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Julz’s World: The small things in life

Julz’s World: The small things in life

By Julie Symons

Starry nights and sexy European accents are the coolest things don’t you think?

At least, they certainly stop me in my tracks. Someone once told me that small things amuse small minds. If that’s the case, then I must have the brain size of a peanut, because I’m forever noticing things that others overlook. Like flowers growing in the cracks of rocks and the sweet, chivalrous, respectful way elderly Kiwi men lift their hats when they pass women on the street. All these things put a grin on my face and lift my heart.

It has dawned on me that Julz’s World sounds pretty negative at times. That’s the problem with life – often the sad and pathetic are much more interesting than the happy. But it’s also part of my psyche. If small and unexpected positive things amuse me more than the average person, then it stands to reason that it doesn’t take much to really get under my skin and bug me, either.

With this in mind, I thought I’d compile a list of things that catch me unaware and make me happy. And a list of some of the most truly irritating, annoying things that rub me the wrong way. Maybe just reading the list will put a grin on your face and remind you of those little things you’d forgotten. I’d like to think so, anyway.

I love the sound of planes taking off (it sends a shiver down my spine), of Swiss cowbells, and waves crashing or lapping gently on the coast. The sounds of rain pattering on the roof, crickets and frogs, and the crunch of leaves underfoot in autumn. Hearing songs I haven’t heard for years and years, and people who make honking pig noises when they laugh (it’s infectious). Church bells in tiny European mountaintop villages remind me of the Sound of Music and almost make me break out in song (I don’t though, because that would be everyone else’s pet hate!).

I can’t get enough of the heady scent of grass after rain, the smell of baking (and better yet, eating it!), and the memories invoked by the smell of sun block the first time I smother my face for a season.

I love pretty doorknockers in Old Towns, creative letterboxes, fields of sunflowers, rainbows, red skies and the reflections of city lights on water.

There’s nothing better than receiving a letter by snail mail or an unexpected phone call from someone wanting to say “hi”, eating copious amounts of chocolate, watching hedgehogs, reading in bed, or holding a cold can against my head on a really hot day. Bliss.

I love picking wild blackberries, doodling when I’m bored, watching fireworks and making daisy chains. It’s great when the sun gives the world a rosy hue in the late afternoon, and how friendly cats or cows or goats sometimes put their trust in me and want their heads scratched. (It reminds me of a cockatoo that inhabited the local pet shop when I was little. He constantly called out “scratch, scratch” whenever a customer walked past and eventually lost all his feathers.)

Most of all I like those little smiley faces at the end of sentences and I have a penchant for lots of exclamation marks!!!!!

My pet hates include people sneezing or coughing immediately behind me on the bus, rotten food on supermarket shelves, people who don’t keep promises, and checkout girls who glare at customers. I positively hate an alcoholic former British Marine and prison inmate called Syd (it’s a long story), cigarette stubs and dog pooh on foot paths, and dripping taps when I’m trying to sleep (which is ironic really, considering I love the sound of rain).

I can’t comprehend people who refuse to believe in ghosts and aliens despite the wealth of evidence proving their existence, and I’m really frustrated by stupid parents who are outspoken against smacking kids and then inflict their consequent brats upon the community at large.

I’m fed up with guys who spread their legs out on narrow bus seats so I have to squeeze mine tightly together so as not to fall off my seat, and people walking dead centre down the middle of corridors so no one can pass on either side. I’m irritated by British people who say “me” when they should say “my” and then have the audacity to say they speak English better than Kiwis. It’s right up there with little kids that swear, friends running late, and people with no taste who listen to techno as background music when it should be confined to night-clubs (or better yet, banned altogether).

Nor do I like peer pressure, coffee addictions, gum chewers, impatient drivers who hoot, moustaches and beards, brand new can openers that don’t work, people who snore in hostel dorms, and phone boxes without phone books. I reserve a special dislike for school teachers who force painfully shy students to repeat speeches at the front of the class after speeding through them too fast the first time, and for immature prats of men who wolf whistle or make sexist-pig degrading and belittling comments at passing women.

I’m a regular victim to sod’s law, always choosing the shortest queue that inevitably takes the longest, and I often end up walking home in a heavy rain storm on the one day I don’t carry an umbrella. Maybe the most frustrating thing of all is the knowledge that controlling any of the above is simply out of my hands.

These are just some of my little neurotic peculiarities. I heard another good phrase once: “Everyone is slightly odd except for you and me. And I’m not quite sure about you.” Quite apt really.


ã Copyright Julie Symons 2003

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