Things we can’t say

May 9, 2013 1:35 pm

Why are we as a nation so passive aggressive?

I’m the type of person who thinks a lot, perhaps too much, about everything. I am what could be described as an over thinker. However, there are some thoughts that simply cannot be bought into the public domain and must remain within the caverns of the mind. Let me give you an example. I was on the train the other day watching the world go by, musing on the meaning of life as one does, when suddenly the squeaky voice of cartoon chipmunks harassed my thought pattern. The incessant jabbering was coming from an iPad placed in front of a chubby young boy. His mother sat texting, chewing on her nails, oblivious to the annoyed faces around her. I imagined myself standing up and telling her she was a rubbish mother, can’t she tell that nobody wants to hear squeaky cartoon voices on their commute home? But I didn’t say this, of course I didn’t. I stared out of the window, scolded myself for forgetting my iPod and inwardly tutted. Why are we as a nation so passive aggressive? We tut, we sigh, we insist ‘I’m fine’ when we’re clearly fuming. Keeping tight lipped avoids confrontation, which is terribly unseemly darling.

This ‘I’m fine’ example is, in my own experience, something particularly prevalent in girls including myself. There should be a book which translates female speak into male speak, so that men can understand the complex language of females. For example, ‘I’m fine’=’I’m definitely not fine’. ‘Do what you want’=’don’t you dare’ and ‘Sorry, what?’= ‘I’m giving you one chance to pretend you didn’t say that.’

Another example of wanting to say things but being unable to came when I was recently working at a Junior school for three days with year four children. “Miss, is it true that God controls everything we do?” “Miss, Louisa keeps breathing on meeee”. Of course I wanted to tell him that God doesn’t exist, nobody controls us and when we die that’s it, and by the way Santa doesn’t exist. But he was an 8 year old child, so of course I said “Why not ask your parents Sam?” Why is it that we want to pass the baton, avoid truth telling and pass blame? It’s a very English thing to keep up appearances, not to ‘make a fuss’, isn’t it? But how fantastic would it be just to be able to tell someone what you really thought of them?

Most of my thoughts revolve around this idea; made up conversations and confrontations. I find that in the shower I come up with the meaning of life, realise I was born to be a pop star and think of fantastic one-liners to win the argument I lost earlier. But as soon as I step out of the shower, it’s back to keeping quiet and going along with the crowd. Back to the cryptic tuts and sighs, glares and grimaces. We are a nation of gurners, who would rather sit on our iPhones, iPods and iPads than engage with anybody. Maybe it’s time we started speaking out if something annoys us.. or maybe not. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we are British after all darling.

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