Shut the fuck up!
You can imagine my surprise when I first saw mention of Swine Flu (or “Swit Swoo”, as Saatchi and Saatchi have already branded it, aimed at the 14-18 year old teenybopper market) in the papers. Being somewhat a collector of old timey turns of phrase and such, I half expected the only people to be able to say the word to be tweed-wearing, shotgun toting gentry-chaps.
Not the case.
I’ve overheard at least a hundred different conversations with the words ‘swine flu’, all of which were based on a ridiculous number of assumptions and half-medical know-nothingness.
I know what you’re thinking; “Why have you spent your time listening to other people’s conversations and not investing in a totally-necessary facemask?”
Well, there are two possible explanations:
One is that I have a search tool in my brain so as to limit and filter what I hear or see during the day (like on gmail, when you search for ‘malehood enhancer” in your spam and get 27,000 results, or when you search for “you’re adequately proportioned” and the computer breaks the “inanimate object’ rule of technology and laughs in your face.) The other possibility is that people in Ireland never tend to believe in keeping their fucking conversations private anymore.
It’s something that really pisses me off, and not in an “It’s mildly annoying” way. Whenever I hear it going on, it really fucks me off.
I thought it was just a student thing, going into a small space like a bus or a luas in a group and having a ridiculously self-indulgent shout fest of a conversation amongst your mates, or walking five abreast down the pavement, so that nobody misses the groundbreaking work the group is doing in the field of conversation. Who the fuck has something so important to say that they need to raise their voice when talking about “Oh my God, Thundercats was amazing, Cheetara was, like, my first crush” or has to wave their hand like a railway platform sweetheart so that ‘the group’ will hear about that . Whilst the above sentence (about Thundercats) is true, and applicable to me, I don’t need to hear that off some smug Fuck in hipster clothing when I’m trying to get home. I also don’t need to laugh insanely as we all remember the theme tune. Yes, we all remember it, there’s no need to…oh, okay…yeah, let’s SING the thing shall we?
I don’t mean to overreact, but what sort of animal needs to constantly drop pop culture references into all his conversations? Why don’t these people think that the polite rules of conversation apply to them?
(That's massively hypocritical of me, because I love pop-culture references. It's just I hate these people, so when they do it, it kills me.)
It’s not even just in small spaces that it bothers me. In Trinity, we’re ridiculously lucky to have a beautiful amount of grass and garden, right in the centre of Dublin. If it’s a nice day, there’s nothing better than to sit with a beer and a coffee, reading the paper or trying to teach yourself Company law from the Nutshells textbook. It can be almost blissful. Until the groups arrive.
Now, before I go off on my ‘groups’ rant, let me be straight. I’m not in favour of some horrible boarding school environment of silence before tea-time or anything, and I believe that everyone should have the right to say (almost) everything, but it really annoys me when a group of preening, self-satisfied (I suppose ‘happy’ is the word I’m looking for) rim-wits sit near me and start to shite on. They all seem to dress the same (fucking hipsters or Avoca posse) and act in a slightly kooky, ‘I’m so individual’ way. All of them.
If it’s the fucking hipsters, and they sit near you, they immediately involve themselves in the gruelling process of rolling dodgy cigarettes with clove or chocolate paper, all the while cunting about how, like, Beaudelaire, is so overrated or how, like, nobody really seems to GET the plays of Brecht. Yeah. Rolling cigarettes, even for a novice like me, doesn’t take that long. It’s not origami, it’s a simple exercise in packing just enough tobacco so that the paper can be rolled, thus creating the cigarette. Also, if you are so desperate for chocolate…buy some chocolate. A smoke that tastes like Nesquik when you lick it is just creepy. The hipsters are all smug actory types, in their very expensive “I just threw this on” (during a controlled period of ‘throwing on’ between 6am and 8 am this morning, in front of a mirror) clothing, lamenting the fact that they’re, like, so cultured. If they had wanted to be actors so badly, they should have gone to drama school. What’s that? Didn’t get in? Oh, well…I suppose you could…maybe…spend the four years of your degree swanning around calling yourself an actor anyway? Does that sound good? Yeah? The hipsters pride themselves on being slightly subversive, with a sideways view on life and generally being quite an outsider. The effect is lost however, by the need to be liked and appreciated by everyone. These Outies have one saving grace…their ignorance. They simply don’t know that everyone feels like this, and they generally keep their screeching mutually-masturbatory conversations to themselves.
The other group is the middle-class “In Crowd” types. With their putrid smelling garlic-based ethnic food and wholegrain focaccia n’ butterbean baguettettes (even smaller and more expensive than baguettes) they sit, cliquing away like a bunch of festering ticker-takers, and making everyone around them feel excluded and bitched out. This is a really common group in Trinity (and I mean that in every sense) because they’re quite insidious. They proclaim themselves the ‘popular’ people in the class and ensconce themselves in a little bubble: equal-parts self-glorifying and self-loathing. It’s quite the phenomenon. The individual members of “Team England” or “the Lawyers” or “The Bess Crew” or “The Medics” or even “The Theology Massive” are all usually quite nice, lovely people to individually chat to or have a coffee with. But en masse, they’re worse than Dresden. (y’know, in that you wish you weren’t there…they don’t carpet-bomb or create firestorms or kill tens of thousands of people or anything)
When these ‘Innies’ are about, you know it. It’s the fellas, they act like chivalric heralds and have to announce to the world, ‘HERE IS A GROUP OF ARSEHOLES’.
These male hangers-on invariably carry an American football or a hacky-sack with them, and feel the need to show how well they can throw/kick it at every sunny opportunity. They’re the same sort of arse-trout who collect every bottle of liquor they’ve ever drunk in a pyramid above their bed/in the kitchen/in the living room and they need everyone to know about their J1 in San Diego last summer. They wish they were American, but they’re not.
The girls are usually just happy to chat (well, screech, and make people feel kinda diabetic-y with their magnificent Sunny Delight skin) about the things that are important to them:
1) How drunk they were/are/is/am (NB- learn grammar)
2) The Great Night Clubs they go to,
3) How mental their friend Dearbhail is,
4) How amazing their boyfriends are.
They start all their sentences with “Eeeh” like a patronising tuning fork, and tell the most inane anecdotes ever. I mean, fuck me, but these people should be shot.
[Sample Girl Conversation]
“Eeoh my God, Dearbhail is sooooo mental, she was like really drunk yesterday and puked into some other girls handbag- on the dancefloor in Coppers- then shat herself in the taxi home whilst shouting ‘go back to Africa’ at the driver. He, like, wasn’t even from Africa!” (NB- Yowsers, help me get this monocle off, you enticing minxtress!)
[Sample Boy Conversation]
“Like, Damo bought this ridiculoso expensive Beamer at the weekend. He’s already got, like, three. He’s mental! I can’t believe he’s only seventeen. Look there’s Dearbhail, she’s so hot, I’m going to pound this beer then you throw long. I’ll run and catch it then tell her the story about winning that beer-pong tourney in SanDiego. I’m sooo going to ride her.”
Maybe I just need to get out of Dublin…
I know I didn’t really get around to explaining about why this connects to Swine Flu. I suppose it doesn’t. I suppose I’m just tired of other people’s conversations having such an effect on me. When the Pork Crisis hit a few months ago I heard this conversation (the names have been changed for anonymity)
Dearbhail: Did you see the whole pork crisis thing?
Clíodna: Yeah, it was, like, in the news and everything!
Dearbhail: I’ve been thinking about McDonalds though, are they going to close?
Clíodna: Why would they?
Dearbhail: If they can’t use pork, how will they make hamburgers?
Anyway, another rant over. I suppose that when I move away I’ll miss all of these things I’m complaining about, but then again, I’ll most definitely not.