Room 101

Many moons ago, my GCSE English teacher made us write a persuasive ‘Room 101’ speech. At the time, I had few cares in the world thus I threw some completely frivolous things into the pit of eternal damnation: namely, seagulls, feet and… something so pointless I can’t even remember it.

Now, with a few more wise years under my belt, I realise that feet, whilst I still hate them, are pretty necessary. Similarly, seagulls aren’t really that much of a hinderance to my everyday life. So it’s probably time to re-evaluate my list.

Firstly: incompetent people. So it might be totally un-PC to not accept this subculture as part of the rich tapestry of our diverse society. But really, just think how superior our lives could be without those little niggles causes by people getting things wrong.

However, once again, the ‘grown-up lobe’ of my brain started tingling as I realised that perhaps “incompetent people” would be too far-reaching. After all, without the newly employed Uber driver going round in circles, or the library worker issuing a card for Crowther, first name ‘The’ second name ‘Crow’, my anecdotes would be severely lacking in comedy at other people’s expense!

Thus I felt the need to specify, simplify, to streamline my search. Namely to people who can’t seem the differentiate between “your” and “you’re”, or “there”, “their” and “they’re”. Especially when making a heated retort; especially when they air their dirty laundry on Facebook (how very Jeremy Kyle.) This is partially because my inner grammar-nazi twitches uncomfortably at the sight of these words in their incorrect setting, but also because I believe this simple spelling test could be a window to the soul. A textual Tinder, if you will. Misusing “your” for “you’re” could instantly suggest a lack of care which seeps through into all other aspects of life and renders said person totally incompetent. It may seem shallow, but I’m swiping left.

Secondly: nail files; emery boards; whatever name you give them, they are a tool of the Devil’s own invention. If you can bring yourself to overlook the fact that they are a tool which shaves off particles of bone, with no means of catching said particles, thus leaving them to float freely in the air around, and air passages within, you, they still don’t get any better. They are a miniature, portable version of ‘nails being dragged down a blackboard’. They somehow blur the line between a woman’s make up bag and a carpentry toolkit. One’s hands are not an old piece of furniture in need of some TLC and a new lease of life. If you catch your nail on something, get the scissors out (or clippers, I won’t judge!); your fingertip will be rid of its annoyance within a fraction of a second, without the need to subject yourself and those around you to the torturous feel and sound of the gradual erosion of one’s skeletal matter. You wouldn’t allow someone to sit and grind their teeth at you, so why is nail grinding so socially acceptable, or even glamorous?! It must be stopped.

Finally (because you’re only ever allowed three, according to the laws of Room 101): Commuters on scooters. Despite the charm of their rhyming title, I am not referring to any chic image of hot mods, in suits, on Vespas. (Believe me, I think, if anything, we need a LOT more of those.) No, I am referring to the newfound acceptability of fully grown adults, functioning members of society, rushing down pavements on micro-scooters. Maybe it seemed the next logical step in the downsizing from car to bicycle to scooter, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look ridiculous. Picture Mr Incredible, far outsized for his vehicle, but throw in a pinch of ‘desperately running for one’s life…on one leg’.

What’s more, a scooter isn’t a big enough to hold its own on the harsh roads of London town, thus it’s relegated to the pavement. Once there, the scooter (referring now to the person scooting) has a choice to make: a) to scoot dangerously fast down the pedestrian highway, or b) to slow to the pace of the normal, walking people, thus rendering the scooter entirely pointless. It’s never going to be a worthwhile method of transport, so quit whilst you still can; before Boris comes up with his next genius invention: Santander Scooters.


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