My worst habit is my inability to tolerate all of your bad habits. Either you move or I will.
I hate chewing gum. I hate watching people eat it. I hate the sound of someone chewing it, and the bubble blowers, don’t even get me started on them. It’s a filthy habit and If I could be London Mayor for a day, I’d have it banned.
Only last week on my commute into London’s centre, I endured watching and listening to the man sitting opposite chewing gum loudly with his mouth open between regular intervals of bubble popping. I eventually had to lean across and ask him to stop. I might as well have told him he looked like Donald Trump for the reaction I got. I won’t repeat it here.
So that didn’t actually happen as I would never lower myself to such crude Trump-esque levels of diplomacy. The gum chewers and even that uncouth commuter are entitled to chew gum how they like. I simply moved seats and mulled over my increasing intolerance of bad habits like these. Am I becoming a grumpy old dude or should I move back to Japan where it’s considered social suicide to eat on public transport, never mind chewing gum.
A year ago my housemate and I watched a man pee on the Underground train we were travelling on. The train was empty bar himself and the two of us and despite our very vocal protestations he waved our words away with an “F off” and kept peeing. In my 20 years of living in London I’d never seen anything like this. We both agreed on our level of shock.
My list of pet peeves goes on and on and on. People talking on the phone while at the supermarket till or buying a coffee; cinema goers munching audibly or talking during a film; people who cut queues and stand on the left hand side of the escalator (usually tourists); those who never offer to buy a round of drinks; kids who scream even where their parents tell them to be quiet. The last one tells me I’m past the age of qualifying as a responsible, tolerant parent.
My mother tells me I have too much time to think and I think she has a point. When you’ve been single for as long as I have, you build up these intolerances and no-one calls them out. No partner to say you’re over-reacting or tell you to chill the f@@k out and ignore them.
Yet sometimes it is ok to have a voice and say what’s on your mind. We told that guy to stop peeing in public; I’ve told a guy to put his mobile phone away on a date, or leave; I’ve left a very bad date (while he was at the toilet no less); I’ve told a group of school kids to keep it down, only for them to turn the volume up. I deserved that one.
I tell myself I have no bad habits but I have enough self-awareness to know that I must do. I just can’t think of any at the moment. Maybe that’s my worst habit of all. Note the lack of a question mark.