The commonly held view seems to be that modern life is far too stressful. “Life was much easier back in the day”, as your mother and granny always used to say. In actual fact, it probably isn’t much harder these days at all. It’s probably a hell of a lot easier, if truth be told, but we just tend to moan about it much more now. The ready-made sounding boards of Twitter and Facebook provide a perfect vehicle for the serial yammerers to constantly spread their news of doom and gloom.
Of course, a lot of people use their Facebook and Twitter whinges as either thinly-veiled political statements or pathetic cries for attention. You never hear people with genuine, serious issues bleating about the magnitude of their problems. They are too busy trying to deal with their actual situation rather than worry about broadcasting it to the world. For example, you don’t hear too much from those poor unfortunates stuck in the middle of the Oklahoma tornados this week, do you? Of course, that may well be due to the fact that their laptops are now four hundred yards down the street and buried under a pile of rubble and bodies, but still…
I am not saying for one minute that I am immune to this kind of ranting whinging myself. Far from it, in fact. As it happens, I think I have had my fair share of “first world problems” to deal with this week. However, as with most people, I suspect, the “tragedies” I have suffered over recent days are, in reality, nothing of the sort. At worst, they are minor conveniences that have impinged on my precious time and best-laid plans. Listen to me, what do I sound like moaning about not having enough time? It’s about time I got out of my own arse for once and chilled out…
Sky Plus – Sky TV bombard me with literature, emails and text messages telling me how much they have been listening to me in order to service my televisual needs. Well, they need to wash out their collective ears, I’m afraid. We still can only record two programmes at one time, which is nowhere near enough. As I will never watch these programmes ‘live’ – because I obviously want to watch them later when I can skip through the adverts – why can’t they broadcast them at 3am when I am sleeping? Because if this clash occurs when I am awake, I might inadvertently overhear Harvey Spector say something crucial in Suits and therefore have to quickly a) turn the sound down and b) flick to, and playback, the first previously recorded item on our Planner to avoid the plot being given away. The only saving grace here is that the first item on our Planner is the 2013 Wigan v Man City FA Cup Final – something I am quite happy to watch, over and over again. Approximate time lost: 2 seconds. Blood pressure impact: Low
Water tap – At work, we have one of those posh tap/geyser things that spits out either boiling or cold water at the flick of a switch. It’s a godsend when, as is the case in our Team, your brew round can consist of up to a dozen people. As we are on the top floor of the building, sometimes the plumbing in the kitchen struggles to cope, meaning that the tappy thing gets tired and decides to down tools and take a well-earned rest. This has happened to me twice this week and meant that I had to resort to filling and boiling an old-fangled kettle, with all the inconvenience and hassle that entails. Approximate time lost: 3 minutes. Blood pressure impact: Little
Car Parking – I am very fortunate that free on-site parking is provided with my job. Furthermore, because I am one of the earlier arrivals at the office each day, I am always able to park on the main, tarmac car-park in a space that is extremely close to the office door. However, if I have to go out for anything during the day, the chances of that space being available when I return are slim to nil. This often forces me to slum it and try to find a spec in the overspill car park. This car park is across the road, probably a full thirty yards from the office door. It is a gravel car park, and as such is extremely puncture-friendly. And when it rains, I run the risk of getting wet on the thirty yard trek back to the shelter of the office. Approximate time lost: Up to 4 minutes. Blood pressure impact: Rising, weather-depending.
Broadband/Wifi – We pay a fortune for our broadband wireless access at home. When it works, it’s fine, but it isn’t very reliable. To be frank, it is up and down like a bride’s nightdress most of the time. Downstairs, the service is generally OK, but if I want to use it in the office upstairs, the wireless signal – much like myself – barely has sufficient strength to mount the stairs. In especially dire circumstances, it becomes necessary to dust off the old network cable and trail it from the router all they way up the stairs and physically connect the laptop. And all this, just to print off another letter to send to HMRC to tell them that I won’t be paying the £3658.19 they say I have underpaid on income tax for the last financial year. Approximate time lost: 2 minutes. Blood pressure impact: High
Office chair – We currently have a large number of temporary staff in our office which means that, when permanent staff members are off-site, some interloper gets to use your desk for a day. From time to time, one of these interlopers may take their life in their hand by altering the height of my chair and then failing to return it to its original setting when they have done with it. Particularly brave interlopers may also have the temerity to use my personal Angry Birds mug and leave it on my desk, unwashed, for me to find and deal with on my return. Approximate time lost: Chair 10 seconds, Dirty cup 2 minutes. Blood pressure impact: Nuclear
See you in the £2 massage chair – Griff