Grumpy

by Steve

Mary is not a happy lady. She's holding up some drinking water. It looks grim.It’s Friday, it’s payday and it’s sunny outside. I should be full of joy and happiness. Yet I’m not. I’m monumentally grumpy. Everything is getting on my nerves today.

It starts badly. Well, badly if you’re in my grumpy little head. Everyone is either walking too fast, or too slow. Don’t these people realise there have been multiple studies showing that each town and city has a standard walking speed that the majority of occupants subconsciously keep to? Why aren’t they keeping to the standard speed? They are sabotaging the peaceful movement of an entire city! Get out of my way! Stop treading on my heels!

I get a coffee. Once they have placed their order, nobody seems capable of forming an orderly queue or basic chronological arrangement for receiving their coffee. They just loiter and hover, here, there and everywhere. The barista guy doesn’t know who to give the next coffee to. He calls out the coffee. Nobody answers. Eventually someone mooches up the counter and grabs their coffee, slowing the process even more. What happened to a basic sense of order? Why is nobody that fussed about claiming their order? And why do they then get so pissy if someone else claims their coffee after waiting through an interminable silence of not-claiming-time?

I get to work. My seat falls apart. The backrest completely detaches from the seat. I don’t fall. This appears to be a small mercy, then on further reflection I figure if I’d fallen off of it (without serious injury, but some kind of bruising or emotional distress and fear of office furntiure or whatever) I could have sued or something. Or at least gone home early. And this would have saved some annoying conversations I’d rather not go into here…

Lunchtime. I have to get out of the office. I just want to find somewhere to settle for a bit, sit and read and eat my lunch. This doesn’t appear to be too much to ask. Unfortunately everyone has had the same idea. I contemplate sitting outside, but while it is sunny it is also windy enough that al fresco dining isn’t going to be much fun. Plus the roadworks going on everywhere hardly create an atmosphere conducive to a peaceful lunch.

The corporate coffee shops are full of people ordering stupid drinks that look a lot like milkshakes. These stupid drinks take an age to make, so I decide against a lunch break standing in a queue. The cool coffee shops are full of people with stupid shoes hogging the tables while they eek out a small latte over hours, days, weeks whilst conjuring up some sort of bullshit on their iPad. I try a pub. I don’t even want a beer. I’m not convinced a beer will help said grumpiness. Or it will help, but too much, and I’ll lose all motivation to return to work. Still, a coke or something would be good. And a sit down. And a little peace to read. The bar area is empty. There are several staff. Excellent. Yet, somehow, over the course of several minutes, they contrive not to serve me. I give up. I have spent my whole lunch hour wandering about, pointlessly.

I head back to the office and compose this post. I figure the beauty of grumpiness is it is not like the will-sapping nature of feeling generally down. It is more closely related to anger, really. There’s less wallowing. Rather than wanting to hide away, I dare the world to make me more grumpy. And the key is to channel the grumpiness into more worthwhile endeavours. I’m not sure this post is worthwhile, but what can you do? It’s a start. I’m being creative and stuff. Like those iPad Drones.

However, I can’t let myself turn the grumpiness in on itself. I have to block out the reality that if you look closely at my grumpiness, peering into the depths of my Grumpy Soul, you’ll see self-pity, a sneering condescension, an unwillingness to accept that most people are decent, and a misplaced sense of entitlement. If anything the world should be grumpy at me. It’s no wonder they aren’t walking at the right speed.

Image from the US National Archives, via Flickr

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