Resolving for change

Mo Fanning

wineJanuary is the time when the Fanning family makes their resolutions. Buoyed by cheap champagne and too much cheese, they agree that in the coming year things will be different. Much as I tell myself I don’t buy into hype, I’m always the first getting misty eyed and holding on to hope for the future as the clocks strike twelve and all around me people burst into song or jam their tongues down the throats of strangers.

This year, I started off January by lolling around on the sofa watching what TV programmes I’d missed during the enforced merriment of the previous evening. One show featured some talking head going on about living his life by the notions of karma.

He would, he claimed, make sure that every Friday he bestowed a random act of kindness for a complete stranger. What a jolly good wheeze thought I. Maybe if I help someone get their pram up the stairs into the post office or buy a copy of the Dutch equivalent of the Big Issue (just as dull, only with print that comes off on your fingers), maybe the karma will round on me and ensure that my next novel is not only published, but soars to the top of the best-seller list and becomes required reading for GCSE students across the land.

Imagine my shame when I reached home on the first Friday of the year and realised, as I settled to a soothing cup of tea, that I’d forgotten to bestow my generosity on a single soul. I’d been too busy dealing with a growling inner seething about everything and everyone around me. I can be a cantankerous soul inside this glacially efficient exterior.

I could blame it all on the raging backache caused by a trapped nerve that has blighted me since Boxing Day, but in truth I know it’s just my nature and try as I might, I am too old to change.

So my alternative New Year list is to rail against all those things that annoy the very life out of me.

  • People who stop suddenly in the street to meddle with their mobile phones
  • Actually people who meddle with mobile phones at any time
  • Actually mobile phones in general. I just don’t see the point.
  • David and Carrie Grant
  • Being asked directions by people who nod as I describe in detail how to get to places the quickest way possible, then ignore me the second my back is turned and ask someone else (I’ve seen you all, I never forget faces).
  • Cyclists who ignore red lights/ride on pavements/ring those stupid fucking bells every few seconds.
  • Students in general, but chinless rich boys with no individual style in particular.
  • Spoonerisms used in writing to get a cheap laugh
  • Those lists of the best authors of all time that come out now and then – not because they never feature me (nor will they ever), but because of the elitist way they’re compiled.
  • Kate Nash
  • People who reply to me in English when I speak to them in Dutch.
  • Dog walkers who are too frigging dopey to use a lead and then look at me as if it’s my fault when their dog almost gets run over charging across a busy road to greet mine.

I could go on, but so far I think I’ve counted for half of the western world, so it might be time to stop.

I wish everyone the very happiest year possible, with the exception of the mobile phone loving chinless student dog-owning cyclists who I trust will continue to live far better lives than me and remain in total ignorance about just how much they’re getting on my wick.

I know … it probably is just me.

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