My personal psychiatrist, Dr Clint Hyundai, who graduated with honours from The University of Ulsan in South Korea a few years back, has given me a homework task as part of my therapy. He asked me to make a comprehensive list of all the things that annoy me.
I protested that I would be writing that list forever if I tried to cover absolutely everything. "Okay," he said, "just write down ten things that immediately come to mind. You can put them in your blog if you wish."
So here goes...
- The sight of people putting their feet up on seats - say on a bus or in a pub or a cinema. Don't they know that someone else will sit there before long? You never know what dirt you might have picked up on your shoes.
- Fly-tipping in the countryside. When anti-social numbskulls drive to isolated locations and dump their detritus - be it household rubbish or a builder's waste. There's no need for this and who the hell do they think is going to clear up their rubbish?
- Single use plastics and overuse of plastic in packaging. It is about time that manufacturers became a whole lot more responsible about their use of plastic. Tragically, the planet already suffers far too much from plastic waste. At times it seems as if we are drowning in plastic.
- Scam phone calls and e-mails. Over the years I think I have done well to sniff out this criminality and have never fallen into any scammers' traps. Linked to this, I wonder why governments and other forces of the law are not doing more to block scammers and bring them to justice. That's annoying too.
- Inappropriate use of smartphones. This includes parents checking out their phones when they should be focused on their little sons and daughters. It also covers people being glued to their personal phones in workplaces - and, based on my recent hospital visits, that includes nurses in hospitals!
- Taxis. I said taxis, not taxes! So many taxi drivers seem to think that they should rule the roads when many of their driving habits are terrible. Pulling out from junctions causing other drivers to brake heavily, undertaking, not using their indicators, stopping at unsuitable places, honking their horns and doing U turns. Very annoying.
- Queue jumping. Most British people understand the unspoken rules of queuing and waiting your turn very well indeed but occasionally you encounter queue jumpers whose selfishness is infuriating. The other day I had to wait several minutes for a bus to arrive. I was first in the queue. I put my arm out to stop the bus but a young woman with headphones attached to her mobile phone jumped in front of me. I said "Excuse me!" quite loudly but her headphones were blocking out all extraneous noise.
- Belts that don't work or don't last. Maybe this is to do with the shape of my body but I am always having trouble with belts. I want them to keep my trousers up and help to keep my shirts tucked in and I don't want the surface layer to disintegrate within a month of the purchase date either. Is that too much to ask for?
- TV commercials that break up one's concentration on a programme or film. In Britain, I guess we are quite lucky because our BBC channels contain no intermittent advertising whatsoever. I like it that way but if I happen to be watching a commercial channel, those interruptions are really very irritating.
- Careless parking. In particular, I am thinking here about the grass verge outside our house. For thirty three years I have striven to keep it green. I mow it. I repair it. I have painted half a dozen bricks white and placed them on the kerb stones but still we have problems with idiots parking on the verge. It's worst in winter when the verge is softer and the grass is dormant. Linked with this, I am also annoyed about the grass cutting contractors who turn up every so often and do an awful, cursory job - often scalping the grass with their unsuitable sit-on mowers.