Monday, January 30, 2006

People Are People...

…proclaimed Depeche Mode back in 1984 in that chirpy, stating-the-feckin-obvious type way of theirs. Although to be fair, they went on to explain that if people are indeed people, then why should it be that you and I should get along so awfuleee.

And that’s kind of what I was trying to get to the heart of this week in the thing I sent to the newspaper yesterday. But man, was it hard work. A real grind, not helped by the fact I locked myself out of the house half way through the afternoon.

And today I have the pleasure of reliving the whole sequence of events once more. Back at the end of the week.

As one of the country’s foremost authorities in the field of amateur psychology, I thought it was about time this column turned its clinical, scientific eye onto the subject of human behaviour. To put it another way, it’s time to place the people under the journalistic microscope. Or, if you’ll excuse the Freudian overtones, humanity needs to finally stretch out and lay itself bare on my metaphorical leather couch.

Now before you start peeling off clothes and getting in touch with your masculine/feminine* (*delete as appropriate) side, you’re probably wondering what qualifications I possess to perform this examination. While it’s true that my walls aren’t exactly crammed with diplomas and academic testimonials (not counting my certificate for perfect attendance at Sunday school, season 1974/75), I do have an advanced doctorate in people-watching, honed to perfection during my two-year career break travelling round the world. My ten thousand word thesis on the subject explains it all in a bit more detail but essentially it boils down to this – people are weird.

Admittedly, my knowledge and skills in this area have grown a bit rusty since I returned to work but they were brought back into sharp focus again last week during a short, three-day business trip to the north west of England.

Things didn’t start well when I discovered my flight to Manchester was scheduled to leave at seven o’clock in the morning. I don’t know about you but being woken at 5.00am is only ever acceptable if instigated with a gentle nudge by the person lying next to you. Even then, the specific reasons for waking better not necessitate having to actually leave the bed. So by the time I shuffled into the business lounge at Edinburgh airport, scruffy and unshaven, I was not in the chirpiest of moods.

Slumped in the first available comfy chair, I couldn’t summon the energy to get up and fill my pockets with all the free stuff on offer. Even the coffee machine was out of reach a good ten yards away so I just sat and gazed around through half-shut eyelids.

It was then that I noticed the lounge was full of immaculately dressed people, all busy typing into laptops, talking into the strange robotic devices stapled to their heads and juggling all manner of electrical gadgets in their hands.

“Who ARE these weird people?” I wondered. “They look relaxed and awake and if my amateur psychologist’s eyes don’t deceive me, they appear to be in the midst of calmly plotting the overthrow of a small third world country.”

Sitting next to one of them on the plane, I soon found the opportunity to discover just how weird these people actually are. My neighbour had asked for a cup of tea from one of the cabin crew but to my horror, he didn’t seem to mind whether the milk went into the cup first or last.

I chuckled uncomfortably at his idiosyncratic behaviour and added, “Next you’ll be telling me that you don’t have your soup tins in alphabetical order or that your toilet roll hangs down the back instead of over the front.” He threw me a quizzical look and announced, “Em, to be honest, I’ve never really thought about it.”

I struggled to disguise the involuntary shaking this reply had induced and only just managed to ask my final, decisive question. “So who are you rooting for on Celebrity Big Brother then?” “Haven’t been watching it,” he replied with a shrug. “I’m usually too busy plotting the overthrow of small third world countries.”

Okay, so he didn’t utter that last sentence but I could tell he was definitely thinking it. Like I said, people are weird.


At 1/2/06 1:55 pm, Blogger DC said...


Sorry to hear about the hard work - bummer!

The solution to your business lounge anxiety, seems , to me , to be obvious - I thought alcohol was available at all times. Surely a wee M&P would've done for breakfast & healthy too.

At 1/2/06 8:47 pm, Anonymous wendi said...

a gentle nudge, eh?


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