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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: A few of my least favourite things

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I thought that as you got older you became nicer. I think that’s old-person propaganda. I’m fast becoming an arsehole. As I get older I realise that if I were Julie Andrews singing a song to motherless children frightened of the storm, I wouldn’t be comforting them by crooning about paper packages tied up with string; I’d be bitching about how I never get paper packages tied up with string any more, I don’t have a doorbell or a sleigh bell, and if someone does knock it’s just the guy from the post office in his hi-vis vest delivering something one of the kids has bought through eBay and I’m going to have to pay for.

I’m off carbs so schnitzel with noodles is a no-go for me. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes are generally oppressed by gender stereotypes and global warming is causing far too many silverwhite winters to prematurely melt into spring and, unlike Tony Abbott, I don’t think it’s some sort of Bureau of Meteorology conspiracy.

I have a much longer list of my least favourite things than most. In a world full of people singing Let it Go, I am really focusing on sweating the small stuff. There’s just not enough attention to detail anymore. I am fast becoming allergic to the world. I don’t appreciate ibis – not the hotel chain; the native bird that’s evolved into some sort of giant flying rat that insists on turning what was already a mediocre al fresco dining experience into a mini-trauma by stealing a cold chip from the corner of my mouth.

And then there’s the attention-seeking people who post shit on Facebook like: ‘Darling, I am the luckiest woman alive because you are so amazing’. And then all your friends ‘like it’ and feel like shit because their partner didn’t post anything about them on Facebook. I mean if you are lying in bed with Mr Fricking Amazing, tell him yourself and leave the rest of us out of it.

I can’t stand people who actually enjoy exercise and talk about it like it’s a conversation subject I am remotely interested in. Are they just telling me because I’m fat and telling me how disciplined they are makes them feel better about themselves? I secretly wish they get attacked by ibis scavenging for Lorna Jane exercise wear.

I don’t like people looking at my groceries and thinking they just learnt something about me. Neither am I fond of people who smoke on the beach and then drop their butt in the sand, and then get in their hippy kombi with a sticker that says ‘Coexist’. Those new lightbulbs that cost $7 each and are supposed to last five years but always seem to blow within two months inflame a deep sense of electrified rage.

I was devastated when I left my $300 hair iron in a hotel room and when I rang an hour after my departure to locate it the reception told me, ‘Housekeeping haven’t reported finding anything’. I hate that the bitch in housekeeping now has smoother hair than I do, especially after the other day when someone said to me, ‘Are you okay, Mandy; are you taking too much on?’ because my hair was frizzy and wild and I had to say, ‘No, this is what I actually look like’. I hate that I spent $300 to conform to a hair trend and I hate knowing that I will eventually spend it again because now I’m worried I look crazy. (I don’t mind being crazy, I just try to make sure my ‘look’ doesn’t match.)

I hate group emails that tell me I am special that need to be forwarded on so that the sender can check that I respond to their emails. This never makes me feel very special. In fact, it makes me feel that I am someone that they don’t care about offending. I hate booking air tickets online for my family and being charged a credit card fee of $7.50 for EVERY transaction. With seven people that’s more than $50 in fees.

I hate those automatic default buttons that make me give $2 to the ‘starkids’ – a photo of cute little poor kids that is supposed to make me feel some sort of compassion bonding with Jetstar and induce more brand allegiance. I would prefer the option to donate my credit card fees to aforementioned ‘star kids’ and make a real difference.

I hate paying for a hotel room and then another $30 to park my car. I was complaining to a friend who said, ‘Oh well, they’re just third-world problems’. Yes, she really was that stupid, but it’s not her fault – she’s blond like me. Then an ibis swooped down and stole HER last piece of delicious deep-fried haloumi and suddenly things didn’t seem… so bad!

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