Because it’s strange and surprisingly varied the things people care about, or more to the point how much they care about them. You think you know someone and then one day, blam! They tell you they see Jeremy Kyle as a moral compass, or never really liked the Indiana Jones films. The more people you meet the more you realise everyone’s barometer of what’s normal and what matters is different, and completely relative to the circles they are moving in.
Over the years the opinions and habits of your close family and friends get drilled into you and set a benchmark; it can be bewildering and disturbing when one day you find yourself moving in slightly different circles and find people noticing an unthinking practice, interest or attitude of yours - that has never been called into question before – and flagging it up as unwise, unattractive, bizarre or in some way tut-worthy. It’s tempting to think “OMG, I am actually a freak after all and I just never realised it all these years” – but then you get to know yet another set of people and find they have yet another perspective; and you realise perhaps you should have explained to the first lot that their ideas of what is acceptable and standard perhaps really wasn’t so f***ing universal, as they thought. The weirdos.
On the other hand, something you have been ribbed for for years by your home crowd can be immediately accepted by outsiders and that is nice, isn’t it, now.
Basically everyone thinks their shit is the norm, or what should be the norm – but my gosh, we are so tied to the culture, conditions, place and time we were formed in, even if we rebel against it. As a townie, I recall just how utterly alien it was to visit my first country show, for example, as it slowly dawned on me that much of the stuff that filled the lives of these people were things I had thus far happily lived without even being aware of, let alone caring about. And exactly the same could be said of the first time I visited, say, London, with them and their “ways”.
The following is not simply a list of things I’m not interested in. There are plenty of "life encounters" I don’t hanker urgently to experience, but I understand that one day, in a different time and place, perhaps I might.
Neither is this a list of things I hate, necessarily, and neither is it exhaustive. I don’t, for example, say I could live without racism on this list, but please don’t take that to mean I love a bit of racism or, indeed, find it moreish.
These examples are not things I wish didn’t exist – I may even feel enriched for having dealt with them in the past – they are simply things I wouldn’t miss if I didn’t stumble upon them again - a mix of either that which elicits naught but the blank face and that which elicits the weary sigh. Yes, some of this may be a mark of age.
We get so involved with our little worlds, our specific set of circs, that sometimes we forget it is possible to live a perfectly happy and fulfilled life without so many of the obsessions and so much of the baggage we insist on clinging on to as supposedly so important and essential - both physically, but more importantly, mentally. The human race is nothing if not adaptable, and one man’s gold dust is another man’s sand. It may seem sad or scandalous to you, dear reader, but seriously, I’m done with this stuff. Go on, think about it – what 30 things could you choose?
1) TV soaps
2) Synthetic handclaps used as a snare drum in modern RnB songs
3) Flag-waving patriotism
4) Inspirational quotes from Marilyn Monroe
5) Unsolicited offers to tell me “what I need to do” to sort my life out
6) Queuing to get into nightclubs
7) Going into nightclubs
9) Knowledge of flower arranging
10) De-icing my car
11) Being cold in general (that’s a bold one, but I’ve thought about it some and I stand by it)
12) Street dance
13) The royal family (that’s a bold one, but I’ve thought about it some and I stand by it)
14) Autotune used for the vocal melody in modern RnB songs
15) People telling me "everything happens for a reason" (see 4)
16) "This one weird tip to getting ripped"
17) Jeremy Kyle
18) Knowledge of bread baking
19) Details of the personal life of Lauren Goodger
20) People thinking it’s a great and admirable thing to be running around trying to impress people like Alan Sugar while being generally vile, shallow, mercenary and critically lacking in self awareness
21) The phenomenon of "beard flowers"
22) The songs of the war years
23) Motivational speaking
24) Torture scenes in films (enough, already, *yawn*)
25) Films about vampires
26) Films about men who are the best at fighting and stuff
27) Austerity measures
28) Modern RnB songs
29) Football (now that’s a f***ing bold one)
30) Your shit.