A friend of mine recently said to me: ‘ You haven’t blogged about yourself recently’. He obviously said this in a fit of complete absent-mindedness, since he usually takes the view that everything I write is, in some way, about me.
I had been thinking I might lighten (or possibly darken) the mood by writing about things that really irritate me. As we get older, we are supposed to get more Victor Meldrew-ish. I haven’t noticed this about myself, but then I have been old since about the age of 14. Certain things have always irritated me.
As my list is rather a long one, I thought I would just write about one thing in particular that annoys me. It is prompted by an observation made by Troika21 in his comment on my post on decriminalising drugs. (I have now replied to all the excellent responses in that post.) He wrote:
“I’m twenty-two, I have never smoked, never consumed any drugs and [dramatic pause] I’m teetotal. This seems to bother people, if they don’t know about it, and find out, they seem to instruct me to take the beer or wine they offer, “But you can just have a drop” they say, yet, if I told them I took LSD or something, they would make tut-tut-ing sounds.”
I do so empathise. I’m in exactly the same position (other than the age, that is) and it really gets on my wick when people seem incapable of accepting I don’t drink alcohol. If someone asks if you smoke and you say ‘no’, the matter is closed. If someone offers you a drink and you respond ‘No thanks, I don’t drink’, they often seem incapable of accepting that you don’t drink. I variously get responses like ‘Not even on special occasions?’ (a response which is based on a rather pretentious premise), or ‘You can’t be tempted?’ or – worst of all – ‘Are you sure?’ Of course I’m sure, that’s why I say no, I don’t drink. What is it about certain people that they are incapable of understanding the word ‘no’?
I should add that I have never really found this a problem in the Lords. I know we have rather a lot of bars in the Palace of Westminster and there is a perception of a drinking culture, but I have found that I don’t need to repeat myself when declining a drink. For me, that adds to the attraction of the place. There really is something about the place that sets it apart. Including the fact that there are plenty of outlets where I can get a really good cup of tea…