2 Feb 2011

Hestia ...gets a bit ranty

I'm confined to barracks at the moment with hideous toothache (that two trips to the dentist have failed to resolve) and Sonshine who has been hit with the double whammy of a heavy cold and a sickness and diarrhea bug. Deep joy for all the family.

In the past six days I have had to travel to the mainland three times to variously go to the dentist, dinner and a funeral.

And one thing has become crystal clear in the course of my enforced sojourns on the mainland - We have lost our manners.

Where do I begin?

On Saturday I met up with two girlfriends for a spot of early dinner.  As I made my way to the restaurant to meet them, I had the misfortune to come into contact with a group of girls going on a night out.  They were all over 18, all wearing ass-skimming, rib-crushing body con frocks, topped off with high heels.  And, as one fiddled with her hemline, I was shocked to see that this young woman was not wearing ANY pants.  Not a thong.  Nothing. Just a waxed bare fanny.  And her dress barely covered it.

I was appalled.  Is this what women burned their bras for?  How did equality for women suddenly end up with The Right To Go Around With No Knickers On?  I suddenly felt old and hideously out of touch with How Things Are.

Here's another example from the weekend:  A pedestrian crossing operates successfully with the tacit acknowledgement that when people are waiting to cross, you have to stop your car and wait a couple of minutes until it's clear to go.  Well, that's not the unspoken rule now, if my experience on Saturday was anything to go by.

In darkest Greenock, I stopped at a crossing to let a mother and her be-buggied baby cross the road but the car in the lane next to me KEPT DRIVING as she stepped out onto the crossing!  He even TOOTED her!

A little further along the same road, a YOUTH (read: brainless neanderthal who should never have been allowed to carry car keys, never mind be allowed to drive) approached the give way at his junction AT SPEED and carried on around - into my path - without looking for oncoming traffic (ie ME).  If I hadn't hit the brakes and come to a sudden stand-still, we would have been t-boned.  If there had been a car behind me - what's the betting I'd have been done for driving without due care and attention?

Believe me, I rained many a colourful profanity on the back of his beanie-clad and empty little skull as he drove along in front of me in his Ka (I suspect it was his mother's tootle-around) and then he suddenly shot left at the lights - through a RED light - with no indicators.

By the time we shuddered to a standstill at the ferry queue, I was feeling utterly despondent.  In the lane next to me sat a large delivery van and I watched, in my mirrors, the young driver making his way down the queued up cars with his ferry ticket.

As he got to his lorry door, he emptied his pockets of paper and rubbish RIGHT THERE ON THE GROUND.

I was apoplectic.  To Sonshine's embarassment, I got out the car and picked up the papers.  Reader, I would love to tell you that I opened his lorry door and flung the rubbish into his cab with a well-placed epithet.  Instead, I quietly picked them up and put them in the bin.

Is it me just me? Aren't these niceties and rules and regulations the things that keep us safe and civilised? I am reminded of the Tarot card, The Emperor: He's all rules and regulations - but he also represents the safe space between, where we can all be ourselves and be safely free.

I can't count the times I have been out with Sonshine (currently hors de combat on the sofa with flushed cheeks and a glass of water) and been the only parent to reprimand their child for bad behaviour.   He can't understand why he's the only one being told off when all the others are doing it.  Another mother once dismissed my irritation with the situation saying that she wanted her son to be independent and that this was all part of it.

But surely, you can still bring up a child to be sure of himself AND respectful of other people? Sure, Sonshine didn't think it was fair and he probably hated me for making him stop running around in the restaurant - but life isn't fair and I'm big enough and tough enough to cope with the ensuing whining about it not being fair.

Am I showing inconsistency though?

By bemoaning the litany of dreadful behaviour that I experienced over the weekend, am I being like my son and having a whine about Life Not Being Fair?  Do I need to just man-up and put up with it?

But, if we tolerate EVERYTHING, how long until we are utterly feral?

I think I might need a whisky and ginger ale.

PS - a Hestia result regarding the ongoing problems about my neighbours bins lying out all week.  Today the Council took them all away and brought a couple of large 'chest' type bins for their rubbish. Reader, they have brakes and weigh a ton!!!  I will no longer have to drag myself out of bed in the middle of the night to pick up bins rattling their way down the street, spewing their rubbish all over the road.

Am I officially just a bloody old nuisance?


  1. Great post I am so totally with you.. I sometimes wonder what has happened to the world.. I am so isolated from people that I forget just how rude they can be.. When I meet a helpful smiley person who is considerate .. I am so delighted.
    I hate litter too .. especially when people go outside of my house to smoke.. when I tell them its perfectly ok to smoke inside.. they leave the fag butts on the patio.. I know its a building site at the moment but still its my building site..respect xx

  2. Well I entirely agree with you so I must be a bloody young(ish) nuisance then! I hate how ill mannered people are nowadays.

    Having nearly been wiped out twice at the same roundabout in consecutive days, I'm particularly fecked off with crap drivers who can't read road markings or use their indicators or mirrors.

    And grrrr, I wish people weren't so bloody awful at parenting. Kids can be brought up to be independent, interesting members of society without being allowed to do anything they damn well please.

  3. You're a grumpy old woman :-P
    BTW, it's The Law (down here in civilization, at least) that a car MUST give way to a pedestrian, and especially so on a zebra crossing: yer man there was breaking the law.

  4. What Vivianne said - that fellow was breaking the law. I've been nearly knocked over by a bus going through a red light over a pedestrian crossing and was saved by the fact that I look.

    I'm sure I've been ill mannered though so try to be understanding when people fail to stop at zebra crossings and so on.

    I think your stance with Sonshine will stand him in good stead though. One of my favourite things about M is that he has been brought up to be a proper gentleman and is one. So really you are doing him a favour :-)

  5. I totally agree.
    I've seen the knickerless young girls,what are they thinking,its so not a good look.
    And rubbish makes my blood boil,in the pub people are always throwing things to the floor,completely different set of etiquette standards to their own homes,and the ones who allow their children run riot in here,I mean I have children myself and want to make them welcome,but last week we found a couple of very young toddlers shampooing their dolls hair with my expensive hand soap,water all over the bathroom floor.Only found out what they were doing when one of them came and asked if we had a brush she could borrow...Unbelievable.

  6. Dear Ali, I don't blame you for having a rant.

    I think manners cost nothing and am always polite to everyone, especially the grumpy ones! Love bombing them often works.

    I hate litter and once threw a man's McDonalds carton back in threw his car window I was so cross that he flung it out.

    I'll join you in the whisky and ginger. When are you coming to London?? xx

  7. It's not just you! We have always pressed our children to behave appropriately. The result: we are regularly complimented on their behaviour and they have been known to tell off their friends for being too noisy!
    On the subject of knickerless girls. Nothing new I'm afraid. Remember the old chestnut "Why do Essex girls wear white stilettos? To hide the dandruff (in case you've never heard it in the 30 years it's been around)

  8. This is appalling, but nothing new I am afraid. I used to be a radical when it came to litter, which was (still is) the thing that drives me to distraction. I stopped to pick up a fast food bag full of crap that a driver of an open top car threw out over his shoulder and bounced off my windscreen. At the next lights, I pulled along side, opened it up and dropped it over his head.
    You can't do things like that in the States as you are likely to get shot. So now, I just pick them up and drop them in the next available trash can. If I were King for a day, littering would be a capital offense.

  9. I'm off on the next train to Wales, who knew Ruby let people smoke indoors, I would love to smoke indoors, relaxed watching the t.v.
    Anyway you could guarantee if I went out with any knickers on, the painters would come in! (see I'm not that old, they still come a couple of times a year).

  10. Bloody fecking Norah! No knickers??!!! I am blinking in astonishment and horror. And yes, I have often been the only parent berating my child - and I don't think it has done him any harm at all (and I wish more parents would do it).
    Rant on, m'dear....it suits you!
    (still slightly disappointed that this wasn't the 'randy' blog - but still darn good. :)

  11. I'm sure that showing one's fanny in public breaches the laws of decency (or whatever they're called), failing to stop at a crossing is against the law and so is dropping litter, so this isn't just bad behaviour but criminal behaviour. Yet, if the police got involved in any of these, they would probably get criticised for not chasing "real" criminals. So who are the "real" criminals? Is indecent exposure a real crime? Is dangerous driving a real crime? Is littering a crime? Yes, of course, they all are. Every crime is a "real" crime no matter how big or small, in fact if more small crimes were dealt with then perhaps there wouldn't be so many big crimes.
    In some countries now it is becoming commonplace to drive with a video camera on one's car dashboard recording what's going on and is apparently very useful in insurance and/or criminal investigations.
    Anyway, to get back to the point, I don't think it's a matter of just putting up with and tolerating everything. If we can't do anything about it then there is no point in getting upset about it - the only person you are affecting is you and yours. I don't mean that we shouldn't care or be concerned - it's what we do with those feelings that we need to look at. We all enjoy a good rant now and then - so rant, and then let it go - don't hang on to it, especially if it's something out of your control. That's when we become bitter and twisted (or in your case a bloody old nuisance, lol) - when we allow ourselves to become inwardly and outwardly affected by the actions and behaviour of others.
    You did the right thing by picking up the litter without confrontation and it wouldn't have been wise to confront the knickerless hussy. As for the dangerous driving - a video camera would have done the trick - something for us to think about for the future maybe. I wonder if insurance companies would offer discounts if there was a video camera recording all journeys (now there's a thought).

    And some more police wouldn't hurt either. :-)

  12. Ali -

    I agree with you 110%! I expect people to behave, not dump trash, etc. For a while I thought it was me getting "older", then I realised that while indeed I was getting older (thank heavens - not ready for the alternative yet!),I was also being true to my beliefs.

    Hang in there Hestia!

    BTW - Bonnie really thinks these columns would do well to be put into a book. Seriously.


  13. you know i'm with you on this! and whatever you do, do not change your behaviour to fit the morons, please. continue to raise your child in a way that will make him have self-esteem tied to actual accomplishments instead of just feeling good about hizself cuz he's so speshul.

    as for the other stuff? i wish i didn't give a shit, but alas i do. one thing i've learned though, is that yelling at the retreating back of a motorized ijit, will hurt you more than him. you know what will hurt him? a hand grenade up the ass, but sadly, i hear that's illegal.

  14. Instead of addressing all your points individually, I wanted to comment in a single response.

    first of all - thank you each and every one for reassuring me that I'm not being unreasonable about this ;-)

    It's always nice to know you're not alone when it comes to things that make you feel frustrated and impotent!

    In The 7 Habits of Successful People book, the author talks about our own 'circle of influence'. Getting steamed about things outside our circle of influence is useless - we need to do what we can within our own circle and, if we constantly strive to increase our circle of influence (by whatever means - initiating projects, getting involved in groups or causes etc) then we may eventually discover that what used to be OUTSIDE our circle is now INSIDE and that you CAN do something about it.

    I have resolved to do what I can within my circle of influence which is to

    a) set a good example myself
    b) love bomb 'offenders' as
    c) Work on extending my circle of

    All sounds very worthy, doesn't it?! But better that than end up having a stroke because I'm so infuriated by other people's lack of courtesy :-)

    BTW I still ended up out in the street at midnight last night, pulling the brand new massive bins back off the road where they had blown. At least the police turned up to help. And no, no-one had reported me to them for moving their bins lol!

  15. oooh I know what you mean....I would say 1 in 3 times I use the zebra crossing a car whistles past me at which point i involuntarily scream abuse and raise the finger....and Saturday nights should be renamed lewd nights...why the bigger the girl the smaller the clothes???

  16. YaH - I have a friend whose grandson went to prison for a year (no bail permitted because he'd been driving without insurance at one point) on rape charges.

    He phoned his granny every night begging for her to get him out and crying.

    The case was thrown out of court in 10 minutes.

    He lost his job. He had his name splashed all over our local paper. He got no support offered to him when he was discharged.

    He was no angel, but he was no rapist either. We've yet to see whether his life has been ruined by her accusations.

    But when I saw this girl with her bits clearly unclothed, I couldn't help but wonder about some other young man who might encounter her later on that night - what kind of message is she sending out? And what is she doing for other young women?

    I despair sometimes...


  17. Excellent post Alison, riveting, shocked about the knickerless girls (not very subtle or are they just getting the air to it??) and always disgusted by people dropping litter, find it appalling; go, girl go, you are not alone (I am now calling my car the OldBatMobile, I am proud that I have achieved Old Bat status). xx

  18. Blighty - oldbatmobile!!! Love it!



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