultimately, for every little fight over late bills and dirty laundry you no longer have to suffer, you also lose every enjoyable aspect of cohabitation. No one to talk about your pointless day with, no one to have a couple of drinks with... hell, you can’t even actively ignore your flat-mates anymore because they’re not there.

Living alone for any period more than a few days will make you acutely aware that you are tedious, unsociable hermit who is afraid to leave the house for fear of needing to shave and having the dappling sun scorn your unhealthily pasty skin.

26. Cold reading

^ Hi, my name is Derek Acorah and I make appalling television shows like 'Michael Jackson Séance'. I also look like a greasy owl.

Cold reading is a despicable practice as far as I’m concerned. Often used to falsely convince people that they are communicating with their loved ones who have passed on, it is the epitome of emotional exploitation. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you watch this for a very good explanation (it's lengthy, but if you're reading this you clearly have nothing better to do with your life). The people who claim they have this supernatural power to talk to the dead are, of course, pathetically obvious charlatans; their only real skill being that they know how to manipulate an audience of people through the use of deliberately vague language and adapting it quickly should things not go their way. Now, most people in a rational state of mind should, I hope, be able to see right through their crooked game but that’s perhaps the most sinister thing about cold reading. You’re not attempting to manipulate the rational, the ones who’d be able to pick up on your inadequate fumblings in the dark. You’re picking on those who are emotionally drained from mourning and aren’t in the right frame of mind to dismiss your antics. Your shadows and mirrors merely provide horribly false hope that makes your victim's ultimate realisation of closure even more painful.

There’s no shame in trying to provide hope to the empty hearted in need of it. There is however much shame in lying to the vulnerable to line your own empty pockets.

25. People who don't get urinal etiquette

^ If I ever run a pub (very unlikely), this will adorn the male loos. Picture shamelessly stolen from somewhere on Google Image Search.

This is a problem that has plagued me for years and one I don’t think gets addressed properly in our repressed society. A male toilet typically consists of several urinals in which you can empty your bladder. Simple enough. If there are three urinals, you use either one on the furthest side. That way, should someone else enter, they will take the opposite side and there will be a polite one-urinal buffer zone between you two. Should someone else come in, they’ll take the empty spot and you’ll have to make do. That’s fine, that’s life. You deal.

But sometimes someone takes the centre spot when the sides haven’t been filled. You have a situation where there is no polite buffer zone and instead an uncomfortably close pissing session made worse by the mockingly empty urinal on the far side. I was once in an empty six urinal toilet (fancy, I know) and chose an innocuous spot on one side to drain the lizard. Someone else comes in and stands directly next to me, despite there being five more empty toilets. Right next to me. That’s just antagonistic. It’s like he wanted to challenge me to a urination contest. I don’t even know what that would entail but it sounds inappropriate. Needless to say, I got stage fright and had to pretend I was peeing until he left. Awkward.

And yes, I am this neurotic.

24. The repetitiveness of sketch shows

^ Every once in a while, I just sit in my room shouting random numbers, waiting for someone to tell me that it's Numberwang. It's a very lonely game.

I used to really love sketch shows but after a while, you realise they’re all the same thing. They find one or two sketches that are moderately funny and repeat them for an entire series, barely editing the premise of the joke in order to establish some continuity of a catchphrase and character. This occasionally works well (That Mitchell & Webb Look’s ‘Numberwang’) and more often than not, becomes tired and annoying (That Mitchell & Webb Look’s ‘Numberwang’). Sketch shows are increasingly devoid of original sketches, depending on a small set of scenarios that they hope to repeat ad infinitum until you reach the point where you watch an entire series only to notice that every episode of it was indistinguishable from the last. It’s not even like the series are long – what, about six episodes per series? And you’re telling me you couldn’t come up with six episodes worth of original material? Then you shouldn’t be making a sketch show. Come back when you’ve got enough material for a series and until then, stop taking the easy way out.

Oh, and whilst we’re on the topic, yes Catherine Tate, I am bothered. I am bothered by the putrid visual display you call ‘The Catherine Tate Show’. You’re about as funny as a hernia*.

*Joey having a hernia in Friends is the exception to the rule 'hernias aren't funny'.