diamond geezer

 Sunday, November 21, 2004

I'm not normal

At least I think I'm not. That's because I don't always do the things that most normal people do. Partly for your interest, and partly as a personal confession, I've listed details of ten of these things below. But it is just possible, I guess, that some of these ten things aren't quite as abnormal as I think they are. I'd like to check, so I wondered if you could tell me whether you do or don't do each of the following. I'd be much obliged if you'd leave a quick comment in the appropriate boxes (or at least some of them).

I don't coffee: I never understood the allure of coffee. Not when there's tea available instead. I'm perfectly capable of waking up in the morning without the need for a caffeine kickstart and, unlike many of you, I don't make a daily pilgrimage to some extortionately-priced coffee shop in search of my next bean-based buzz. I may adore the smell of freshly ground coffee but you'll never catch me actually drinking the stuff. I realise that this is not normal.
I don't DVD: I know that most people have shelves of digital Hollywood on DVD (and even more shelves of videos that they never watch any more because they're only videos), but I don't. I don't want to fork out £17 to rewatch a film I saw only six months ago at the cinema, because I already remember the plot thanks. And I have no need to own the deluxe boxed set of some ancient TV series that now costs more than the annual 1974 licence fee, because trying to plough through the entire collection will eat up hours of my time and then I'll stick it back on the shelf and never watch it again. Total waste of both time and money, I reckon. I realise that this is not normal.

I don't animal: I'm quite happy living without four-legged companionship. I don't need my living space invaded by some smelly animal that leaves hairs everywhere, wrecks the furniture and needs to be shipped off to a petsitter every time I want to be out of the house for more than 12 hours at a time. I don't require the presence of some supposedly cute cat which I'd then only ever see when it returned home to use the litter tray and then be filled up again with Whiskas. And I have such negative opinions of dogs that I'd really best keep them to myself. I realise that this is not normal.

I don't car: Some people live and breathe cars. They can tell an Aston Martin from a Laguna, they spend every weekend polishing, waxing and tinkering under the bonnet, and they drive everywhere. Not me. I've only owned a car for 2½ years (when it was absolutely essential for my job) and I was thrilled to be able to get shot of the thing when I moved to London. The roads of Suffolk are much safer as a result, and my life expectancy has probably doubled. I haven't missed owning a car once since. I realise that this is not normal.
I don't DIY: When I look round my flat I see functional magnolia walls. If I were normal I'd see redesign opportunities. Perhaps repainting, or wallpaper, or new light fittings, or a dado rail, or some new shelves. I could rip my carpet up and install wooden flooring, I could knock through from the lounge to the bedroom, I could give the windows a lick of paint or I could replace all my furniture with something co-ordinated and modern. But, quite frankly, I can't be arsed. Why should I waste every weekend in the queue at IKEA or replastering walls when I'm perfectly happy to stick with featureless magnolia? I realise that this is not normal.
I don't garden: You won't be surprised that I also see gardening as a waste of time. Spending every daylight hour out amongst the creepy crawlies, fighting a losing battle against nature just so that I can see some pretty flowers from my window or grow a couple of gnarled carrots, it's not me. I can find much nicer grass in the local park and much better vegetables in my local supermarket. I get a sense of achievement from not having a garden, and I've always tried to live somewhere that doesn't have one. I realise that this is not normal.
I don't holiday: Some people seem to spend their entire life planning their next getaway. They see holidays as a necessary escape from normal life, their only chance to relax and have a good time. I'm relaxed enough already thankyou, without the need to squeeze all my worldly goods into a suitcase, struggle through airport security, check into some unhomely hotel and sit bored out of my skull on some sunkissed beach all day. As for fun, I can get quite enough of that inside the M25 without risking malaria, diarrhoea and sunburn. Sure it's good to go away occasionally, and I do, but given the choice I'd much rather stay at home. I realise that this is not normal.
I don't phone: I know that telephones are the perfect way to keep in touch with friends and family, but I rarely choose to use them. In fact BT thought my last phone bill (£1.99) was so small that they invited me to join their Light User scheme. It's rare for me to pluck up the courage to ring anybody for an impromptu conversation because I'm always fearful of interrupting them in the middle of something important. This perceived indifference probably explains why few people ever choose to ring me up either. I realise that this is not normal.
I don't consume: If the world was populated by people like me, the commercial sector would have gone bust long ago through lack of use. I can walk down Oxford Street without buying anything, I can flick through a gadget catalogue without needing to purchase anything contained therein, and I can sit at home perfectly content with my existing worldly goods without feeling the urge to replace them all at six monthly intervals. It's a great way of saving money, but I'm never quite sure exactly what I'm saving that money for. I realise that this is not normal.
I don't worry: There are many things in life that can or could go wrong, and it's possible to spend the whole of one's life fixated on potential problems, disasters, heartbreak, chaos and unhappiness. I prefer to take a more positive view. Sure some things might go wrong but, until they do, I don't worry about them. Most predicted problems never materialise anyway, so what's the point in getting unnecessarily stressed and depressed about a mere probability? Life's much better when you're an optimist, and only a pessimist will tell you otherwise. I realise that this is not normal, but I don't care.
I'm up in Norfolk visiting my Mum in hospital this weekend (she's doing just fine, thanks), so you've got until Monday evening to register your opinions. Then I'll come back and check up on just how abnormal I am. Or not.

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