It’s almost Halloween and, over the years, we have created a wide range of creatures such as vampires, werewolves and ghosts, all designed to scare us and give us nightmares.
However, I personally think everyday life contains more nightmarish scenarios than any horror movie ever could.
As a result, I have decided to honour Halloween by writing about a load of random things that the majority of us encounter on a daily basis that I would consider ‘a nightmare’.
1. Having to engage in any form of small talk
Small talk is hands down my least favourite form of communication and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
One of the worst things that ever happened to me as a human being on this planet occurred when I was taking train journey up to Edinburgh and the woman sat opposite me proceeded to make aggressively cheerful small talk (the majority of which was centred around her five cats) with me for four hours straight.
Nobody really wants to make small talk, or is even remotely interested in it, but we are all forced to engage in it on regular basis.
Ultimately, I guess participating in small talk is the result of being stuck between a rock and a hard place – when choosing between an awkward silence or small talk, people choose the lesser of two evils and opt for talking about the weather and their weekends.
We all have different tolerances for small talk.
My friend once told me that she could tolerate small talk if every five minutes, she could ‘take a break and go scream into a pillow’ to which I replied I could tolerate small talk if every five minutes, I could climb a mountain, stand at the summit and scream into the chasm below or, better yet, rocket myself into space, warp jump myself to the black hole at the centre of the universe and scream into an all-consuming void in which nothing, including small talk, can escape.
But each to their own…
2. Washing your hands in a small sink
In addition to small talk, I also hate small sinks, especially when they are attached to taps with aggressively high water pressure.
There is one of these sinks in one of the bathrooms in my current workplace. I do not know what masochistic engineer designed this sink but it is literally the size of a cereal bowl and the water that sprays out of its tap does so with the equivalent force of Blastoise’s water cannon.
To make things worse, the height of the sink and the curvature of the basin means that when the water is projected violently out of the sink, it is fired directly at your crotch which really is highly inconvenient when you’re trying to get through your working day with your professional dignity somewhat intact.
3. Having to deal with GP Receptionists
It is often said that only constant in life is change.
This is a very profound and thought-provoking statement but one with which I ultimately disagree.
Sure, the world exists in a state of continuous flux but, if there is one constant in the ever-changing ebb and flow of life, it is that GP receptionists are always, without fail, miserable as fuck.
I have never applied for a job as a GP receptionist for fear that it will suck all the joy out of me and leave me a husk of a human but I can only assume that one of the essential skills on the person specification is the ability channel all of your internalised resentment in the world into your customer service skills.
As far as I’m concerned there is no greater nightmare than really needing an appointment and being forced to stand in a borderline empty GP surgery whilst a hostile medical receptionist tells you that there are none available.
4. Group Chats
Hell is traditionally conceived as a fiery underworld where morally corrupt humans are sent to be punished for their sins.
However, my own personal conceptualization of hell is being forced to join 50 WhatsApp group chats and not being able to mute any of them.
There is no torture like being tormented by an endless onslaught of notifications, GIFs, selfies and out of context in-jokes.
Honestly, give me a lake of sulphur any day.
If you’re not sure what mansplaining is, let me mansplain it for you.
Mansplaining is when one human explains a concept to another human in condescending way.
Now, I don’t want to assume that mansplaining is a gender-specific construct that is used solely by men and that women are not immune to falling into patronising explanations.
That being said, I once had my own personality mansplained to me by a guy who was trying to ‘let me down gently’ by telling me in great detail about that I was so kind and clever and funny etc. but also a bit too guarded and therefore he didn’t feel he could be in a relationship with me. When I told him that he’d got the wrong end of the stick and I wasn’t actually into him, he then proceeded to explain to me that I was but I just didn’t know it yet. Honestly. having your own non-existent thought processes laid out before you is truly mansplaining on steroids.
Another time, I was having a panic attack and a man tried to help me through it by telling me to ‘chill the fuck out’, a truly revolutionary insight that I’m pretty sure could singlehandedly dissolve the need for the therapy industry and ease the NHS’s strained mental health budget.
Preach, sir, preach.