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Not Swimming But Running Away

If you were to write down a list of the top twenty most important things to you and a list of the top twenty annoyances and asked lots of people whom you consider to be like you, or friends or family to do the same, and then compared them, there would be a few disappointments in every list – disappointing ways of looking at the world that leave you wishing they didn’t think like that and you’d rather they saw things more the way you did.

I expect if you asked the whole world to do it and created a database you’d have difficulty finding someone with the same lists. All forty the same? It would be harder than winning the lottery, surely? But perhaps that’s easier to cope with when you don’t know them. It’s weird when people see things very differently from us but if they’re strangers then we can dislike people’s views, even dismiss them as wrong perhaps. ‘Oh, they’re just “other”.’

It’s a simple fact that there is NO ONE that sees the world EXACTLY like us.
I kind of accept that.
Someone else might say they are avid musical-theatre-goers, fans of Bruce Springsteen, think that their hamsters are the most important creature in the whole wide world and that Roquefort cheese should be a main meal on Sundays – just like I do*, of course! 😉 – but there will always be a disappointment in there, a niggle that instantly repulses me for a few seconds, minutes or hours perhaps. Maybe I will remember forever how, despite the fact that we have so much else in common, Susie in Chichester likes planting Leylandii trees and I can never forgive her for that. In fact a little bit of my love for her secretly died when I found that out.
(It’s okay, Chichester people, she’s not real).

We should accept differences, avoid confrontation, and get over it, yes? It’s a rare treat when we find people we feel comfortable being ourselves around and we should come to terms with the fact that we’re all a bit different, you can’t change people so just enjoy their company, right?

And yet I’m still disillusioned and disheartened regularly. I don’t know why. I guess I just want to find more people that I feel completely comfortable with. It would be like a holiday to not have stomach-churning disappointment each time someone said something that didn’t sit comfortably with me. If another parent mentions the words ‘Gina Ford’ for instance, I instantly think, Oh God. Please tell me you didn’t?! And then I never forget. We’re not the same. We have major parenting differences, I’ll think to myself forever and ever after that how I’ll never be able to have that discussion with them about how much I loathe Gina Ford…

If someone says they respect Alan Sugar, Simon Cowell or Jeremy Clarkson… (I have a list) I visibly deflate a little and hope I’m not the only one in the room who doesn’t agree with the person speaking. Sometimes I disagree so much with someone’s opinions that I would rather be alone because to stay in that person’s company would either mean having a disagreement or keeping quiet and being quiet means being unfaithful to my own values. I can’t stand the thought of either.

And then there’s the extreme.
Have you ever been in a position where you find yourself thinking, I don’t agree with what’s being said here. I’m the only person sitting at this table who thinks like this ? I have. Too many times.

I expect it is one of the reasons why I write. And why I use Twitter. If there is only a metaphorical table of people sitting staring at me in bewilderment/horror/shock/pity/ or whathaveyou all ready to disagree with me at the same time at least in writing I can get my own feelings across before they shout me down, patronise me or frighten me into silence.

When I say “frighten” I mean I don’t like arguing – so much so that I shake. Those within my shield of safety will laugh at this because I do argue with my husband. But I don’t like people throwing an entirely different viewpoint from mine in my face and either getting away with it without being challenged or preparing themselves to do battle with my views. It doesn’t change my mind it just makes me want to run away from confrontation. So I need people who see the world as closely as possible to the way I see it around me.

Exactly the way I see it, if possible.

Which, of course, is no one.

We should do that list. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours



Anybody there???

PS Near the top of my annoyances list would be:
There are far too many cat photos on the Internet. It drives me nuts. Seriously.

Cue dinner party table of people looking at me in bewilderment/horror/shock/pity/ or whathaveyou…

*I don’t like Bruce Springsteen, Roquefort or people treating their pets like children and I don’t go to musical theatre

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amanda O'Dell #

    Ummmm…Joss Whedon (tv & films), Deborah Jackson (parenting), Alfie Kohn (teaching), good food that’s tasty rather than fancy (would love to eat most meals in Italy), anything but pop (music), comfy shoes (although the more stunning the better), cycling, holidays in the UK, as little make up as I can get away with, sleep, wine, proper beer….and my bottom 20 would probably be more or less the mirror image of those 🙂 So let’s hear some of yours?


    • I’m going to write mine tomorrow. I’ve had wine now and the likes list will be a bit pathetic: hedgehogs, bees, all of the whole of the rest of nature, wine, orangutans, gorillas, baby bees, I’ll stop…
      The don’t like list is very much like Nettie’s (see below) Although I might have forgotten to put Donald Trump so high up! I would also add that I hate people thinking that noisy = strong. One of my pet hates


      • Amanda O'Dell #

        Weirdly I struggle to think of things I hate – I tend to avoid thinking about thinks that annoy me. Much less stressful 🙂


  2. Bridget Oliver #

    I am not sociable for the same reasons. I often feel embarassed on people’s behalf, when they seem quite happy making public some idiotic (in my eyes) belief Although I don’t mind the odd cat photo on the internet, especially Henri, the existential cat.


    • This is why Twitter is so fab, Bridget – because it helps people like you and me communicate and find like-minds when we’d normally be smiling nervously and moving on quickly before we took up too much of each other’s time. 🙂


  3. You’ll be sorry you asked this, Rach.
    1. Capitalism
    2 .Donald Trump
    3. People who cheat – at anything
    4. Tax avoiders
    5. Tories
    6. Organised religion
    7. Those who take advantage of vulnerable people, of all sorts.
    8. People who don’t like animals
    9. Men who are too insecure to love small furry dogs. Like poodles, frinstance.
    10. Lads mags.
    11. Eastenders, Coronation Street and all other soaps. Apart from Doctors which is awesome.
    12. Reality TV. Apart from Strictly and Come Dine With Me. You’re judging me now, aren’t you?
    13. Cruelty
    14. Bad manners.
    15. Customers who treat me like a piece of shit cos I work in a video store.
    16. Certain brands of cars I won’t mention for fear of offending someone.
    17. People who campaign against sustainable energy sources.
    18. Greed
    19. Jack Wills, Auben & Wills, Nike etc – brands who take advantage of young people’s insecurities and exploit them for profit.
    20. Airbrushed celebrities.
    I’ll stop now. But there are more, oh so very more.


    • These are your 20 favourite/ important to you things, right, Nettie?
      *runs away very fast*
      Actually I’m with you on almost all of those, and I love Come Dine With Me! (although I do like Eastenders when it has a good script.) I understand 15 because I used to work in a pub and got treated like a bimbo.


  4. A little part of me died when you said you don’t like Bruce Springsteen. I shall add this to your ‘mortal sins’ list including not liking Kylie. And we were getting on so well.
    I’d like to think I’m reasonably tolerant of people’s diversity of opinion but the one thing that really does me in are people who make sweeping statements about others e.g. ‘people who are on benefits / live on council estates are the scum of the earth’ brigade without any experience of what it’s like to live on benefits or come from a council estate.
    Right, off to plant Leylandii with Susie then golf with Jeremy Clarkson.


  5. Kathryn #

    Rachel, I love your honestly because I’m sure a lot of us (yes me!) have felt this way. Usually (this excludes Jeremy Clarkson) I can tolerate peoples’, in my view, inferior taste in … whatever 😉 ! I don’t take myself too seriously though as I’m often told by my children I’ve got dubious taste! I know that I will be judged as I judge. However, I find it intolerable when people are racist, sexist or any’ ist’ really – and usually find a way to subltly offer another ‘view’ as I’m now old enough to say what I wish, but privately think that I wouldn’t like to spend too much time with them. In terms of disagreeing, it depends on my own sliding scale of how much this ‘matters’ – I just hope that I/we are all allowed some dubious tastes, (I like Kylie and the Carpenters!) as it makes for a laugh, but perhaps I tolerate it as I am too aware of my own failings. Kathy x


    • An appreciation of Kylie is a sign of culture. Nothing to be ashamed of.


      • Kathryn #

        Hehe, I’m only a part-time user 😉



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