Three Mildly Annoying Things About the Modern Age
I’m taking advantage of the end of the silly season to get some truly trivial gripes off my chest, so: grumpy old woman alert!
1. Tinted windows
Being resolutely moderate and middle-of-the-road, we hired a small, sensible family car to go on our little jaunt round the Highlands earlier this year. When we went to collect it at Inverness, we were given a gleaming black tank, with windows of obsidian impenetrability. Once we were inside it it, no one was to know that we were inoffensive types from South London trying to enjoy the landscape and chill out with friends and relatives, because we looked like criminals from South London trying to open up new drug markets. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the scenery that rolled by was bathed in eternal twilight, when in fact it was glorious weather outside.
Tinted windows are a blight, and they are becoming increasingly hard to avoid, in buildings as well as cars. The view from so many public and commercial buildings is now one of unrelenting greyness and gloom that must be damaging to national morale. I appreciate that they cut down glare and reduce the need for air conditioning, but why have such big windows in the first place? (I can never understand why people on property programmes always want a gaff in the middle of nowhere with floor-to-ceiling windows. Surely that is an open invitation to being stalked by every crazed axe murderer within a ten-mile radius?)
The problem with wetrooms is spelt out in their name. They’re wet. They’re not dry. I get that if you have mobility problems the climb-in bath and shower combo is not a good option, and of course hospitals and care homes need bathrooms that can be quickly and easily sluiced out, but wetrooms seem to have become an object of desire even for people who don’t need them. For me, they bring back all the trials of the campsite or the gym – you know, when you struggle to find anywhere dry to put your clothes in the shower and risk crashing to the ground as you teeter on one leg, trying to insert a wet foot into your pants without it touching the sides. I shall resist wetrooms to the last.
3. Ice in drinks
Why is it so difficult to get an ordinary milkshake or iced coffee these days? You probably have to go to the one remaining National Milk Bar somewhere in Wales to do so – or Fortnum’s. Everywhere else is dominated by the type of iced drink on offer from the coffee chains: Frappucinos, Frostinos and Frigobevvies (OK, I made that last one up) – concoctions that would be every bit as indulgent as advertised if they didn’t contain blitzed ice. As it is, they start off feeling gritty and end up tasting watery. Iced coffee no longer seems to be coffee that has been chilled, with milk and sugar added, just hot coffee mashed up with ice. What you end up with is a tepid and very weak coffee. Yuk!
And is there any question more redundant than, ‘Would you like ice with that?’ when you have just ordered a Bailey’s or a tomato juice? Why would you want the gorgeous creaminess/sludginess of either of those diluted in any way?
Rant over – normal service will be resumed in two weeks.