Saturday, 10 November 2012

Don't tell me what to do

When I am old I shall not wear purple, like the poem, but be a woman in her 70's still wearing jeans, slogan tee-shirts and maybe a jaunty hat. I will, however, be less and less inclined to conform, to act like everyone else and I will NOT be told what to do.

The older I get (and goddamn it - I am cracking on now) the easier I seem to be wound up. The more cross I get at injustice, at process and protocol, at politics, at religion, at hierarchy and authority. Don't tell me what to do, unless it is for a very good reason and that there is plenty of evidence to back up why I need to do what you want me to do.

I am not inherently a rebel - more like a goody-two shoes and a swot in my younger years, so this bucking the trend, shouting against the system and daring to stand out doesn't come easy to me. But the older I become, the more irate and furious I feel, that it's actually hard to keep my mouth shut. I am that outspoken old lady who everyone rolls their eyes at and thinks "what's she banging on about now....?"

I get cross at my kids being told what to do. I leave them in the school playground full of barking orders. Be quiet. Stand in line. Do your exercises. Sit on the carpet. Cross your legs. Wear a uniform. Walk, don't run. Put your hand up. Be quiet. Do your maths. Be quiet. You'll go on the red. I SAID BE QUIET.

And when we had a homework meeting last week in school - so that we would be better equipped to help our children with phonemes, graphemes and split diagraphs (I know - look it up, what a nightmare), we all just nodded and did as we were told. Do this, do that and your child will read and spell miraculously. Really? WHY?

And no one could answer that. So I'm not going to do it.


  1. Good for you!

    I amuse myself daily with my grumpy, cynical, opinionated rants, but sometimes worry that one day the sarcasm and humour will disappear without me noticing and I'll just become the grumpy cynic that people who don't know me better already think I am?

    But as I'm getting older I see pensioners having a grumpy rant and I realise that they're probably also still laughing to themselves, and enjoying the leeway to speak and do what they want that only old age seems to allow ... and that makes me feel a whole lot better about myself!

    Not that I'm suggesting you're a grumpy cynical ranting pensioner ... at least not yet ...

  2. Ah, thanks for making me feel half-way sane. Fully intend to embrace the grumpy cynical ranting pensioner, just practising now like the poem suggests:

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
    And I shall spend my pension
    on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals,
    and say we've no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
    And run my stick along the public railings,
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
    And learn to spit.
    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
    Or only bread and pickle for a week,
    And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
    and things in boxes.
    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
    And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
    And set a good example for the children.
    We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
    But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
    So people who know me
    are not too shocked and surprised,
    When suddenly I am old
    and start to wear purple!

    1. I love that poem, never heard it before ... then again I'm not well read, which is why I watch University Challenge shouting "Shakespeare" at the screen knowing that at some point I'll get an answer right.

  3. As soon as I retire - which obviously for our generation will not be until we are about 90 - I intend to drink copiously, eat everything I shouldn't and generally wave my stick at bossiness ;-)

  4. Amen to that. I am only 34 but find myself getting more and more irascible, and less and less prone to dumbly following rules. My husband is totally humiliated by me. My children are obviously destined to find me beyond embarrassing. But does that stop me? Of course not!

  5. I think it's great to question everything and if my children and partner are embarrassed by that - so be it!

    Thanks for the comment Rachel!

  6. I came across a bloke in Deptford High St the othe day, at about 1130 am, pissing against a shop window. 'That is disgusting! Have sone decorum!' I said, among other things. 'Ahll knock you aht! Knock you ahht!' threatened piss fingers.
    I stalked away, incensed but pleased for having remonstrated.
    I admit I had to restrain my fist, I so nearly shook it.

  7. Is that Robin, Robin from Deptford? How the devil are you my friend???!

    Yes I'm a proper grumpy sort these days - would be good to hook up!