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Matthew Chapman
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Introduction to the Guide.
I donít know how well any of you cope with the stress of day to day life. But I can tell with a certain security that I donít. I donít cope at all. The stresses that last a long time, like coursework deadlines, being at war, problems in the family etc, are fine. I cope, generally, with all those.

We're talking about staying calm and sane in public places where one would think it easy to do so. Places like supermarkets, busses, travelling on roads, shopping centers, the list would actually be endless.

Basically, what it all boils down to is the stupidity and absolute blind annoyance of the general public. Its their whole attitude of selfishness whilst outside. They're in their own world and donít care about anyone outside it.

My first rant will be a simple one. A standard one on one show down, in the street. Two people, you being one of them, decide to walk down the exact same section of path, in exactly the opposite direction. Both parties involved are usually carelessly staring down at the pavement as if looking for some form of urban entertainment. Both persons will casually glance up at each other, and this is where the show down begins.

First, there is a sense of shock, that this other person, human being, member of the public, not only dare be out in the streets at the same time as you, but seems to desire to share the same square of pavement as you.

When this initial disbelief has subsided, eye contact forms. For an instant, you engage in a mental war with each other, daring the offender to continue walking in the same direction, until you find yourself face to face, both considering whether to dodge left or right.

Inadvertantly you both side step to the same location, and the process begins again with the blatant menacing looks of frustration and annoyance. Eventually, you both step in, simultaneously, the opposite direction. At a third attempt of passing, you manage to break the formal synchronisation and eventually pass each other, at a loss of about a minute.

I wont go into the numerous beneficial things you could have done in those sixty seconds, but I will comment on the fantastic culture of the British. We will, after going through the above ordeal and getting totally frustrated with the other person involved, apologise. And the great thing is, weíll, on some level, mean it.