One thing I like about Bill Bryson is that he doesn't mind getting old. He jokes about it. Looks forward to it. Measures his achievements in a mildly anarchic fashion as he goes along and doesn't give a toss about what other people think of him.
He's loved for it, it puts into words the things we'd love to say but daren't. He also makes us laugh as he does it. He has a list of fifteen things that he says everyone should be able to dislike without having to justify or explain them to anyone.
His are in his new book The Road to Little Dribbling.
2. Mothers who don't control their children properly and allow them to run riot.
3. Telephone sales calls from "Darren" in India - quite obviously really named Sahid.
4. When someone hears how old I am, suddenly says "Oh Bless."
5. Men who are too lazy to shave.
6. Women who are too lazy to dress properly. Going out in PJs is not acceptable, not even for a child, unless they are being rushed to hospital.
7. Dirty restaurants, dirty homes, dirty people, dirt. (Yes, I know that's more than one!)
8. Politians - every single one of them.
9. Jeremy Clarkson.
10. Nationwide Building Society.
11. Very skinny super thin girls.
12. Talking to computers on the phone when you NEED to talk to a human.
The Simpsons put this really well, Homer phones the police. They reply:
"Press one for murder." "Press 2 for suicide." "Press 3 for armed robbery." "For any other crimes please press 4."
13. Breast feeding in public. Please no. Have some dignity. I don't want to see a bare boob in a restaurant or a museum. "Oh but it's natural" the mother's cry. So is masturbation, but I don't want to see a random bloke whacking one off in a public place!
14. BIG ONE HERE, changing history to make it politically correct. If we do that how on earth can we learn from the past?
15. Political correctness and Health and Safety to the point of stupidity. For example, children play such violent computer games now that it would make a convicted murderer shudder. But The Sealed Knot re-enactment society of which I am a part, are not allowed to show blood in case it traumatises the little dears.
Thank you my dear friend Jean to re-introducing me to Bill Bryson. Thank you Bill Bryson for allowing me to vent, I read your book Notes from a Small Island when you and I were young. I was born a day after you in the same month and the same year. But Bill, I'm a woman and a vain one at that so I'm going to add another hate to the list.